Beginning June 21, 2012, the U.S. regulations on ballast water management and reporting (detailed in Classification News 14/2004) will be superseded by new regulations, which will require ships to treat ballast water and regularly remove hull fouling.
Ships calling at U.S. ports and intending to discharge ballast will be required to use an approved ballast water treatment system, which meets the U.S. discharge standard (which is the same as the IMO D-2 standard) in accordance with the following timetable.
Ballast water treatment systems are to be approved by the United States Coast Guard (USCG). Alternatively, a system which has an approval certificate to the IMO standard issued by or on behalf of a flag administration may be acceptable if the IMO approval has been reviewed and accepted by the USCG. An IMO-approved system must have been installed before the date a ship is required to comply with the U.S. requirements and may be used for five years after this date. A further alternative is for ships to use potable water as ballast if: the water is supplied from the U.S. public water system; the ship obtains a certificate, stating that the water meets federal standards; and the ballast tank is cleaned and sediment is removed.
The regulations will also require all ships to clean ballast tanks to remove sediments; rinse anchors and chains when an anchor is retrieved; remove fouling from the hull, piping and tanks on a regular basis; maintain a ballast water management plan, which includes procedures for fouling and sediment removal, as well as ballast water management; maintain records of ballast and fouling management; and submit a report form 24 hours before arrival.
The USCG will review the practicability of implementing a higher ballast water discharge standard and publish the results no later than January 1, 2016.