US regulations affecting your ships - get the January update!


This is the latest in a series of reports supplied by the Chamber of Shipping of America (CSA) with the intention of keeping BIMCO members appraised of legislative developments in the US affecting international shipping. BIMCO highlights only the relevant developments that would impact members. The full CSA January report is also provided.

USCG Updated Oil Record Book Part I and Part II (CG-4602A)

The United States Coast Guard ( USCG) Headquarters has informed CSA that they have updated their Oil Record Book (ORB) Part I and Part II (CG-4602A) which is now available for purchase.

However, CSA has heard varying degrees of success from their members on their ability to procure the new ORB;  ranging from successful procurement to other USCG districts unaware of the update and some in between.

In addition, members have asked if ships are required to use the USCG ORB. In short, vessels are not required to use the USCG ORB, not even U.S. flagged vessels. As long as the ship’s ORB meets the requirements of the International Maritime Organization ( IMO) and the requirements of 33 CFR 151.25, it can be used. A non-U.S. flagged vessel using a USCG ORB would not assist that vessel in a U.S. port any more than another ORB that meets the IMO requirements. The USCG encourages non-US flagged vessels to defer to their flag state for direction on ORB applicability.

Canada-US Independent Advisory Committee (IAC) for Right Whale Recovery

 The formation of the IAC is motivated by the decline of right whales in recent years and the significant role that the threats of fishing gear entanglements and ship strikes are playing in that decline. The IAC comprising of scientists, representatives from industry, and members of the non-governmental organisations (NGO) conservation community, focuses on the North Atlantic Right Whale off the Atlantic Coast of North America and its goal is to find pragmatic solutions to these threats and recommend them to both the US and Canadian governments. CSA has been asked to participate on the IAC as one of the two shipowner representatives; the other being the Shipping Federation of Canada.

Due to urgency of this matter and the fear that the species will be functionally extinct going by the current mortality rates, the IAC will over the next 6 months, work to develop recommendations and present the same to the US and Canadian governments by 1 August 2018.

Note that similar discussions are also underway elsewhere (Australia, Mediterranean as examples) to determine strategies to mitigate both entanglements and ship strike impacts on living marine resources.  CSA will provide regular updates on the activities of the IAC and, of course, a copy of the final report, when published.

Hearing on the State of the US Flag Maritime Industry – US House of Representatives Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Marine Transportation

The above-mentioned hearing focusing on the status of the US flag maritime industry was held on January 17, 2018.    It was noted that the current US oceangoing fleet numbers 82 vessels, the lowest in modern history.  It was also noted that over 40 maritime nations have in place various types of cabotage laws including the most recent Russian legislation which would require use of Russian flag vessels in the Arctic (excluding vessels engaged in transit).

One issue of interest perhaps was some confusion as to how the Jones Act applies to the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) activities.  It was acknowledged that the Jones Act does not currently apply to vessels operating and working on the OCS; however, the Jones Act does apply to cargo movements to/from US ports to OCS facilities, this latter situation being the subject of the current CBP rulings revocation and then reinstatement process encountered last year. It is also apparent that both the USCG and Custom and Border Protection (CBP) rulings relative to availability of US flag tonnage for Jones Act movements and issuance of Jones Act exemptions is in the Congressional spotlight and thus future exemptions are likely to be more difficult to obtain than in the past.  CSA will maintain an active watch on this issue and advise accordingly as future developments occur.

For detailed information on the hearing including a full tape of the hearing and downloadable copies of the summary statement and witness testimonies, please see

U.S. Maritime Advisories on Piracy, Suspicious Approaches and Regional Conflicts

Five U.S. Maritime Advisories have been issued this month on the risk of piracy in the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, Arabian Sea, Indian Ocean, Gulf of Oman and Gulf of Guinea. They provide generic details and reiterate best practices and guidance. Additionally, Advisory 2018-001 refers to the violence caused by the conflict in Yemen which poses a risk to U.S. flagged ships and provides guidance for those ships transiting the region.

All the above-mentioned Advisories/Alerts are posted at

In light of the threats at the Red Sea , BIMCO, ICS and INTERTANKO published an Industry awareness guidance document at the end of January. This guidance alerts ship operators in this region to be aware of threats other than piracy, namely threat from water borne IEDs (improvised explosive devices) , missiles, collateral damage and mines. Ship security plans should include these other threats when sailing in the lower Red Sea and Bab al Mandeb.


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VPS Bunker Alerts

Veritas Petroleum Services (VPS) publish regular Bunker Alerts based entirely on fuel samples and have kindly permitted BIMCO’s Members to access this information.

The Bunker Alerts are not intended to be an evaluation of overall bunker quality in the port or area concerned, but usually highlight a specific parameter within the fuel which has raised a quality issue.

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