On December 19, 2013 the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will implement its new Vessel General Permit (VGP), which the Canadian Shipowners Association (CSA) said will demand a technical solution that is currently unavailable to the marine industry.
However, there is little flexibility in the VGP to accommodate this delay, leaving shipowners with an impossible requirement, the CSA said. This untenable situation could lead to significant impacts for Canadian shipowners if left unresolved. Given the dependence of American and Canadian industry on the marine transportation sector, finding a short-term solution to facilitate commerce is imperative.
The CSA has been working on multiple fronts to find relief from this situation of inflexibility. "While the regulation of ballast water discharges is a global challenge, we need an immediate and flexible solution that recognizes the unique situation for vessels that trade on the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway system," said Robert Lewis-Manning, President of the Canadian Shipowners Association.
Protection of the marine environment is a priority for CSA member companies who are investing in new ships, modernizing existing ships, and employing the highest environmental practices in the industry. CSA members are participating in Green Marine, the Great Lakes Ballast Water Collaborative, and efforts to evaluate promising technology at the Great Ships Initiative. Since 2006 and the implementation of a binational (Canada - U.S.) requirement for mid-ocean ballast water exchange, no new organisms have been detected in the Great Lakes from beyond Canadian territorial waters.
The CSA membership operates Canadian-flagged and uniquely designed ships on Canadian coastal, Arctic and inland waters, with highly skilled Canadian crew that is part of a $36 billion continental marine transportation system. Recent investments of over $700 million in 14 new vessels, have positioned the industry for growth. Marine transportation is the most sustainable form of transportation.