This is the latest in a series of reports supplied by the Chamber of Shipping of America (CSA) with the intention of keeping BIMCO members appraised of legislative developments in the US affecting international shipping. BIMCO highlights only the relevant developments that would impact members. The full CSA October report is also provided.
Ballast Water Type Approvals – Update
The US Coast Guard (USCG) has now issued a US type approval for a sixth ballast water treatment system: the Erma First FIT with flow rates from 100 to 3740 cubic meters per hour. 13 specific models of this system are included in the type approval.
The system uses a three-step process, consisting of filtration and electrolysis, while loading ballast water with a neutralization step when the ballast water is discharged.
In addition, the USCG has issued an updated type approval certificate to TeamTec OceanSaver AS. This updated type approval certificate covers the OceanSaver BWTS MKII ballast water management system which was originally covered under the original type approval certificate issued to OceanSaver.
It would be expected that TeamTec will be in a position to supply necessary spare parts identical to the original manufacturer and thus there will be no impact on the compliance status of already installed systems.
USCG Guidance on Alternative Planning Criteria (APC) for Vessel Response Plans
The USCG has published MER Policy Letter 01-17 which contains guidance to the maritime industry on developing and submitting alternative planning criteria as permitted under 33 CFR 155.1065 and 33 CFR 155.5067.
Vessel owners and operators are recommended to advise their Vessel Response Plan preparers of this new policy letter which does NOT create any new requirements but rather clarifies the existing policy on APC submission and approvals.
Status of Jones Act Discussions
As indicated in the last report, the US House of Representatives, Coast Guard and Marine Transportation Subcommittee held a hearing in early October on the status of the Jones Act. At that hearing, it was confirmed that there was sufficient US flag tonnage available to supply the island of Puerto Rico and it was in fact the logistics log jam preventing the delivery of much needed humanitarian relief cargoes. This was due to land based issues relating to road conditions and lack of trucks and drivers to transport the cargoes from the port areas to the more remote towns on the island. In spite of the sufficiency of US flag tonnage, the executive branch granted a 10-day waiver which resulted in a very few non-US flag vessels delivering cargoes to Puerto Rico.
CSA will continue to monitor the status in both the Senate and House of Representatives, notwithstanding bills to change the Act were introduced which did not get the sufficient support to pass through.
Plague Outbreak in Port of Toamasina
It is confirmed that there is an outbreak of the pneumonic plague in the port city of Toamasina, Madagascar. Caution should be exercised by vessels calling in Madagascar. Current information is available on US Maritime Alert 2017-006A. Though the said Alert has expired on 31 October and no new alert has been issued by the US maritime administration at the time of reporting, the links provided therein care can still be assessed for the most current information required.