Provisions for heavy grade oils (Regulation 13H) will not apply in U.S.

The U.S. Coast Guard has published Notice 69 Fed. Reg. 46172 stating that the U.S. Embassy in London has formally notified the IMO that the express approval of the U.S. Government will be necessary before the December 2003 revised Regulation 13G and new Regulation 13H of MARPOL 73/78 can enter into force for the United States.

Although the phase-out dates for single hull oil tankers provided for in revised Regulation 13G closely approximate the phase-out dates found in OPA 90, various differences remain. New Regulation 13H is so closely tied to revised Regulation 13G that it cannot be acceded to separately.

Briefly, this notice states that single hull US flag tankers and single hull foreign flag tankers calling at the US must strictly follow the OPA 90 phase-out scheme. Indirectly, the notice also states that since the US is not a party to the new Regulation 13H, it will not apply its provisions at any time for any oil tankers coming to the US. Therefore it would not matter what type of oil the tanker carries as a cargo or cargo residue because OPA 90 does not distinguish between different types of oil.

Tankers carrying heavy grade oils should follow the policy adopted by their flag Administration with respect to different provisions under the new Regulation 13H.

Contact: Dragos Rauta