Class and Statutory News


Sep. 18 2015

Revised guidance to vessel owners and operators seeking to extend compliance dates for implementing approved BWM methods

The United States Coast Guard (USCG) published on 10 September 2015 the below attached revised Policy Letter, which concerns the extension of implementation schedule for approved Ballast Water Management (BWM) methods.

This policy letter provides revised guidance to vessel owners and operators seeking to extend compliance dates for implementing approved Ballast Water Management (BWM) methods.

Indeed, Title 33 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 151 Sections 1513 & 2036 (refer to the VeriSTAR Info "USCG - Ballast Water Treatment Requirements - Final Rule", #1473 and dated 02/05/2012) contains provisions for the USCG to grant an extension to a vessel’s original compliance date under the implementation schedule for BWM discharge standards for vessels using Coast Guard approved BWM System (BWMS).

Every extension request and supplemental extension request must document that, despite all efforts, compliance with the requirement under 33 CFR 151.1510 or 33 CFR 151.2025 by the date stipulated in the implementation schedule, or the end date specified in the current extension granted by the Coast Guard, is not possible for the subject vessel.

Circumstances that may merit an extension request include limited availability (or no availability) of Coast Guard type-approved BWMS (including constrained shipyard capability and capacity to install the system prior to the deadline) and lack of availability of, or ability to use exclusively, water from a U.S. Public Water System (PWS).

Every realistic option should be exhausted before an extension request is submitted.

Determining the correct original compliance date is critical, an extension requests must be submitted at least 12 months prior to this date.
In certain circumstances, a party may be unable to meet the 12 month requirement (e.g., establishing new ownership of the vessel). In such cases, the extension request should be submitted as early as possible with supporting documentation justifying the party’s reason for not meeting the regulatory deadline.

Extensions will be granted for no longer than the minimum time needed, as determined by the Coast Guard, for the vessel to comply with the requirements in 33 CFR Subparts C or D (refer to the VeriSTAR Info "USCG - Ballast Water Treatment Requirements - Final Rule", #1473 and dated 02/05/2012).
The USCG coordinates extensions with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on an annual basis, and currently issues extended compliance dates for up to 2 years at a time.
In Section 1.9 of the 2013 Vessel General Permit (VGP) (refer to the VeriSTAR Info "US - 2013 Vessel General Permit (VGP)", #1637 and dated 13/11/2013), the EPA advises that "where the U.S. Coast Guard has granted or denied an extension request pursuant to 33 CFR 151.2036, that information will be considered by EPA, but is not binding on EPA." As such, vessel owners / operators are encouraged to contact EPA at the earliest opportunity to inquire about their vessel's status regarding 2013 VGP ballast water technology requirements.

If an extended compliance date proves insufficient due to unanticipated delays or changes in circumstances, a vessel's owner, operator, agent, master, or person in charge may submit a supplemental extension request for the vessel.
The supplemental extension request should be submitted not less than 90 days prior to the end or termination date specified in the prior extension granted by the Coast Guard.
The supplemental request must clearly state the reason(s) why the vessel needs additional time to comply with the BWM requirements, including situation-specific documentation.

A non-exhaustive list of changes from the original version of this Policy Letter is detailed in the following attached document

Vessels that choose to install a foreign type-approved BWMS which the USCG has accepted as an Alternate Management System (AMS) may also apply for an extension. 

Application must now include the following attached Excel spreadsheet file : 

This message cancels and replaces the #1631 one dated 22nd October 2013 since the CG-OES Policy Letter 13-01 dated Sept 23, 2013 is superseded.
This message had been cancelled and replaced by the #1776 one dated 18st January 2016 since the CG-OES Policy Letter 13-01, Rev. 1 dated Sept 10, 2015 is superseded.