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International Environmental Compliance
This resource page collates material in respect of International environmental compliance issues affecting our Members.
Information from the Club, Loss Prevention and external resources has been collated in one place for ease of reference.
General information is contained in this introductory section, but for specific environmental legislation information click one of the topic images below:
Ballast Water Developments: Coast Guard Updates Ballast Water Management Frequently Asked Questions, Volume I
The US Coast Guard has updated its Ballast Water Management Frequently Asked Questions, Volume I. The updated version clarifies a number of questions, addressing topics such as the implementation schedule, the definition of Exclusive Economic Zone, the applicability of ballast water management requirements to unmanned barges, and approval of ballast water management systems and alternative management systems. The updated version also includes a number of new questions addressing ballast water exchange, operation exclusively in one Captain of the Port zone, installation of ballast water management systems, use of water from a U.S. public water system, and sediment disposal. www.uscg.mil
Articles & Publications
On 23 December, 2016, the US Coast Guard Marine Safety Center issued the second U.S. Coast Guard Ballast Water Management System Type Approval Certificate.
On 4th October, 2016, the US Coast Guard issued a notice on its Coast Guard Maritime Commons Blog in which it provided a recap of a presentation delivered by Lt. Cmdr. Jason Kling, of the Coast Guard Marine Safety Center, at the 2016 BWMTech Conference in Miami 26th-28th September.
The US Coast Guard have issued a bulletin regarding the recent ratification of the International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships' Ballast Water and Sediments (BWM Convention).
The IMO has announced that the Convention will enter into force on 8th September 2017 after Finland’s ratification of the treaty brings the combined tonnage of contracting States to 35.1441%
The latest USCG's Marine Safety Information Bulletin OES-MSIB No. 010/16 dated 13th July 2016 is available at https://homeport.uscg.mil/mycg/portal/ep/home.do....
Some US states have introduced additional state specific ballast water management requirements for vessels calling at ports in those states. The Club has summarised the main additional requirements for some of these states for our Members’ reference and guidance.
On 7 March 2016, Belgium became the 48th country to ratify the Ballast Water Management Convention. The accession of Belgium brings the aggregate percentage of the world’s merchant fleet tonnage to 34.82.
IMO BWMC 2004 entering into force shortly.IMO G8 Guidelines under review to make approval standards for BWMS more robust. The environmental impact of active substances used in BWMS is being assessed for...
Jacqueline Tan, Senior Claims Executive at UK P&I Club comments on the strict ballast water management controls coming into force The coming into force of the Ballast Water Management Convention 2004 (“BWMC”) is now imminent. As of 12 February 2015, 44 States representing 32.86% out of the requisite 35% of the world’s merchant fleet tonnage have ratified the Convention. The balance is expected to be obtained shortly and the Convention will enter into force 12 months thereafter.
The Coast Guard's Final Rule on the Standards for Living Organisms in Ship’s Ballast Water Discharged in U.S. Waters was issued on March 23, 2012 in the Federal Register, Volume 7, No. 57 and became effective 90 days after publication, on June 21, 2012.
- USCG issues First Type Approval to Ballast Water Treatment System (BWTS)
- 1019 - 01/15 - Ballast Water Reporting Form, California - USA
- 1013 - 12/14 - IMO A28 Resolutions Published - Worldwide
- 821 - 04/12 - USCG Ballast Water Management, Final Rules - USA
- 612 - 12/08 - US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Vessel General Permit (VGP) requirements - USA
Ballast Water Management
A safer and more effective management of ballast water
On 13th February 2004, the IMO adopted the International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships’ Ballast Water and Sediments.
The purpose of the Convention is to develop a safer and more effective management of ballast water that would eliminate the risk of harmful aquatic organisms and pathogens spreading from one part of the world to another causing harm to the environment, human health and property.
The Convention aims to achieve this objective by instituting a series of regulations to manage the transfer and the discharge of ships’ ballast water.
The main obligation of the Convention is for parties to undertake certain actions in order to prevent, minimize and ultimately eliminate the transfer of harmful aquatic organisms and pathogens through the control and management of the ships’ ballast water and sediments.
OutlineAs a result of a recent US Court of Appeal decision, the EPA is now required to regulate discharges incidental to the normal operations of vessels. Vessels must comply with the Vessel General Permit (VGP) requirements from 19th December 2008. Vessels must file an Notice of Intent (NOI), between 19th June 2009 to 19th September 2009, to obtain authorisation to discharge under the VGP.
In 1997 the MARPOL Convention was amended by the “1997 Protocol”. The amendment includes Annex VI “Regulations for the Prevention of Air Pollution from Ships which sets limits on NOx and SOx emissions from ship exhausts, and prohibits deliberate emissions of ozone depleting substances.
Emission Control Areas
Two sets of emission and fuel quality requirements are defined by Annex VI: (1) global requirements, and (2) more stringent requirements applicable to ships in Emission Control Areas (ECA). An Emission Control Area can be designated for SOx and PM, or NOx, or all three types of emissions from ships, subject to a proposal from a Party to Annex VI.
