U.S. Coast Guard issues NVIC on MARPOL Annex II implementation

The U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) has issued guidance on the implementation of revisions to MARPOL Annex II and the International Code for the Construction and Equipment of Ships Carrying Dangerous Chemicals in Bulk (IBC Code). 

As has been reported in INTERTANKO’s Weekly NEWS and in the recent INTERTANKO publication The Revisions to MARPOL Annex II – A Practical Guide (click here to view), although the U.S. will become party to these new revisions, the U.S. regulations will not be completed in time for their entry into force date of 1 January 2007. NVIC 03-06 has been developed as a guidance document that provides the industry with a method of complying with the regulations that take effect 1 January 2007.

In November 2005, the USCG Chemical Transportation Advisory Committee (CTAC) approved the formation of the MARPOL Annex II Work Group whose primary objective has been to develop a framework for the Navigation and Vessel Inspection Circular (NVIC) that will be used to implement MARPOL Annex II.  This Work Group was chaired by INTERTANKO’s Chemicals Manager. The work of the MARPOL Annex II Work Group culminated in "draft guidance".  Much of this document is reflected in NVIC 03-06. 

The most contentious issue discussed within the Work Group was the interpretation of the exemption and the interpretation of regulation 4.1.3. Paragraph 10 of NVIC 03-06 reads as follows:

Carriage of Vegetable Oils in U.S.

a. The IMO Secretariat issued an advisory Circular letter in July 2006 summarizing the principal points of the revised Annex II and the amended IBC Code, including provisions for NLS tankers operating under Regulation 4.1.3. Vessels authorized to carry vegetable oils in U.S. waters under Regulation 4.1.3 (footnote (k) of column (e) in Chapter 17 of the revised IBC Code) include ship type 3 chemical tankers with double bottom and double sides meeting the specifications in regulation 4.1.3. The COF shall indicate the vessel is entitled to operate under the provisions of regulation 4.1.3.

b. Regulation 4.1.3 also allows for vegetable oils to be carried on those product tankers that meet all the requirements for ship type 3 as identified in the IBC Code except for cargo tank location. The entire cargo tank length shall be protected by ballast tanks or spaces other than tanks that carry oil. Cargo tanks shall be located at the minimum distances described in Regulation 4.1.3.2. Moreover, the relevant certificate shall indicate the product tanker is entitled to operate under the exemption granted under the provisions of Regulation 4.1.3.

The use of the word NLS tanker, as INTERTANKO interprets it, is not a tanker with an NLS certificate. The use of the term "NLS tanker" was an editorial change made when the Revisions and subsequent IBC Code were being drafted.  Although it is a bit different from what was originally discussed during the CTAC MARPOL Annex II Work Group, it still leaves a little room for subjective interpretation

To view the NVIC click here.

The NVIC will be available on the Internet soon at: http://www.uscg.mil/hq/g-m/nvic/index00.htm

Contact: Margaret Doyle