Chalos: Coast Guard to require more Oil Record Book entries


The U.S. Coast Guard has been in the process of updating its Oil Record Book (ORB) to conform to the latest MARPOL Annex I amendments over the past 2½ years. A draft ORB was published in February 2012. This was part of a multifaceted notice of proposed rulemaking by the Coast Guard “to harmonize U.S. regulations with international conventions regarding oil pollution and safety of life at sea.” The new Oil Record Book entry requirements, i.e., to record the bunkering of oil, any failures of oil filtering equipment, and failures of the oil discharge monitoring and control system, were proposed to conform to the provisions of Annex I Regulation 17 (17.2.5 and 17.5) and Regulation 36 (36.6) adopted in July 2009.

Two of the proposed changes are to Section 151.25(d), which applies to all ships that are required to have an Oil Record Book. In 33 CFR 151.25(d)(5), the Coast Guard has proposed adding a requirement to make an entry for the bunkering of fuel or bulk lubricating oil. In 33 CFR 151.25(d)(6) the proposal is to add a requirement to make an entry for any failure of oil filtering equipment. The third change is to 33 CFR 151.25(e), which applies only to oil tankers of 150 gross tons or more. This proposal would require an entry for any failure of the oil discharge monitoring and control system. The commenting period for these (and other proposed regulation revisions) has been closed since September 2012, though the Coast Guard has not yet announced a Final Rule. 

The matter has been designated “Long Term Action,” meaning that there is no immediate or definite timetable for when the new Coast Guard regulations would go into effect. In the meantime, the Coast Guard has issued a letter to vessel masters and chief engineers regarding the continued use of the 2007 ORB.  To read a copy of this letter click here. The Coast Guard further recommends consulting additional guidance in MEPC.1/Circ.736/Rev.2.

For more information about MARPOL, the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships, and/or Coast Guard regulations and rules enforcing same, and how these laws and regulations may apply to specific facts and circumstances, please do not hesitate to contact us at

George M. Chalos is the founder of Chalos & Co. P.C. – International Law Firm, which specializes in both civil and criminal maritime and admiralty law matters. Visit Follow Chalos & Co. P.C. on Twitter: @ChalosLaw

By Professional Mariner Staff