“The potential and real impacts of aquatic nuisance species on our environment, food supply, economy, health and overall biodiversity are universally accepted as costly, significant and growing,” said Capt. Mike Blair, chief of the Coast Guard’s office of operating and environmental standards. “This program is one of several Coast Guard initiatives aimed at reducing the introduction and spread of aquatic nuisance species into U.S. waters, and it facilitates the shipboard testing of experimental systems for removing or deactivating aquatic nuisance species in a ship’s ballast water. The Coast Guard is taking another big step in protecting our waters from aquatic nuisance species by observing these prototypes in operation.”
Current ballast water management regulations require applicable ships to conduct a mid-ocean ballast water exchange unless doing so would be unsafe or the route did not permit the vessel to conduct exchange properly. This ballast water exchange is intended to flush out most coastal water, along with coastal organisms, and replace it with water from the open ocean.
The draft environmental assessments and instructions for submitting comments can be found at the Federal Docket Management System website at http://regulations.gov/. The docket numbers for these applications are: Coral Princess #2007-0040; Moku Pahu #2007-0041 and Atlantic Compass #2007-0042. Comments are due not later than 30 days from today.
Information on the Coast Guard’s ballast water program and the Shipboard Technology Evaluation Program application package is available at: http://www.uscg.mil/hq/g-m/mso/mso4/bwm/step.htm.