Coast Guard issues new ballast water NVIC

The following is an excerpt from U.S. Coast Guard Navigation and Vessel Inspection Circular (NVIC) 01-18:

(WASHINGTON) — This circular replaces Navigation and Vessel Inspection Circular (NVIC) 07-04, titled, “Ballast Water Management for the Control of Aquatic Nuisance Species in the Waters of the United States,” of June 17, 2004, as well as 07-04 Change-1 of Oct. 29, 2004.

The Coast Guard Headquarters Office of Operating and Environmental Standards (CG- OES) and Commercial Vessel Compliance (CG-CVC) developed this circular to provide the latest guidance to maritime industry and Coast Guard personnel based on the 2012 ballast water regulatory amendments as set forth.

In 2016, new compliance dates took effect for regulations that set the implementation schedule for ballast water management discharge standards for both existing and new vessels that use Coast Guard approved ballast water management systems (BWMS). Additionally, the regulations incorporated various compliance options for vessel owners or operators (to include masters, agents, and persons in charge), such as a vessel to use an alternate management system (AMS) until they reach their compliance date for installing a Coast Guard-approved BWMS or employ one of the BWM practices or methods set forth regarding BWM requirements.

The International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships’ Ballast Water and Sediments (BWM Convention) was adopted in February 2004 and entered into force in September 2017. Although the United States has not ratified the BWM Convention, we acknowledge this important milestone for controlling the spread of invasive species by ballast water as one of the greater challenges for reducing the environmental footprint of global shipping.

In March of 2012, the Coast Guard published the final rule titled, “Standard for Living Organisms in Ships’ Ballast Water Discharged in U.S. Waters.” The rule became effective in June 2012, whereby the Coast Guard amended its BWM regulations by establishing a standard for the allowable concentration of living organisms in ships’ ballast water discharged into waters of the United States. Furthermore, the rule amended Coast Guard regulations for engineering equipment by establishing an approval process for BWMS. The Coast Guard’s discharge standards are similar to those of the BWM Convention. However, differences exist between the testing and verification protocols for BWM systems.

The Coast Guard is charged with protecting U.S. waters from invasive species, and highly values maritime industry’s commitment to that end. Vessel masters, owners, operators, and persons-in-charge are integral to training crews to properly maintain and effectively operate BWM equipment and achieve compliance. Enclosure (1) of this circular incorporates a list of topics that discuss pertinent U.S. regulations in references (a) through (c), while providing guidance on BWM reporting, recordkeeping, compliance and enforcement. Enclosures (2) and (3) provide a list of acronyms, useful website links and email addresses that are referenced in this circular.

Click here to view the complete NVIC.

By Professional Mariner Staff