The IMO’s Ballast Water Management Convention requires the installation of a ballast water management system (“BWMS”) meeting the IMO’s standards by the date of a vessel’s first renewal of its IOPP certificate after September 8, 2017.  On the other hand, for most vessels the United States Coast Guard (“USCG”) regulations require the installation of a BWMS meeting the USCG’s stricter testing standards at the first scheduled dry docking after 1 January 2016.  This uncoordinated enforcement of these two BWMS regimes has caused significant planning obstacles for the industry.

On 2 December 2016, the USCG finally announced its type-approval of Optimarin’s ballast water management system (“BWMS”).  The USCG’s press release can be found here.  Thus, vessel owners and operators now have a BWMS option pursuant to which they can achieve compliance with both the USCG and IMO’s BWMS standards.  However, in its press release, the USCG clarified that it will still offer a 5-year extension to vessel which opt to install foreign, type-approved BWMS (“AMS”).  The USCG will continue to evaluate the BWMS systems of other manufacturers for type-approval.

Vessel owners and operators calling at Californian ports should remember that the state of California has its own BWMS standards, which will be even stricter than those of the USCG.  California’s “Interim Performance Standards” for BWMS come into effect on 1 January 2020.  Those standards are then set to become even more stringent on 1 January 2030, when California’s “Final Performance Standards” are set to come into effect.  No BWMS which meet California’s Interim

Performance Standards currently exist.

Keesal, Young & Logan Maritime Law Group

For more information regarding this alert, please contact David Tong in the firm’s Long Beach office.

This information has been prepared by Keesal, Young & Logan for informational purposes only and is not legal advice. Transmission of the information is not intended to create, and receipt does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship between you and Keesal, Young & Logan. You should not act upon this information without seeking professional counsel.