As explained, with few exceptions, U.S. and foreign flag vessels equipped with ballast tanks and which are bound for ports or places of the U.S. must submit a Ballast Water Management Report to the NBIC, in most cases up to six hours after arrival. Vessel owners/operators using an installed ballast water management system should make an entry in the “Onboard BW Management System” block on the form indicating the management system currently in use.


In some cases, vessels are reporting enrollment in the Shipboard Technology Evaluation Program (STEP) when completing the “Onboard BW Management System” block. Currently, there are only 12 vessels enrolled in the STEP program. Vessels enrolled in STEP do so through the Coast Guard Office of Operating and Environmental Standards. Each STEP enrolled vessel has an installed BWMS that is undergoing type approval testing. Those 12 vessels are the only vessels authorized to select the STEP option on the Ballast Water Management Report form.

USCG clarifies that the following appropriate entries for the “Onboard BW Management System” block of the NBIC Ballast Water Management Report:

  • For USCG Type Approved systems, the US Coast Guard Approval Number, found on the certificate plate installed on the BWMS, which looks like: 162.060/#/#.
  • For USCG accepted Alternative Management Systems, the AMS ID, found in the AMS acceptance letter and looks like: AMS-20##-XXX…XXX-001.
  • Enter “NONE” if no USCG Type Approved BWMS or accepted AMS is installed (e.g., compliance date has not passed or the vessel qualifies for a regulatory or route exemption).