Class and Statutory News

USCG - Extension of implementation schedule for approved Ballast Water Management (BWM) methods

Jan. 18 2016

The United States Coast Guard (USCG) published on 16 November 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 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. 

A vessel’s “first scheduled drydocking” date for the purposes of compliance with the BWM implementation schedule is the date the vessel enters a drydock. For example, if a vessel enters drydock on or before December 31, 2015 and does not leave drydock until after January 1, 2016, the drydock is not considered the “first scheduled drydocking after January 1, 2016” for purposes of compliance; 
A drydocking begun after the date specified in either Table 151.1512(b) or 151.2035(b), as applicable, which is necessary for emergency repairs is not considered the first scheduled drydocking. However, if this drydocking satisfies the Administration for endorsing the Certificate of Inspection, passenger ship safety certificate, cargo ship safety certificate, or cargo ship safety construction certificate as the required survey of the bottom of the ship, this drydocking date is considered the first scheduled drydocking; 
A scheduled drydocking begun after the date specified in either Table 151.1512(b) or 151.2035(b), as applicable, to satisfy a statutory bottom survey requirement or to accomplish planned work (such as a drydocking to install exhaust gas cleaning equipment or to install a new bottom coating system), as opposed to emergency work, is considered the “first scheduled drydocking”.

An underwater inspection in lieu of drydocking (UWILD) is not considered the “first scheduled drydocking”; instead:

  • For vessels that undergo one UWILD and one drydocking for statutory purposes every five years, the first scheduled drydocking is the first drydocking conducted for statutory purposes after the date specified in either Table 151.1512(b) or 151.2035(b), as applicable;
  • For vessels that do not routinely undergo drydockings, their original compliance date is 1 January 2014 or 1 January 2016, depending on the vessel’s ballast water capacity.

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. 

The terms of ballast water extensions to the “next scheduled drydocking” after a vessel’s original compliance date will be reflected in a revised approval letter. For vessels that have received extension letters prior to the publication date of this Policy Letter, Rev. 2, the Coast Guard will apply the new terms when it applies for a supplemental extension. 
A vessel may need a supplemental extension because compliance is still not possible. For this vessel, the supplemental extended compliance date will be its next scheduled drydocking after its current extended compliance date. However, if the vessel’s next scheduled drydocking is less than two years away, the Coast Guard may grant an extension to the second scheduled drydocking that the applicant provides. 

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). 
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 master, owner, operator, agent, or person in charge of the vessel 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. 

Application must include the following attached Excel spreadsheet file :

This message cancels and replaces the #1754 one dated 18st September 2015 since the CG-OES Policy Letter 13-01, Rev. 1 dated Sept 10, 2015 is superseded.