Coast Guard announces proposed rule on Great Lakes dry cargo residue

The following is the text of a press release issued by the U.S. Coast Guard:
(WASHINGTON) — The Coast Guard made its proposed rule for dry cargo residue discharges on the Great Lakes was publicly available Friday through a notice of proposed rule-making in the Federal Register (73 Federal Register 30014)which also announces the availability of the draft environmental impact statement prepared in support of the proposed rule.

The proposed rule would require Great Lakes bulk, dry-cargo carriers to keep records of loading, unloading, and sweepings of dry cargo residues and would encourage carriers to use control measures to reduce the amount of dry cargo residue entering the waters of the Great Lakes. The rule would continue to allow the discharge of non-toxic and non-hazardous bulk dry cargo residues in certain areas of the Great Lakes. 

Dry cargo residues (from cargo such as limestone, iron ore and coal) are an operational waste and constitute garbage under regulations that implement the Act to Prevent Pollution from ships (Title 33, U.S. Code, Section 1901).  If strictly enforced on the Great Lakes, those regulations would bring an end to the practice of cargo sweeping.  However, since 1993, Great Lakes ships have operated under a Coast Guard “interim enforcement policy” that allow “incidental discharges” of non-toxic and non-hazardous dry cargo residues on the Great Lakes.  That interim enforcement policy specified where dry cargo residue sweeping could and could not occur.  Congressional legislation has extended the interim enforcement policy since 1998.  The current extension, granted by congress in 2004, expires Sept. 30, 2008. 

The proposed rule would encourage U.S. and foreign carriers conducting dry bulk cargo operations on the Great Lakes to make voluntary use of measures to control and reduce the amount of dry cargo residue that falls on a ship’s deck or within a ship’s unloading tunnels and that ultimately may be swept into the Great Lakes.

The draft environmental impact study identified many possible control measures, including some already in use on the Great Lakes, that can be used by shoreside cargo facilities or aboard ship.  

The notice of proposed rule making can be viewed online at  Once in the site, proceed to simple search, and under docket number, enter USCG-2004-19621.  Comments can be submitted online at, by mail to Docket Management Facility (M-30), U.S. Department of Transportation, West Building Ground Floor, Room W1200 New Jersey Ave. SE, Washington, D.C., 20590-0001, by fax at 202-493-2251 or in person at Room W12-140 on the ground floor of the West Building, 1200 New Jersey Ave. SE, Washington, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday except holidays. Public comment must be received via one of these methods above means not later than July 22.

For more information regarding the proposed rule making for dry cargo residue, please contact Lt. Heather St. Pierre at 202-372-1432 or at

By Professional Mariner Staff