Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit Portland, Ore., conducted Operation Clean River, a large-scale operation to ensure environmental compliance onboard commercial deep draft vessels, Wednesday, Jan. 19. Clean River covered both the Columbia and Willamette Rivers in an effort to examine all vessels that were currently moored or anchored from Portland downriver to Longview, Wash. Specifically, the Coast Guard’s Port State Control Branch verified vessel compliance with both international and domestic regulations found in MARPOL 73/78 and 33 CFR 151, 155 and 157, respectively.
MARPOL 73/78 is the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships and is one of the most important international marine environmental regulations designed to minimize pollution of the seas, including pollution caused by dumping oil and/or garbage into the world’s oceans. Title 33, Code of Federal Regulations, is the domestic counterpart of this international law and gives the Coast Guard the authority to enforce various activities on our nation’s waterways.
In total, the Coast Guard inspected 15 vessels and will be following up on an additional four vessels in the next few days. Only one vessel was found to be not fully compliant with minor environmental deficiencies and the operator will be required to bring their vessel into full compliance prior to departing the port.
“Today’s operation ensured that Washington and Oregon waterways were protected from the accidental or intentional discharge of oil or hazardous material,” said Capt. Daniel LeBlanc, Commanding Officer of MSU Portland. “Additionally, the operation ensures that all vessels subject to international and domestic regulations continue to comply with the letter of the law.”
The Coast Guard normally conducts a thorough Port State Control examination on all foreign vessels calling on U.S. waters at least annually. Today’s operation focused solely on the pollution prevention aspects of these routine Port State Control exams which are typically carried out on a daily basis here in Portland and the surrounding area.