(LONDON) — On July 20, the U.S. Coast Guard adopted revisions to its ballast water management (BWM) reporting form. The new reporting form replaces all previous versions and the National Ballast Information Clearinghouse (NBIC) will no longer accept older versions of the form.
Under the U.S. National Invasive Species Act of 1996, all ships arriving in United States must complete and submit a ballast water information report to the National Ballast Information Clearinghouse (NBIC). The aim is to quantify the amounts and origins of ballast water discharged and to determine the degree to which such ballast has undergone treatment or open ocean exchange. Vessels exempted from submitting NBIC reports can be found in 33 CFR 151.2015.
NBIC is a joint program of the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) and the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center (SERC). The program collects and analyzes data on the ballast water management practices of merchant ships operating in United States waters and has been receiving ballast water reporting forms from arriving vessels since July 1, 1999. During 2019, in excess of 97,000 reports were submitted to the NBIC.
There are two important changes introduced in the new ballast water management reporting form. These are:
• The yes/no question “Alternative BW management conducted, per instructions from COTP” has been removed.
• All vessels are now required to report the date of their last dry dock, information that is critical to the Coast Guard for determining a vessel’s compliance date with the implementation schedule for approved ballast water management methods as set out in 33 CFR 151.1512 & 151.2035. The implementation schedule is mentioned here.
The new ballast water management reporting form (OMB number 1625-0069, expiration date: July 31, 2023) can be accessed through the NBIC website as a PDF form or through the web application form. Users should be aware that the standard form can report the ballast water history of up to 20 tanks while the extended form can report up to 36 tanks. Any report-related questions can be sent to the NBIC at email@example.com.
Members and clients should ensure that crewmembers on all vessels calling the United States are aware of the changes introduced by the latest revision to the NBIC BWM reporting form and that all reports are submitted using the updated version.