News 16 Nov, 2012

USA - Anti-Fouling Convention Compliance

The United States Coast Guard (USCG) has announced that as from the 21 November 2012, United States (US) and foreign flagged vessels anchored or lightering within US territorial waters and in any port, shipyard, offshore terminal or other place in the US, or within US internal waters must comply with the provisions of the IMO International Convention on the Control of Harmful Anti-fouling Systems on Ships (AFS Convention).

The USCG have advised that there will be no targeted Port State Control (PSC) inspection programme ensuring compliance with the applicable provisions of the AFS Convention. However, vessels may be examined during routine PSC inspections to confirm they are meeting Convention requirements.

The scope of a routine PSC inspection in relation to compliance with the AFS Convention will initially be restricted to a review of the International Anti-Fouling System Certificate, Record of Anti-Fouling Systems, Declaration on Anti-Fouling System or Statement of Voluntary Compliance / Statement of Compliance, or other equivalent certification that may be issued by a non-convention flag state or Recognised Organisation, as applicable to the vessel. The documentation will be checked for completeness, that it has been endorsed by the issuing authority and to ensure that attached records are up to date.

If a Port State Control Officer (PSCO) identifies “clear grounds” that the vessels is not in compliance with Convention requirements, the scope of the PSC examination will be expanded.

The USCG has advised that “clear grounds” for an expanded inspection will include missing certification indicating non-compliance with the Convention, irregularities in documentation such as dates on certification not agreeing with dry-docking dates, certification not properly completed or paint patches on the visible portion of the underwater hull.

Should a violation of AFS Convention requirements be found, the consequences will depend on the magnitude of the deficiency and may include the detention of the vessel or exclusion from the port. If a vessel has been detained in the US previously due to non-compliance with the Convention, a civil fine may also be imposed if a subsequent inspection finds that the detainable deficiency has not been corrected.

Further details can be found in the USCG Policy Letter concerning Guidance Implementing the International Convention on the Control of Harmful Anti-Fouling Systems on Ships. Members may also contact the Loss Prevention department for additional guidance.