USCG introduces ballast treatment technology programme

As a continuation of the efforts to reduce the introduction of non-indigenous species via ships’ ballast water, the United States Coast Guard (USCG) has recently announced the creation of a project aimed at facilitating the use of trial treatment systems on board ships. The voluntary programme rescinds a mandatory proposal put forward in 2001 by the USCG.

This programme, known as the Shipboard Technology Evaluation Program (STEP), is aimed at encouraging ship owners to participate in experimental projects and install test systems on board their ships. The initiative encourages owners by ensuring that the prototype systems installed are granted ‘conditional equivalencies’, meaning that the systems will not be subject to any future treatment requirements which may be established. Understanding that experimental equipment is essential to advance the progress of treatment technology, the USCG appreciates the advantage in encouraging the trial of systems which may not meet future standards but will pave the way for further development and to better treatment systems in the future.

STEP is available to all vessels, with a package available from the USCG website detailing the application procedure and the requirements for meeting a STEP exemption

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INTERTANKO will seek further clarification as to how the system will operate when the international Convention is adopted and try to ensure that there is no conflict between this programme and the requirements of the Convention.

Contact: Tim Wilkins