News 18 Feb, 2009

USA - Compliance with MARPOL Annex VI

Following the recent ratification by the United States of MARPOL Annex VI “Regulations for the Prevention of Air Pollution for Ships”, these requirements became effective in the USA on 8 January 2009.

On 4 February 2009 the US Coast Guard issued CG-543 Policy Letter 09-01 entitled “Guidelines for Ensuring Compliance with Annex VI to the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL) 73/78: Prevention of Air Pollution from Ships”. The Policy Letter states that foreign flag ships operating in US waters and US flag vessels are now subject to demonstrating compliance with MARPOL Annex VI.

Attached to the Policy Letter are two Enclosures. Enclosure 1 contains a number of checklists used by the US Coast Guard when carrying out compliance examinations of US flag vessels. Enclosure 2 is entitled “Foreign Flag Ship Examination Procedures” and lists the checks that may be made by the US Coast Guard during Port State Control inspections in US ports. Regarding the latter, Enclosure 2 states as follows:

Beginning January 8, 2009, the USCG shall perform port State control (PSC) of foreign vessels for compliance with the provisions of MARPOL Annex VI by incorporating checks of Annex VI compliance into targeted PI (Priority I), PII (Priority II) and random PSC examinations, and Certificate of Compliance (COC) examinations. The USCG may initiate a separate MARPOL Annex VI examination for a foreign vessel in port when clear grounds exist that the vessel may not be in compliance with MARPOL Annex VI”.

Members should ensure that their vessels are aware that the USA is now enforcing MARPOL Annex VI and that verification checks may be carried out. Members and their masters should also review the US Coast Guard checklists to satisfy themselves that their vessels are indeed complying with the regulations in practice.