Lloyd’s Register has issued a statutory alert on ballast water treatment: With effect from June 21,  U.S. regulations on ballast water management and reporting will be superseded by new regulations which will require ships to treat ballast water and regularly remove hull fouling.

Ships calling at U.S. ports and intending to discharge ballast will be required to use an approved ballast water treatment system that meets the U.S. discharge standard (which is the same as the IMO D-2 standard) in accordance with the following timetable.

Vessel's ballast water capacity

Date constructed

Vessel's compliance date

New vessels

All

On or after 1 December, 2013

On delivery

Existing vessels

Less than 1,500 m3

Before 1 December, 2013

First scheduled drydocking after 1 January, 2016

1,500 - 5,000 m3

Before 1 December, 2013

First scheduled drydocking after 1 January, 2014

Greater than 5,000 m3

Before 1 December, 2013

First scheduled drydocking after 1 January, 2016

Ballast water treatment systems are to be approved by the United States Coast Guard (USCG). Alternatively, a system that has an approval certificate to the IMO standard issued by or on behalf of a flag administration may be acceptable if the IMO approval has been reviewed and accepted by the USCG. An IMO-approved system must have been installed before the date a ship is required to comply with the U.S. requirements (as detailed in the table above) and may be used for five years after this date. A further alternative is for ships to use potable water as ballast if: the water is supplied from the U.S. public water system; the ship obtains a certificate stating that the water meets federal standards; and the ballast tank is cleaned and sediment is removed.

The regulations will also require all ships to:  clean ballast tanks to remove sediments; rinse anchors and chains when an anchor is retrieved; remove fouling from the hull, piping and tanks on a regular basis; maintain a ballast water management plan that includes procedures for fouling and sediment removal as well as ballast water management – there is no requirement for the plan to be approved; maintain records of ballast and fouling management; and submit a report form 24 hours before arrival.

The USCG will review the practicability of implementing a higher ballast water discharge standard and publish the results no later than Jan. 1, 2016.

Ballast water treatment system manufacturers are responsible for obtaining approval of their system to meet the U.S. standard and, if it is an IMO-certified system, for ensuring it is acceptable to the USCG. According to LR, shipowners and operators should liaise directly with their system manufacturers regarding U.S. approvals and acceptability of ballast water treatment systems. Ballast water treatment system manufacturers are advised to consult the text of the final rule making regarding the USCG requirements for obtaining approval of their system or obtaining recognition of any IMO certification issued to their system by a flag administration.