Marine Link
Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Water Discharge News

American Waterways Operators Responds to Senate

Photo: American Waterways Operators

On Wednesday, the U.S. Senate rejected legislation - Vessel Incidental Discharge Act (VIDA) - that would have simplified regulatory oversight of vessel discharges. The Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2017, due to inclusion of the Vessel Incidental Discharge Act (VIDA) within the bill, failed by three votes to reach the 60 votes needed in the United States Senate to end debate and move to a vote on final passage. While the vote tally reflected bipartisan support for the Coast Guard authorization bill with VIDA included…

MARAD Letter to EPA on Ballast Water Litigation

The U.S. Maritime Administration (MARAD) sent a Letter to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) expressing its concern over the pending litigation relating to ballast water discharges and the current exemption for such discharges from the requirements of the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES). MARAD is concerned about the long-term workability of applying the NPDES permitting regime to ballast water discharge. It is also concerned about the potentially crippling short-term impact that repeal of the normal operation exclusion could have pending any appeal of the court decision. (HK Law)

EPA without authority to exempt ballast water discharges

A federal judge in San Francisco ruled that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) lacks authority to exempt ballast water discharges from requirements of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (FWPCA). With limited exemptions, the FWPCA prohibits discharges of any pollutant from a point source (such as a ship) into navigable waters of the United States, except in accordance with the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES). Since 1973, the EPA has exempted ballast water discharges from the NPDES requirements. In 1999, various environmental advocacy groups petitioned the EPA to revoke the exemption. The EPA declined and this litigation ensued. It is too early to determine how this matter will be resolved, but ship owners and operators should pay close attention.

Interagency Development of Ballast Water Discharge Standards

The US Coast Guard issued a press release stating that it is working with the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to develop regulations on ballast water discharge standards. Source: HK Law

Standards for Ballast Water Discharge

The US Coast Guard proposes to amend its regulations on ballast water management by establishing standards for the allowable concentration of living organisms in ships’ ballast water discharged in US waters. It also proposes to amend its regulations for approving engineering equipment by establishing an approval process for ballast water management systems. These proposed regulations are intended to aid in controlling the introduction and spread of nonindigenous species from ships discharging ballast water in US waters. The ballast water discharge standards would be used to approve ballast water management systems that are at least as effective as ballast water exchange in preventing or reducing the introduction of nonindigenous species via discharged ballast water.

Interagency Development of Ballast Water Discharge Standards

The Coast Guard will work with the Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) in the continued development of new federal regulations on ballast water discharge standards. APHIS joins a federal partnership that also includes the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, all of which are contributing technical expertise to the Coast Guard-led federal rulemaking. The rulemaking is intended to spur vessels to use a variety of ballast water treatment technologies to prevent the introduction and spread of aquatic nonindigenous species, such as viral hemorrhagic septicemia.

EPA Denies Ballast Water Petition

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued its Decision denying the petition filed by environmental advocacy groups seeking repeal of the regulation allowing ships to discharge ballast water in the United States. The environmental advocacy groups sought to bring ballast water discharges within the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES), meaning that individual discharge permits would be required for each ship. The EPA notes that there are many ongoing activities related to control of invasive species in ballast water, many of which are likely to prove more effective and efficient than NPDES permits. Congress has enacted other measures specifically intended to address ballast water issues.

U.S. BWT Standard is Published

Coast Guard issues standard for living organisms in ships' discharged ballast water. The U.S. Coast Guard announced Friday the final rule for standards for living organisms in ships' ballast water discharged into waters of the United States is scheduled for publication March 23 in the Federal Register. A public inspection copy of the final rule is available online. The Coast Guard is amending its regulations on ballast water management by establishing a standard for the allowable concentration of living organisms in ballast water discharged from ships in waters of the United States. The Coast Guard is also amending its regulations for engineering equipment by establishing an approval process for ballast water management systems.

Marine Fabrication Returns to Southampton

One of the pontoons being lifted into the water  (Photo: SMS)

Marine engineering services firm SMS is midway through a contract for Woods’ Silver Fleet to build three huge pontoons for the Thames. The works amount to circa 750 metric tons of fully fabricated steel pontoons and over 5,000 man hours of specialized, local, labor in Southampton, Hampshire, U.K.Chris Norman, the managing director of Southampton Marine Services (SMS), said, “This project is of significance not only to SMS but also the local shipbuilding community. “It’s the first time in 13 years…

Bulker Owner Fined for US Ballast Water Discharge

The U.S. Coast Guard said it has issued a $5,000 fine to the owners of a foreign freight vessel for unauthorized ballast water discharge into the Willamette River in Portland, August 16. During a routine port state control ballast water examination on the 590-foot bulk freighter ANSAC Moon Bear, Coast Guard marine inspectors, from Marine Safety Unit Portland, discovered that the vessel had discharged untreated ballast water into the Willamette River on three separate occasions during port calls in 2017. As part of the port state control exam, log books were reviewed during administrative evaluations by the marine inspectors, which led to the ballast water discharge discovery.

sVGP Compliance Difficulties Continue for the Workboat Sector

(Image: Ecochlor)

The recent implementation (January 19, 2018) of the long-delayed small Vessel General Permit (sVGP) requirement has major implications for environmental regulations in general, and specifically how the compliance difficulties continue for vessel owners with no real end in sight. Moreover, the U.S. Coast Guard’s (USCG) recent publication of NVIC 01-18 (March 1, 2018), while helpful in advising owners on how to comply with the ballast water regulations, does not relieve vessels from the underlying requirements…

