USCG: Report BWTS Breakdowns Early to Avoid Penalties

Vice Adm. John P. Nadeau (file image)

Published Apr 8, 2019 6:11 PM by U.S. Coast Guard News

During the CMA 2019 conference, Rear Adm. John Nadeau, the U.S. Coast Guard assistant commandant for prevention policy, spoke with leaders from the International Association of Independent Oil Tankers (INTERTANKO) about ballast water management compliance. 

Coast Guard marine inspectors performed 8,140 ballast water management compliance exams in 2018. Of those, at least 119 resulted in deficiencies, which suggests a significant decrease in deficiencies compared to 2017. Compliance is improving, but Nadeau explained that some of this reduction is likely attributable to a change to the form used by the Coast Guard to capture the data.

"Last year there were six type approved systems,” Nadeau said. “This year there are 16 and we have 10 more under review or seeking additional approval. These systems represent three different types of technologies so there is a larger menu of options for you to choose from.”

Nadeau said the majority of BWM deficiencies were for inoperable systems. He emphasized that it is the owners/operators’ responsibility to understand how to operate the equipment and that the systems are not “plug and play.”

“We try to be reasonable and recognize [the BWM system] may not work despite all good faith efforts of the crew,” Nadeau said. “In that case, your best bet is to notify the Captain of the Port and explain the situation. Notify us early so we can work with you while you’re still offshore. Don’t wait until you’re at the pier.”

Port state control outcomes

Nadeau then gave a sneak peek at the upcoming Port State Control annual report, due out in the coming days. Approximately 10,000 unique vessels representing 84 different flag states made over 84,000 U.S. port calls in 2018. Coast Guard marine inspectors conducted over 9,000 PSC exams and 8,800 ISPS exams. 

Nadeau addressed questions and comments from attendees about detention appeals. Any party can dispute the validity of a detention, and in 2018, 36 appeals were submitted. In total, the Coast Guard granted 12 appeals, denied 11, and 13 are still under review.

“There are no repercussions for filing an appeal,” Nadeau said. “Don’t hesitate if you think we got it wrong. Every appeal is reviewed at three levels – the Sector, the District, and Headquarters – to make sure we’re being consistent.”

Nadeau also discussed the Seafarers’ Access to Maritime Facilities Final Rule, which was published in the Federal Register on April 1, bringing to a successful conclusion a rulemaking project that began in 2014.

“I’m very pleased we were able to get this done and make sure seafarers are not denied access to fundamental shore side services during port calls,” Nadeau said. “This regulation is about the people who work in this industry, which is something I think we can and should all get behind.”

This article appears courtesy of U.S. Coast Guard Maritime Commons, and it is reproduced here in abbreviated form. The original may be found here

The opinions expressed herein are the author's and not necessarily those of The Maritime Executive.