USA – Ballast Water Management Regulations

13th April 2017

In Notice to Members No.20 2016/2017 the Club advised Members about the ballast water management (BWM) regulations in the United States and which differ from those which will prevail in other parts of the world when the IMO’s Ballast Water Convention enters into force in September 2017.

US attorneys Blank Rome recently provided a useful update on the US position to the International Group’s Pollution Sub-Committee and a copy of their presentation can be found here.

Members should note in particular that in light of a number of BWM systems having been type approved by the United States Coast Guard (USCG), MSIB 03-17 has recently been issued by the USCG (which can be found here) which sets out a change in policy towards the granting of extensions of the deadline for ships to comply with BWM regulations in the US.

Blanket extensions will no longer be provided and the USCG will instead look for an applicant to set out a strategy and timeline for moving towards compliance. Members should also note the requirement for the application process for an extension to begin 12 – 16 months prior to the ship’s compliance date. Applications received by the USCG less than 12 months prior to that date risk being denied.

The BWM picture in the US continues to evolve and Members are strongly advised to keep abreast of developments. As noted in our News Item of 2 March 2017, BWM regulations are now being strictly enforced and Members may be exposed to fines and other penalties if deficiencies are detected. In that regard, Blank Rome’s presentation makes clear that one aspect of the regulators’ attention will be the proper recording of ballast water treatment and movements and the presentation of accurate documentation to the US authorities, in much the same manner as the focus in recent years on oil record books and the accurate recording of discharges through oily water separators.

Members requiring further information should contact the Loss Prevention department.

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