Marine Link
Tuesday, October 25, 2016

USCG Accepts BWTS as Alternate Management Systems

April 15, 2013

The U.S. Coast Guard announced the acceptance of nine ballast water treatment systems today as Alternate Management Systems (AMS) in compliance with the service’s March 2012 final rule for Standards for Living Organisms in Ships’ Ballast Water Discharged (SLOSBWD) in U.S. waters.

AMS acceptance by the Coast Guard is a temporary designation given to a ballast water treatment system approved by a foreign administration.  Vessel operators may use an AMS to manage their ballast water discharges in lieu of ballast water exchange, while the treatment system undergoes approval testing to Coast Guard standards. 

An AMS may be used to meet the Coast Guard ballast water treatment requirements for up to five years after the ship’s ballast water discharge standard compliance date specified in the final rule.  This five-year timeframe allows for the completion of required land-based and shipboard testing.

“With these AMS acceptances, we move into a new era of aquatic invasive species prevention and control,” said Coast Guard Rear Adm. Joseph A. Servidio, Assistant Commandant for Prevention Policy.  “Compared with the existing requirement for mid-ocean ballast water exchange, these technological solutions reduce the ballast water exchange safety concerns for mariners and provide greater protection for the marine environment.”

“This is an important first step in making Coast Guard and foreign approved ballast water treatment systems available for the global shipping industry,” said Servido.  “The Coast Guard AMS program will allow ship owners and operators to install a ballast water treatment system and use it in U.S. waters while it undergoes approval testing.” 

The Coast Guard continues to review applications for AMS acceptance and will announce further determinations.  For information on how to obtain an AMS acceptance from the Coast Guard and for a complete list of ballast water management systems that have been accepted for use as an AMS, please visit the Coast Guard’s Environmental Standards Division’s website at


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