The Environmental Protection Agency and US Coast Guard recently announced that the implementation timeline for the implementation of certain components of the Vessel Incidental Discharge Act (VIDA) will be significantly delayed.
In fact, shipowners and operators trading to the US should be aware that the 2013 Vessel General Permit (VGP) will remain in force until the USCG has published the required implementation, monitoring and enforcement regulations.
The EPA is not expected to publish their final rule relating to the discharge of pollutants from ships until June 2022.
The USCG will then have a period of 2 years to prescribe, administer and enforce regulations consistent with the standard set by the EPA in their final rule. This means that no changes are required for VGP compliance until likely June 2024.
What is more, operators should further take notice that EPA continues to send notices of violation to multiple companies for non-compliance with Annual Reporting requirements under the VGP and it is understood that severe financial penalties have been proposed too.
To remind, it was back in October 2020, when EPA’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking – Vessel Incidental Discharge National Standards of Performance was published in the Federal Register for public comment. The proposed rule would reduce the environmental impact of discharges, such as ballast water, that are incidental to the normal operation of commercial vessels.
When finalized, this new rule will streamline the current patchwork of federal, state, and local requirements that apply to the commercial vessel community and better protect our nation’s waters.
The VIDA applies to:
- Commercial vessels greater than 79 feet in length;
- Other non-recreational, non-Armed Forces vessels, such as research and emergency rescue vessels; and
- Ballast water only from small vessels (vessels less than 79 feet in length) and fishing vessels of all sizes.
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