Port reception facilities are a place that international shipping ports must provide to collect ships’ oily mixtures, Noxious Liquid Substances, and garbage.

When conducting a Certificate of Adequacy inspection, USCG facility inspectors will review not only the Certificate of Adequacy (COA) form but also the application(s) submitted by the port/terminal or shipyard to which the certificate was issued, and any waivers and alternatives issued by the Captain of the Port (COTP).

This package of documents; application(s), waiver and alternatives and COA form, is collectively known as a COA and together constitute a valid COA.

In other words, a COA is not complete and may be deemed invalid by the COTP if it does not also include the COA form, application(s) and any waivers and alternatives,

...explains Galia Kaplan, Facility Safety Branch.

The reason for this is that a COA form, as a standalone document, contains insufficient information from which to conduct a thorough inspection.

The COA form does not provide the name of the third party the applicant has identified as providing waste reception services, nor does it specify reception and transfer requirements.

This information is found in the application(s) for the COA, and, while the COA form provides some space to capture any approved waivers and alternatives, the space is minimal and the description may be incomplete or missing altogether.

Facility inspectors during compliance activities will verify with the COA holder that the information contained in the application(s) is still valid as changes can occur over the five year validity period of the COA.

COA holders are reminded that, as outlined in 33 CFR 158. 165, certain changes must be reported to the COTP within specific time frames.

For example, if the company listed on the application for the COA to remove oily waste has changed, the new company may have different capacities or ability to receive ballast waters or bilge waters containing oily mixtures from ships and may not meet the criteria for adequacy.

This could require the COTP to reassess the validity of the COA or any waivers and alternatives.

COA holders must be aware of this when evaluating new service providers and notify the COTP of any changes, and facility inspectors must be able to identify such changes.

Any changes that affect reception facilities’ details for that port or terminal must also be updated by USCG facility inspectors in MISLE, which in turn automatically updates CGMIX.

CGMIX is a public, web based list of the US ports/terminals that provide port reception facilities.

In addition to the required Coast Guard COA documentation, ports/terminals should be aware that reception facility service providers are required to hold various federal, state, or local permits or licenses.

If a service provider fails to maintain the required permit or license they may no longer be authorized to serve as a reception facility.

Because of this, COA holders may wish to verify the validity of permits or licenses held by their selected service providers.