Legal Update: USCG – BWMS compliance date extensions
On 11 March 2019. the US Coast Guard issued a bulletin stating that it has reconsidered its previous interpretation of ‘next scheduled drydocking’ with respect to ballast water management system (BWMS) compliance dates.
Due to drydock slippage, the Coast Guard has determined that existing extensions with a compliance date stipulated as the ‘first scheduled drydock after (date)’ will not be affected by circumstances such as drydocking for emergency purposes or to install an exhaust gas cleaning system (scrubber) that did not involve a statutory out-of-the-water survey.
Language in originally issued extensions will be updated to reflect the intent of the originally issued extension, to tie the extension termination date to the vessel’s out-of-water statutory survey schedule, not to exceed five years. Where 2.5 year extensions from the date of the “first scheduled drydock after (date)” have been granted due to one of the abovementioned reasons, the USCG will be sending letters to clarify the beginning and the end of the originally issued extension period.
Members are directed to this bulletin for additional information. If Members have any questions relating to the USCG BWM Regulations, your usual Club contact will be pleased to assist you.
You may also be interested in:
On 18 November, 2020, the US Coast Guard issued a bulletin to remind stakeholders that revisions to MARPOL Annex II and the IBC Code will be coming into effect on 1 January, 2021.
IMO 2020 – Map on Scrubbers Regulations
Marpol Annex VI requires ships to reduce SOx emissions either by burning low sulphur fuel or by cleaning the exhaust gas. Exhaust gas cleaning systems (EGCS), also known as “scrubbers”, have been fitted onboard many ships as an acceptable equivalent method of compliance under Marpol Annex VI. Many more ships are intending to have scrubbers fitted.
The USCG in its Marine Safety Information Bulletin (IMSB) dated 9 April 2020, notes that disruptions to supply chains and workforce availability in the current COVID-19 pandemic can lead to delays in the installation and the commissioning of ballast water treatment systems (BWTS). The Coast Guard is, therefore, adjusting its extension policy under the US Ballast Water Management Regulations for vessels which may be impacted by the pandemic, with BWTS compliance dates before 1 April 2021. In instances where the pandemic has made it impractical to perform necessary or scheduled work on a vessel;
USCG – Novel Coronavirus update
The US Coast Guard issued Marine Safety Information Bulletin MSIB 02-20 (Change 1) entitled ‘Novel Coronavirus – Update’. Among other things, it states that the Coast Guard considers it a hazardous condition under 33 CFR 160.216 if a crewmember who was in Iran or China (excluding Hong Kong and Macau) within the past 14-days is brought aboard the vessel during transit. This requires immediate notification to the nearest Coast Guard COTP. (3/9/20)