The US Coast Guard (USCG) has now issued its Final Rule on Ballast Water Management. The Rule enters into force on 21 June 2012.
Although implementation dates for ballast water treatment systems do not become effective until 1 December 2013 for new buildings and 1 January 2016 for existing vessels, there are requirements which enter into force from 21 June and which should be noted by Operators.
The key item is the presence of a Ballast Water Management Plan on board after the entry into force date, but Operators should also take into account the requirement to include the vessels biofouling maintenance procedures within the Ballast Water Management Plan.
In communications with the USCG on this latter point, INTERTANKO has been advised that a separate Biofouling Management Plan on board that has been developed in accordance with the IMO Guidelines and referenced in the Ballast Water Management Plan will be adequate to meet the requirements under USCG regulation 33 CFR § 151.2050(g)(3).
This Biofouling Management Plan will then also comply with the new draft "California Biofouling Management Regulations for Vessels Operating in California Waters" which will enter into force on 1 January 2014.
For details on the IMO's Guidance please refer to the "2011 Guidelines for the control and management of ships' biofouling to minimize the transfer of invasive aquatic species", as set out in IMO Resolution MEPC.207(62).
The USCG has advised INTERTANKO that it is developing guidance and a list of Frequently Asked Questions and Answers. We recommend that questions relating to the legislation are forwarded to the USCG so that they may be included in the final documents.
The USCG website link for this regulation is as follows: http://www.uscg.mil/hq/cg5/cg522/cg5224/bwm.asp
Source : INTERTANKO