Existing Emission Control Areas include:
- Baltic Sea (SOx, adopted: 1997 / entered into force: 2005)
- North Sea (SOx, 2005/2006)
- North American ECA, including most of US and Canadian coast (NOx & SOx, 2010/2012).
- US Caribbean ECA, including Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands (NOx & SOx, 2011/2014).
Greenhouse Gas Emissions
2011 Amendments to MARPOL Annex VI introduced mandatory measures to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG). The Amendments added a new Chapter 4 to Annex VI on “Regulations on energy efficiency for ships”.
NOx Emission Standards
NOx emission limits are set for diesel engines depending on the engine maximum operating speed (n, rpm), Tier I and Tier II limits are global, while the Tier III standards apply only in NOx Emission Control Areas.
This section covers marine pollution regulations. Areas covered include:
- Australian Maritime Pollution Risks
- Chinese Oil pollution - the Club has a dedicated page for China here
- EU Pollution regulations
- US Pollution Risks
- Circular 7/13: Updated California Certificates of Financial Responsibility (COFR) Requirements
- Circular 5/13: Australian Pollution Law - Revised oil pollution indemnity clause for penalties and fines
- Circular 1/13: Oil Pollution in the United States, Tanker Voyage Additional Premium System - 2013 Policy Year
- Circular 20/12: Regulations of the People’s Republic of China on the prevention and control of Marine Pollution from Ships
Articles & Publications
IMO: The International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL) is the main international convention covering prevention of pollution of the marine environment by ships from operational or accidental causes. www.imo.org
Holman Fenwick Willan: Ship Pollution Response Organisations - Understanding the new PRC regulations www.hfw.com
Department of Energy & Climate change: The Merchant Shipping (Oil Pollution Preparedness, Response Co-operation Convention) Regulations 1998. Every offshore installation and oil-handling facility must have an approved oil pollution emergency plan (OPEP) setting out arrangements for responding to incidents that cause or may cause marine pollution by oil, with a view to preventing such pollution or reducing or minimising its effect. www.gov.uk
Australian Maritime Safety Authority: Marine environment protection resources and Legislation and Prevention measures. www.amsa.gov.au
International Maritime Organisation
The IMO website contains information on the Ballast Water Management convention, BWM guidelines and the full text of the convention is available from the IMO. www.imo.org
- Yangtze River Delta update - 27th January 2016
- New regulation on ship emission control areas of the Pearl river delta, the Yangtze river delta and Bohai sea waters
- Emission Standards: SOx/NOx
- 991 - 08/14 - California Air Regulations - California
- Legal Briefing: Stricter air pollution regulations on the horizon
UK Chamber of Shipping
UK Chamber of Shipping is campaigning against the way new sulphur laws are being implemented. They have released a video this week on the issue. The link will take you to the UK Chamber of Shipping's website: https://www.ukchamberofshipping.com/latest/watch-cost-impending-sulphur-regulations/
Policy & convention information
International Maritime Organisation (IMO)
The best starting point in the IMO website is the Marine Environment section. Click on the blue button labelled “Marine Environment” and a dedicated menu item on ‘Air pollution’ appears in a right hand menu. Click on that item to view an extensive overview of MARPOL Annex VI and related items such as the full text of the convention and explanation of the work of the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC).
California Air Resources Board
This organisation has published a series of marine notices regarding the implementation of air emissions regulations. These notices include the requirements for ships to maintain records on fuel use within the regulated area.
In November 2002, the European Commission adopted a European Union strategy to reduce atmospheric emissions from seagoing ships. A dedicated area on the Commission website provides information on the status and development of its directives on air pollution from ships.
This section includes as special Q& A sheet relating to the Directive 1999/32/EC in regard to use of low sulphur fuels at berth.
Anti-fouling paints are used to coat the bottoms of ships to prevent sealife such as algae and molluscs attaching themselves to the hull – thereby slowing down the ship and increasing fuel consumption.
Before the development of modern antifouling paints, lime and later arsenic were used to coat ships' hulls, today the antifouling paint contains metallic compounds. The compounds used slowly "leach" into the sea water, killing barnacles and other marine life that have attached to the ship.
Studies have shown that the compounds remain in the water, killing sealife, harming the environment and possibly entering the food chain. One of the most effective anti-fouling paints, developed in the 1960s, contains the organotin tributylin (TBT), which has been proven to cause deformations in oysters and sex changes in whelks.
On the 5th October 2001, The International Convention on the Control of Harmful Anti-fouling Systems on Ships, was adopted which prohibits the use of harmful organotins in anti-fouling paints used on ships and will establish a mechanism to prevent the potential future use of other harmful substances in anti-fouling systems
Under the terms of the Convention, Parties to the Convention are required to prohibit and/or restrict the use of harmful anti-fouling systems on ships flying their flag, as well as ships not entitled to fly their flag but which operate under their authority and all ships that enter a port, shipyard or offshore terminal of a Party.
UK Government website - convention text