California State Ballast Water Exchange fines and regulations

Overview

Overview of California State Ballast Water Management and noncompliance penalties.

The standards of the Californias Marine Invasive Species Act (MISA) are more stringent than the United States Coast Guard Ballast Water Management standards. They also include requirements for ballast water exchange, reporting, and recordkeeping applicable to all ships of at least 300 gross tons capable of carrying ballast water calling at California ports.

Ballast Water Exchanges (BWE) are permitted under MISA that specifies where a ship should conduct a ballast water exchange depending on whether its voyage begins in or outside the Pacific Coast Region (PCR). The PCR is defined as "all waters on the Pacific Coast of North America, east of 154 degrees W longitude and north of 25 degrees N latitude" though exclusive of the Gulf of California. Ships on voyages originating from outside the PCR shall conduct ballast water exchanges 200 nautical miles off the California coast (including islands), and in waters 2000 meters deep.

The requirements also apply if voyages begin in the PCR area, the ship shall conduct ballast water exchanges 50 nautical miles off the California coast (including islands), and in waters 200 meters deep.

The California State Lands Commission's(CSLC) new regulations provide the following penalty classifications for violations of ballast water exchange requirements:

Level of violations for BWE performed “en route” from outside the US Pacific Coast Region (PCR):

BWE operation and de-ballasting in California state waters Level of penalty
Outside 200 NM None
Between 180 and 200 NM Class 1 Minor - USD 5,000 petr tank unless similar violation in the past 12 months
Between 25 and 100 NM Class 1 Moderate - USD 10,000 per tank unless similar violation in the past 12 months
Between 0 and 25 NM Class 1 Major - USD 20,000 per tank. Penalties for prior violations not specified
No BWE carried out Class 1 Major – USD 27,500 Maximum penalty USD 27,000 per tank.

Level of violations for BWE performed “en route” from inside the US Pacific Coast Region (PCR)

BWE operation and de-ballasting in California state waters Level of penalty
Between 45 and 50 NM None
Between 45 and 50 NM Class 1 Minor - USD 5,000 per tank unless similar violation in the past 12 months
Between 25 and 45 NM Class 1 Moderate - USD 10,000 per tank unless similar violation in the past 12 months
Between 0 and 25 NM Class 1 Major - USD 20,000 per tank. Penalties for prior violations not specified
No BWE carried out Class 1 Major – USD 27,500 Maximum penalty USD 27,000 per tank.

California State regulations require ships to maintain ballast water management plans, logs, and copies of Ballast Water Management Reports and:

  • Submission of Ballast Water Management Reports
  • Annual and Supplemental Technology Reports (ballast water treatment system usage)
  • Hull Husbandry Reports (relating to anti-biofouling).

The new CSLC regulations also define the penalties for violations of the ballast water management record keeping and reporting requirements as follows:

  • Record keeping is a Class 2 violation and the first violation gives a letter of noncompliance. Second and similar subsequent violations results in fines of USD 10,000
  • Reporting is a Class 3 violation and the first violation gives a letter of noncompliance.  Second and similar subsequent violations results in fines of USD 1,000 per 30 days where the reporting form not is submitted.

For further information please visit the government site.

Aron Soerensen
in Copenhagen, DK

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