Information re applicable rules on environmental protection in US
BIMCO has just published an updated pamphlet relating to the 2013 Vessel General Permit (VGP) and the associated duties to be performed when calling at US ports or entering US waters from 19 December 2013 and onwards.
The BIMCO pamphlet, directed at the crew on board vessels, complements information posted regularly on the BIMCO website relating to applicable rules on environmental protection in the US and the importance of strictly abiding by the requirements concerning vessels’ effluents and record book keeping.
Non-compliance with the rules continues to be a problem for a considerable number of vessels. The requirements of the VGP are determined by the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES), which is a system under the US environmental protection rules (Clean Water Act), to minimise pollution within US territorial waters. These requirements are additional to international environmental rules such as MARPOL.
The pamphlet contains 6 parts dealing with (1) what is covered by the VGP, (2) effluent limits and related requirements, (3) corrective action, (4) inspections, monitoring reporting and record-keeping, (5) vessel class-specific requirements, and (6) specific requirements for individual states or Indian country land. Parts 1 to 4 apply to all vessels, while Parts 5 and 6 respectively apply to particular vessel types and individual States or Tribal Lands.
It is important to note that any non-compliance with the VGP rules constitutes a violation of the US environmental rules and may lead to prosecution. Shipping companies and vessels should therefore be particularly aware of the requirements in the VGP.
The BIMCO pamphlets are available for download free of charge for members from BIMCO website.