AUGUST 24, 2017 — The Coast Guard has issued a $5,000 fine to the owners of a foreign freight vessel for unauthorized ballast water discharge into the Willamette River in Portland, August 16.
During a routine port state control ballast water examination on the 590-ft ANSAC Moon Bear, Coast Guard marine inspectors, from Marine Safety Unit Portland, discovered that the vessel had discharged untreated ballast water into the Willamette River on three separate occasions during port calls in 2017.
As part of the port state control exam, log books were reviewed during administrative evaluations by the marine inspectors, which led to the ballast water discharge discovery.
As part of the enforcement process, prior to the ship’s departure the owner was required to either pay the $5,000 Notice of Violation fine or provide a Letter of Undertaking in the amount of $38,175 as adequate surety that the owner will pay the fine assessed in the civil penalty process, up to the maximum penalty amount.
Shortly after issuance of the notice of violation fine the company operating the vessel paid the fine with minimal disruption to the vessels schedule.
According to the Equasis data base, the vessel is a 2017-built, 33,426 dwt, Panama flagged bulker managed by MMS Pte Ltd of Singapore, a member of Japan’s Marubeni Group and is owned by Ansei Carriers SA, whose address is shown as care of Marubeni Corporation’s Tokyo headquarters.
“Marine Safety Unit Portland effectively identified and enforced the U.S. Ballast Water regulations that visiting vessels are required to meet,” said Capt. Thomas Griffitts, commanding officer MSU Portland. “These regulations are essential to protecting our marine environment as untreated ballast water may pose serious ecological, economic, and health problems due to the multitude of marine species carried in ships’ ballast water.”
The Coast Guard says the fine is a reminder that vessels have an obligation to ensure compliance with the mandatory rules and regulations that protect U.S. waters. The purpose of the U.S. ballast water management regulations is to implement the provisions of the Non-indigenous Aquatic Nuisance Prevention and Control Act of 1990. Violations of the U.S. ballast water regulations, it warns, can result in costly delays to vessels and civil enforcement action against the vessel’s master, owners, or operators.