US regulations affecting your ships - get the February 2018 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 February report is also provided.

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

In relation to the United States Coast Guard (USCG) updated Oil Record Book (ORB) Part I and Part II (CG-4602A), more and more member companies have notified CSA that they were able to procure them from various COTP ( The US Coast Guard Captain of the Port). There are still USCG districts unaware of the update and others that do not have any in stock. However, more and more are becoming available.

CSA has been advised by some members that there are errors in the updated ORB and would like to collect these and then provide them to the appropriate personnel at USCG. Please notify of any errors or issues found with the updated ORB.

USCG Guidelines for Contingency Planning for Vessels arriving at US ports with inoperable BWM systems

The USCG has published a policy letter - USCG CG-CVC Policy Letter 18-02 which provides information to all stakeholders on the USCG expectations for contingency planning for vessels with installed ballast water management systems (BWMS) when the BWMS is found to be inoperable while enroute to a US port.

This guidance is applicable to vessels which have installed US type approved systems or have installed BWMS accepted by the USCG as an Alternate Management System (AMS).

Vessel not passing its compliance date

A vessel which has not passed its compliance date (including any extended compliance dates as per issuance of a USCG extension) and finds its installed BWMS is inoperable may use any of the other BWM methods found in 33 CFR 151.1510(a) or 33 CFR 151.2025(a).

Vessels which have not passed their compliance dates may also claim the route exemption found in 33 CFR 151.2040(a) and not be required to perform a ballast water exchange (BWE) if its voyage will not extend beyond 200 nm from shore for sufficient time to perform a BWE.

Vessel passing its compliance date

A vessel which has passed its compliance date (including any extended compliance dates as per issuance of a USCG extension) and finds its installed BWMS is inoperable may use any of the other BWM methods found in 33 CFR 151.2025(a). However, these vessels MUST obtain approval from the District Commander or the Captain of the Port if BWE is the proposed alternate compliance method. The route exemption is NOT available to vessels which have passed their compliance date. It should be expected that if the USCG approves this contingency measure, the vessel will be required to conduct the exchange at least 200 nm from shore (unless there are safety or stability issues).

General Notification required for all vessels

The vessel must notify the nearest District Commander or COTP at the time the inoperability is identified. It is also strongly recommended that the same notification be made to the District Commander or COTP of the Port with jurisdiction over the next US port of call given that it is this office that will make the decision on acceptability of proposed contingency measures.

Other key points to note

Members may also wish to note the following key points found in the guidance:

  • A lack of consumables required by the BWMS is NOT an acceptable inoperability justification and will not be grounds for the USCG to approve use of an alternative management method e.g. BWE.
  • Submission of the required report to the National Ballast Water Information Clearinghouse (NBIC) does NOT meet the reporting requirements noted above.
  • Upon notification by the vessel to the USCG of the inoperability of the BWMS, the vessel owner/operator should be prepared to propose an alternate management method in accordance with this guidance, provide a repair timeline for the BWMS. The USCG will consider a number of factors specific to the situation including operating history of the vessel and its BWMS, crew training and the possibility that the BWMS may be repaired during the vessel’s US port call.
  • If the vessel has multiple US port calls, the USCG may allow the vessel to continue its voyage; however, USCG may impose additional requirements e.g. BWE, if ballasting/deballasting operations will be conducted during the remaining US ports of call.
  • A vessel which is past its compliance date MUST repair an inoperable BWMS before returning to the US after sailing foreign.

See USCG CG CVC Policy letter 18-02 for guidance.

The USCG has also just published Navigation and Inspection Circular (NVIC) 01-18, Ballast Water Management for Control of Non-Indigenous Species in Waters of the United States. See BIMCO news dated 7 March 2018 for the details.


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