USCG A closer look at NVIC 01-18 and BWMS compliance date extensions

Overview

The USCG recently published Navigation and Vessel Inspection Circular (NVIC) 01-18, “Ballast Water Management For Control Of Non-Indigenous Species In Waters Of The United States.” Further to the NVIC 01-18 have the USCG published guidance on the NVIC 01-18 regarding requests for compliance extensions.

Ship owners and operators are reminded that there are several acceptable methods for managing ballast water listed in USCG BWM regulations 33 CFR 151.1510 or 151.2025. For ship owners and operators choosing to install a Ballast Water Management System (BWMS), there are six USCG  type approved BWMS at this time. The type approved BWMS cover nearly all classes of ships and are compatible with a broad range of operational requirements.

Per 33 CFR §151.1513 or 33 CFR §151.2036 related to extension of the compliance date, ship owners/operators may request an extension of the ship’s compliance date. The USCG will typically grant an extension to a ship’s compliance date only in those cases where the master, owner, operator, agent, or person in charge of a ship can document that, despite all efforts, compliance with the requirements is not possible. Documentation that establishes this need may include information why existing type approved BWMS are not compatible, are unavailable or cannot be installed before the compliance date. In the last instance, the supporting information may include proof of acquisition of a type approved BWMS, and installation on a specific date. In general, extensions will not be granted for more than 12 months from the ship’s current compliance date.

No extensions will be granted to a ship with an installed alternate management system (AMS) and no extensions will be granted to install an AMS. However, the USCG will consider granting extensions to ships that intend to install a BWMS that is expected to receive type approval in the near future. These requests should include specific documentation clearly indicating the system is expected to receive USCG type approval within 12 months of the ship’s current compliance date. Documentation should include proof from the manufacturer or independent lab that shows they have applied for USCG type approval, proof of acquisition of the BWMS, and proof of arrangements for installation on a specific date not to exceed 12 months from the ship’s current compliance date.

Selecting a BWMS prior to USCG type approval carries the risk that the system may not achieve type approval by the date listed in the extension. Ship owners and operators will not be granted further extensions if these systems do not become USCG type approved. Furthermore, as this system is not installed as an AMS, the 5 year period normally allowed for AMS use beyond the ship’s compliance date is not applicable.

The USCG recognises the dynamic nature of ship operations and scheduling. In some cases, scheduled dry-docks move or “slip” due to various reasons. Currently, a number of ships have been granted extensions until the “next scheduled dry-dock” after a certain date, which was aligned with an upcoming dry-dock date. In some instances, the upcoming dry-dock date slips and a ship owner/operator requests the extension be amended to reflect that slip. If a new extension is granted, it will likely be for 2.5 years from the date of the originally scheduled dry-dock date, rather than extending until the date of “next scheduled dry-dock.” This should give the owner/operator sufficient time to arrange for the installation of a type approved system while the ship is out-of-service during the next regularly scheduled maintenance or repair period.

For example, consider a ship that has already been issued an extension until the next scheduled dry-dock after April 1, 2018, but the upcoming dry-dock “slips” by 30 days and is now scheduled for May 1, 2018. The ship owner/operator may request a new extension letter to reflect that slip. However, if the USCG grants the extension, the new compliance date will be October 1, 2020, which is 2.5 years from April 1, 2018.

As stated in 33 CFR §151.1513 or 33 CFR §151.2036, extension requests need to be received by the USCG at least 12 months prior to a ship’s compliance date. This ensures that the ship remains in compliance during the administrative process. The USCG recommends ship owners or operators submit extension requests no more than 18 months in advance of a ship’s compliance date.

Please consult the USCG website for up to date information regarding the ballast water management regulations. As a reminder, compliance date extension requests and other inquiries should be sent to environmental_standards@uscg.mil

Peter Lundahl Rasmussen
By Peter Lundahl Rasmussen
in Copenhagen, DK

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