FEBRUARY 19, 2015 — The U.S. Coast Guard is reminding shipowners and operators that the final rule amending the ballast water management reporting and record keeping requirements, published on November 24, 2015, goes into effect on February 22, 2016.
On the effective date of the rule, vessels with ballast tanks operating exclusively on voyages between ports, or places within a single Captain of the Port zone are required to submit an annual report of their ballast water management practices. The intent of this requirement is to get data on the magnitude and frequency of ballast water movement within Captain of the Port zones to determine whether continued reporting by this subset of vessels should be required after three years.
The National Invasive Species Act of 1996, as amended, requires the Coast Guard to evaluate national patterns of ballasting practices, and ballast water delivery and management. Implementation of this rule will assist in that evaluation.
This rule also simplifies and streamlines the ballast water report form.
Current record keeping requirements in 33 CFR § 151.2070 are amended to include only data fields essential for understanding and analyzing ballast water management practices of vessels operating in waters of the U.S. This rule now lists the information required for reporting purposes in 33 CFR § 151.2060. Instead of repeating the list of information for record keeping, 33 CFR § 151.2070(a) simply states that there is a requirement to maintain records of all the information required to be reported under 33 CFR § 151.2060.
Finally, the revised rule will allow most vessels to submit ballast water reports after arrival at a port or place of destination, instead of requiring submission of such reports prior to arrival. This revision will reduce the need to submit amended reports when actual port operations differ from the anticipated operations.
To access the new Ballast Water Reporting form, go to the National Ballast Information Clearinghouse website: http://invasions.si.edu/nbic/