September 2014:briefing on USCG and EPA extension issue - Ballast Water Discharge

Lloyd's list newspaper recently published the results of an industry sentiment survey on regulatory challenges with ballast water. The Club has prepared a number of briefings and publications on this topic to inform Members on the changes to legislation.

Senior Claims Executive,  Jacqueline Tan explains that due to the unavailability of any USCG type-approved BWTS at the present time, a vessel owner or operator could submit an application to the USCG for an extension of the vessel's applicable implementation date under the US Ballast Water Discharge Standard Regulation which came into effect on 21st June 2012.  

The extension request must be filed no later than 12 months before the vessel's applicable implementation date. 

For vessels with ballast capacity between 1500 m3 and  5000 m3, applications may be made even when the time remaining until the vessel's next scheduled drydocking is less than 12 months but an explanation of the circumstances as to why the extension request was not previously submitted must accompany the application.  

Once a USCG type-approved BWTS becomes available, the USCG may no longer be so ready to grant these extensions.  It is emphasized in the attached USCG Policy Letter No. 13-01 that every realistic option should be exhausted before an extension request is made and this may include a serious consideration by the vessel owner or operator to install any new USCG type-approved BWTS(s).  All vessel owners and operators are therefore urged to submit applications to the USCG for extensions as soon as possible.   To date, more than 160 vessels have received an extension from the USCG.   All extensions have been granted until 1st January 2016.  

The Club's Legal briefing series aims to share the legal expertise within the Club with our Members. A significant proportion of the expertise in the Managers’ offices around the world consists of lawyers who can advise Members on general P&I related legal, contractual and documentary issues. These lawyers  articipate in a virtual team, writing on topical and relevant legal issues under the leadership of our Legal Director, Chao Wu.

Please see below the Implementation Schedule for Approved BWM Methods:  

Table 151.2035(b)—Implementation Schedule for Approved Ballast Water Management Methods

Vessel's ballast
water capacity

Date constructed

Vessel's compliance date

New vessels

All

On or after December 1, 2013

On delivery

Existing vessels

Less than 1500 m3

Before December 1, 2013

First scheduled drydocking after January 1, 2016.

1500-5000 m3

Before December 1, 2013

First scheduled drydocking after January 1, 2014.

Greater than 5000 m3

Before December 1, 2013

First scheduled drydocking after January 1, 2016.

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