News 05 Apr, 2013

USA - 2013 Vessel General Permit

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced that the final 2013 Vessel General Permit (VGP) has now been signed. The new VGP will replace the existing 2008 VGP when the latter expires on 19 December 2013.

The 2013 VGP will continue to regulate the same 26 discharge categories that are incidental to vessel operations contained in the original 2008 VGP. Fish hold effluent will be added to these 26 categories if the congressional moratorium on this particular discharge ends in December 2013.

There are a number of changes in the 2013 VGP which Members will need to consider:

  • Numeric ballast water discharge limits for most vessels are included which are mostly aligned with the United States Coast Guard (USCG) Ballast Water Discharge Rule.
  • Additional environment compliance requirements for certain vessels; for example, those vessels entering the Great Lakes that are considered high-risk must take additional measures to reduce the likelihood of introducing invasive waterborne species.
  • More stringent effluent limits for oil to sea interfaces and for exhaust gas scrubber wash water.
  • Electronic record keeping is now permitted.
  • A single annual report must now be submitted by each vessel in place of the one-time report and the annual non-compliance report required by the 2008 VGP.
  • Operators of unmanned, unpowered barges and vessels less than 300 GT meeting certain requirements are allowed to submit combined annual reports.
  • There is now a reduced inspection burden for vessels remaining idle for prolonged periods.

The EPA has advised that it intends to finalise the Small Vessel General Permit (sVGP) proposals covering non-recreational vessels and commercial fishing vessels of less than 79 feet in length, later in 2013.

For further information on the full scope of the 2013 VGP requirements please see the EPA website or contact the Loss Prevention department.