United States Ballast Water Regulations
The purpose of the guidelines below is to implement the provisions of the Nonindigenous Aquatic Nuisance Prevention and Control Act of 1990 as amended by the National Invasive Species Act of 1996. The guidelines listed below apply to all vessels operating on U.S.waters. A summary of these guidelines follow:
For all vessels operating on waters of the United States:
The U.S. Coast Guard has issued voluntary guidelines (summarized below) for all vessels with ballast tanks operating on waters of the United States.
- Avoid ballast operations in or near marine sanctuaries, marine preserves, marine parks, or coral reefs.
- Avoid taking on ballast water:
- with harmful organisms and pathogens, such as toxic algal blooms.
- near sewage outfalls.
- near dredging operations.
- where tidal flushing is poor or when a tidal stream is known to be more turbid.
- in darkness when organisms may rise up in the water column.
- in shallow water or where propellers may stir up the sediment.
- Clean ballast tanks regularly.
- Discharge minimal amounts of ballast water in coastal and internal waters.
- Rinse anchors during retrieval to remove organisms and sediments at their place of origin.
- Remove fouling organisms from hull, piping, and tanks on a regular basis and dispose of any removed substances in accordance with local, state, and federal regulations.
- Maintain a vessel-specific ballast water management plan.
- Train vessel personnel in ballast water management and treatment procedures.
For all vessels entering waters of the United States after operating on waters beyond the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ):
Additional guidelines, mandatory reporting, and record-keeping exists for all vessels entering the waters of the United States after operating beyond the EEZ of the United States and Canada. The U.S. Coast Guard issued regulations that require ballast water management practices for all vessels entering the Great Lakes and the Hudson River north of the George Washington Bridge, after operating on waters beyond the Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ). These guidelines are voluntary for all vessels that carry ballast water into the waters of the United States after operating beyond the EEZ; but mandatory for vessels entering the Great Lakes and the Hudson River north of the George Washington Bridge:
- Exchange ballast water beyond the EEZ, from an area more than 200 nautical miles from any shore and in waters more than 2,000 m in depth.
- Retain the ballast water on board the vessel.<
- Use an alternative environmentally sound method of ballast water management that has been approved in advance by the Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard.
- Discharge ballast water to an approved reception facility; or exchange ballast water in other waters recommended by the Aquatic Nuisance Species (ANS) Task Force and approved by the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) Captain of the Port.
REPORTING AND RECORD-KEEPING REQUIREMENTS
The ship master, owner and operator, person in charge, or vessel agent must send a signed copy of the following information to the U.S. Coast Guard, and copies of this information must be maintained on board the vessel for at least 2 years.
- Ballast water management plan; has it been implemented?
- Copy of International Maritime Organization (IMO) guidelines.
- Vessel’s name, type, IMO number, flag, owner, gross tonnage, call sign, and agent.
- Last port, next port, arrival port, and date.
- Total volume of ballast water capacity.
- Total volume of ballast water on board.
- Total number of tanks in ballast.
- Total number of tanks on board that are used for ballast, will be discharged, have undergone exchange, or have undergone alternative management.
- Location, date, volume, and temperature of ballast when each tank was loaded.
- Location, date, volume, and salinity of ballast water to be discharged for each tank.
- Particulars of exchange if conducted, including volume exchanged, location, date, percent of tank volume exchanged, and sea height at time of exchange.
- Description of alternative management method, if used.
- Reasons if no ballast treatment method was used.
WHERE AND WHEN TO SEND THE REQUIRED INFORMATION
1. Before vessels bound for U.S. ports other than the Great Lakes or the Hudson River north of the George Washington Bridge depart from the first port of call in the waters of the United States, they must send the above information by one of the following methods:
US Coast Guard
c/o Smithsonian Environmental Research Center (SERC)
P.O. Box 28
Edgewater, MD 21037-0028
U.S. Coast Guard
c/o the NBIC
Fax no. (301) 261-4319
2. U.S. or Canadian flag vessels bound for the Great Lakes must:
Fax the form at least 24 hr before the vessel arrives in Montreal, Quebec to:
Fax No. (315) 764-3283
3. Any other flag vessel bound for the Great Lakes must send the information by one of the following methods:
4. Vessels bound for the Hudson River north of the George Washington Bridge must:
Fax the form before the vessel enters the waters of the United States (12 miles from the baseline) to:
COTP New York<
Fax No. (718) 354-4249
If any information changes, send an amended form before the vessel departs the waters of the United States.
BALLAST WATER REPORTING FORMS AND FURTHER INFORMATION
Reporting forms, instructions, regulations, and additional educational material are available electronically through the Coast Guard Ballast Water Management Web Page:
2100 Second Street, SW
Washington, DC 20593-0001
Further information on the management of ballast water is available at http://www.uscg.mil/hq/g-m/mso4/first.htm. For specific questions, please contact Lt. Mary Pat Mc Keown, Commandant, US Coast Guard, Operating and Environmental Standards at (202) 267-0500.
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Ballast Water Regulations and Guidelines