Penalties for ballast non-reporting proposed in US

Following the poor take-up of the voluntary reporting of ballast water management procedures for vessels entering and discharging ballast in US waters, the US Coast Guard has issued a proposed rule on mandatory reporting for all ships.

Penalties of up to USD 25,000 are expected to be imposed on those vessels that do not submit the forms.

The rule making would also widen the applicability of the current voluntary scheme so that it applies to all vessels bound for ports or places within the United States. Essentially this will effect vessels which up to now would only submit a report form if they were travelling from outside the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). The proposed rule would mean that all ships that are bound for ports or places in the United States would have to submit the forms. An exemption for oil tankers engaged in coastwise trade or operating exclusively within one Captain of the Port Zone (COTP) is given.

At present the proposal requires vessels to report 24 hours prior to arrival in all US ports. Comments on the proposed rule are requested by 7 April 2003. Further information on the new rules can be found on the US Department of Transport web site

Contact: Tim Wilkins