Coast Guard updates guidance for ballast water management

The following is a Ballast Water Management (BWM) program update from the U.S. Coast Guard:

(WASHINGTON) — This bulletin provides an update on aspects of the Coast Guard's Ballast Water Management (BWM) program. It includes guidance to comply with Title 33, Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 151, Subparts C and D. It also announces a change to the terms of extended compliance dates the Coast Guard will issue to vessels.

Dry-docking dates

The "original compliance date" for a vessel is determined by the Implementation Schedule in either Table 151.1512(b) for Subpart C or 151.2035(b) for Subpart D. New vessels (those constructed on or after Dec. 1, 2013) must use an approved BWM method by their delivery date. Existing vessels (those constructed before Dec. 1, 2013) must use an approved BWM method by their original compliance date. An existing vessel's original compliance date depends upon the vessel's ballast water capacity and is set as the first scheduled dry-docking date after a date specified in either Table 151.1512(b) or 151.2035(b), as applicable.

The BWM regulations do not define "first scheduled dry-docking." The following guidance is applicable to the first scheduled dry-docking and other dry-docking dates for existing vessels:

• In all cases, a vessel's "first scheduled dry-docking" date for the purposes of compliance with the BWM implementation schedule is the date the vessel enters a dry dock. For example, if a vessel enters dry dock on or before Dec. 31, 2015 and does not leave dry dock until after Jan. 1, 2016, the dry dock is not considered the "first scheduled dry-docking after Jan. 1, 2016" for purposes of compliance;

• A dry-docking begun after the date specified in either Table 151.1512(b) or 151.2035(b), as applicable, which is necessary for emergency repairs is not considered the first scheduled dry-docking. However, if this dry-docking satisfies the administration for endorsing the certificate of inspection, passenger ship safety certificate, cargo ship safety certificate, or cargo ship safety construction certificate as the required survey of the bottom of the ship, this dry-docking date is considered the first scheduled dry-docking;

• A scheduled dry-docking begun after the date specified in either Table 151.1512(b) or 151.2035(b), as applicable, to satisfy a statutory bottom survey requirement or to accomplish planned work (such as a dry-docking to install exhaust gas cleaning equipment or to install a new bottom coating system), as opposed to emergency work, is considered the "first scheduled dry-docking";

An underwater inspection in lieu of dry-docking (UWILD) is not considered the "first scheduled dry-docking"; instead:

• For vessels that undergo one UWILD and one dry-docking for statutory purposes every five years, the first scheduled dry-docking is the first dry-docking conducted for statutory purposes after the date specified in either Table 151.1512(b) or 151.2035(b), as applicable;

• For vessels that do not routinely undergo dry-dockings, their original compliance date is Jan. 1, 2014 ,or Jan. 1, 2016, depending on the vessel's ballast water capacity.

The Coast Guard recommends vessel owners maintain, in contracts, records, or logbooks, documentation of the date the vessel entered/left the dry dock and the reason why the vessel was dry-docked, and be prepared to present the information to Coast Guard compliance personnel if there are any questions concerning the vessel's compliance.

Extended compliance date

A vessel that discharges ballast water in waters of the U.S. after its original compliance date must comply with the requirements under 33 CFR 151.1512 or 151.2035 for approved BWM methods. However, the master, owner, operator, agent or person in charge of a vessel may apply to the Coast Guard for an extended compliance date if they can document that, despite all efforts, compliance with the requirement under 33 CFR 151.1510 or 151.2025 is not possible.

The Coast Guard is revising the terms of extended compliance dates, and will issue a revised CG-OES Policy Letter 13-01. A vessel's extended compliance date will now be the "next scheduled dry-docking" after the vessel's original compliance date. Existing extension letters will not be re-issued, but this change in terms will be made when a vessel applies for a supplemental extension. Information on applying for an extended compliance date is available at in the "Regulations and Policy Documents" subfolder.

This document may be found here:

Questions regarding interpretation of "first scheduled dry-docking" should be sent to

By Professional Mariner Staff