The US Environmental Protection Agency has announced that the awaited third Vessel General Permit (VGP 3.0) will be delayed, putting pressure on shipowners and operators to make sure they are covered prior to the December 18 deadline.
The 2013 version of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Vessel General Permit was expected to be reissued prior to December 18 this year when it expires. The reissuance has however been delayed and is now not expected until the spring of 2019.
While the 2013 VGP will not be reissued prior to the December 18 expiration date, it will be administratively continued and remain in effect until the new permit is issued next year. Owners and operators of vessels operating under the administratively continued permit will be expected to comply with the terms and conditions of that permit, according to the Environment Protection Agency (EPA).
Ships that are already covered by the 2013 VGP permit as of December 18 will therefore remain covered, and shipowners and operators are strongly recommended to double-check that their ships have active and appropriate Notices of Intent (NOI) or Permit Authorization and Record of Inspection (PARI) before the December deadline.
An online public search tool can be used to identify the ships’ NOI status: https://ofmpub.epa.gov/apex/vgpenoi/f?p=vgp:Search
Updates to any Notice Of Intent submitted prior to December 18, such as owner or operator information, can still be made after the December deadline.
According to the EPA, ships not holding a permit coverage are strongly encouraged to seek one before December 18, as coverage under the current version of the VGP cannot be obtained after it expires. This also includes ships that are currently under construction or ships that have not previously operated in US waters.
More information can be found at the EPA website: https://www.epa.gov/npdes/vessels-vgp