On December 4, 2018, US President Trump signed the USCG Authorization Act, S. 140, a new bill which includes measures for USCG operations while incorporates the Vessel Incidental Discharge Act. Namely, with this act, USCG is required to draft a policy letter for testing BWMS within 180 days, followed by a 90 day comment period. Totally, the USCG has 360 days after the date of enactment of the Act to come up with a final policy. What is more, this bill has wide implications on US EPA VGP, due in March 2019.
President Trump signed on December 4 the law S. 140, the “Frank LoBiondo Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2018”. This law authorizes appropriations for the USCG and for the Federal Maritime Commission through Fiscal Year 2019, reauthorizes the Department of Commerce’s hydrographic services program administered by NOAA through Fiscal Year 2023, and establishes uniform standards for the management of vessel discharge.
The US Senate has passed the Coast Guard Reauthorization bill 94-6, that provides several regulatory updates for the US fishing sector. Namely, the bill permanently exempts fishing vessels from EPA water discharge requirements. The bill also increased the size of new vessels that must be maintained to class standards.
President Donald Trump signed a bill in late October, concerning The Great Lakes shipping community, of approximately $1 billion for constructing a second lock, aiming to allow transports of large “Laker” vessels at the Soo Locks in the north of Michigan at the eastern terminus of Lake Superior.
The US government is trying to delay the implementation date of the upcoming sulphur cap regulation, which mandates that ships should run on environmentally cleaner fuels. President Trump is worried that this regulation will increase the costs of fuels for consumers and businesses.
At SAFETY4SEA Conference, Mr. George A. Gaitas, Managing Partner, Gaitas, Kennedy & Chalos, P.C discussed about what traders in the US may encounter with respect to the ODME bypass criminal prosecutions. Mr. Gaitas predicted it is likely to be a significant change in the enforcement of MARPOL Annex I in US.
The ‘Human Trafficking and IUU Fishing Act’ would add the Secretary of Commerce to the President’s existing Interagency Task Force to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, in response to the growing human trafficking, forced labor, and human rights abuses in global seafood supply chain.
American yacht owners are now able to carry an American flag and register their yachts – over 300 GT – in the US. The new legislation aims to modernize outdated laws and bring the US in line with current times. Until now, Yachts over the 300-GT limit were only able to fly the US flag if they were registered as a commercial vessel.
US House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster released a legislative discussion draft presenting his plan for US infrastructure, including water transportation programs. The draft includes provision for billions of federal investment and trillions for projects of national significance.
US Congressman Peter DeFazio introduced the “Stop Sexual Assault and Harassment in Transportation Act,” that requires passenger airlines, railroads, transit agencies, operators of passenger vessels, and certain bus companies, to prescribe formal policies on sexual harassment of employees and passengers in transportation.
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