California – Ballast Water Discharge Standards

Following up on yesterday’s item regarding the report of the California State Lands Commission (SLC) on Performance Standards for Ballast Water Discharges in California Waters, I have been advised that the SLC staff submitted the report to the Commission, but that the Commission has deferred action until their next scheduled meeting in February 2006. Following approval by the Commission, the report will be forwarded to the California Legislature for consideration. It is currently unclear whether the SLC will be directed to develop regulations in accordance with the report or whether the Legislature will take direct action. Source: HK Law

USCG Accepts BWTS as Alternate Management Systems

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…

Hyde Marine to Display Ballast Water Tech at SMM

Hyde GUARDIAN Gold BWTS

Hyde Marine, Inc., a ballast water treatment technology company, will showcase its Hyde GUARDIAN Gold HG250G Ballast Water Treatment System (BWTS) at the upcoming Shipbuilding, Machinery, & Marine Technology (SMM) International Trade Fair, September 9-12, 2014, in Hamburg, Germany. The Hyde GUARDIAN Gold BWTS recently received Alternate Management System (AMS) Approval from the United States Coast Guard (USCG), which is a critical step to achieving full USCG Type Approval. The…

INTERTANKO to Intervene in Ballast Water Decision

A U.S. Federal judge in the Northern California District has granted INTERTANKO's Motion to Intervene on the court's decision that the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) exemption of ballast water discharges from the permit requirements of the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) was improper under the Clean Water Act. INTERTANKO filed this motion along with industry coalition partners the American Waterways Operators (AWO), the Chamber of Shipping of America (CSA), the Lake Carriers' Association (LCA), the World Shipping Council (WSC) and the International Council of Cruise Lines (ICCL), referred to as the Shipping Industry Ballast Water Coalition, which is now a party in this case.

EPA: Cruise Ship Discharge Assessment

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is seeking comments on its Draft Cruise Ship Discharge Assessment Report. Comments should be submitted by February 4, 2008. The report, which will be posted at Cruise Ship Water Discharges, assesses five cruise ship waste streams: sewage; graywater; bilge water; solid waste; and hazardous waste. 72 Fed. Reg. 72353 (HK Law)

STUDY: Ballast Water Measures Are Falling Short

Invisible passengers. When ships discharge their ballast water, microscopic plankton, crab larvae and other potentially  harmful species often spill out as well. (Credit: SERC)

Invasive species have hitchhiked to the U.S. on cargo ships for centuries, but the method U.S. regulators most rely on to keep them out is not equally effective across coasts. Ecologists from the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center have found that ports on the East Coast and the Gulf of Mexico are significantly less protected than ports on the West Coast. Invaders are frequently introduced across oceans and along coastlines through the ballast water in ship hulls, water that often includes plankton and larval stages of marine and estuarine species.

Ballast Water Treatment – USCG Amending Regulations

USCG to amend regulations on BWT systems, allowable concentration living organisms The Coast Guard is amending its regulations on ballast water management by establishing a standard for the allowable concentration of living organisms in ships' ballast water discharged in waters of the United States. The Coast Guard is also amending its regulations for engineering equipment by establishing an approval process for ballast water management systems. These new regulations will aid in controlling the introduction and spread of nonindigenous species from ships' ballast water in waters of the United States.  

USCG and EPA Develop Initiative for Ballast Water Management

The US Coast Guard and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have developed an initiative for domestic ballast water management that would both legislatively overrule the 2006 federal court decision on ballast water discharges and be as consistent as possible with the IMO-sponsored International Convention for the Control and Management of Ship’s Ballast Water and Sediments, 2004.  Among other things, the proposal, if enacted, would largely preempt state governments from regulating ballast water issues concerning ships covered by the proposal. Source: HK Law

Vega Reederei faces Penalty for Ballast Water Discharge

cg emblem

The Coast Guard, after an investigation of ballast water discharge violations, initiated civil penalty proceedings against the operator, Vega Reederei GmbH & Co. KG, of the bulk carrier Vega Mars, Feb. 2, 2017. Investigators found that around Jan. 29, 2017, while moored in Tacoma, ballast water was discharged from the vessel without the use of a Coast Guard approved ballast water management system or other approved means, a violation of the National Invasive Species Act with a maximum penalty for $38,175.

Ballast Water Treatment Systems

The U.S. Coast Guard seeks consultation with interested and affected parties in establishing a program to approve ballast water treatment systems. The intent is to ensure that ballast water treatment systems approved for use on vessels will meet the ballast water discharge standard the Coast Guard will be implementing in the near future. Comments and related material should be submitted by December 3, 2004. 69 Fed. Reg. 47453 (August 5, 2004).

Hearing on Ballast Water Management and Emissions

The Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure conducted a hearing on Draft Legislation regarding Ballast Water Management and Reduction of Air Pollution from Ships. As noted by Chairman Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ), the draft bill would require the Coast Guard to establish ballast water discharge standards and facilitate development of alternative ballast water management methods. The bill also would include legislation to implement Annex VI of the MARPOL Convention to limit air emissions from ships. Source: HK Law

Shipboard Technology Evaluation Program

The U.S. Coast Guard issued a Notice announcing availability of the Programmatic Environmental Assessment (PEA) regarding the Shipboard Technology Evaluation Program (STEP). The purpose of STEP is to facilitate development of effective ballast water treatment technologies to protect coastal and inland waters against unintentional introduction of nonindigenous species via ballast water discharges. 69 Fed. Reg. 71068 (HK Law).

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