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US Developments - January 2014





NOTE TO THE READER: References to the Federal Register may be found at http://www.qpo.qov/fdsvs/browse/collection.action?collectionCode=FR. Please note new address and format for Federal Register retrieval due to upgrade in US government website.
References to legislation may be found at http://thomas.loc.gov/ by entering the bill number (HR 802, S 2841) in the "search bill text" block found at the center of the page.
EPA Sponsored Webinars on VGP Provisions Relating to Sampling, Self- Monitoring and Use of Environmentally Acceptable Lubricants (EALs)




EPA has just announced registration information for two upcoming webinars on two key aspects of the vessel general permit (VGP). Based on the number of questions we have already fielded in these subject areas, participation is strongly recommended by vessel owner representatives responsible for implementation of their respective VGP compliance programs.
On February 6, 2014 from 1400-1530 Eastern Standard Time, a webinar will be held focusing on sampling and self-monitoring requirements. Registration for this webinar can be made via https://www2.qotomeetinq.com/reqister/706994202
On February 14, 2014 from 1000-1130 Eastern Standard Time, a webinar will be held focusing on the use of environmentally acceptable lubricants. Registration for this webinar can be made via https://www2.qotomeetinq.com/reqister/879044146


Both seminars will consist of a presentation outlining the requirements which will be followed and a question and answer session where participants may submit questions electronically in real time.


Please also recall that EPA held two webinars in the Fall of 2013 and they may be viewed from the archives as noted below:
  November 7, 2013 - Overview of the 2013 VGP: https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/270861850
  November 14, 2013 - Introduction to the new eNOI system: https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/547927282
Status of USCG Extensions




CSA has learned that some extensions have been approved and issued by the US Coast Guard in late December2013/early January 2014. Of the several we have reviewed, they all extend the implementation date to 1 January 2016. As indicated in last month's summary we questioned whether this extension date reference to 1 January 2016 is a hard implementation date or extends the vessel implementation date to the first drydocking after 1 January 2016. It is now our understanding that the date specified in these extensions is a hard implementation date and does NOT extend compliance to the first drydocking after the date specified in the extension letter. In other words, a vessel receiving an extension to 1 January 2016 must have a compliant ballast water treatment system installed by that time or prior to that date a supplemental extension request must be timely filed with the US Coast Guard requesting an additional extension (likely requesting an extension to the first drydocking after that date). Our email to the US Coast Guard explaining our interpretation with which they regrettably did not agree is reproduced below:


[QUOTE] We request an interpretation on the date contained in USCG extension letters. The letters we have seen thus far have text granting an extension for the applying vessel (existing vessel with 1500-500 cubic meters ballast water capacity) to 1 January 2016.
Specifically the text in the extension letter reads:


" The Coast Guard approves your request for an extension to the compliance date of the ballast water management implementation schedule in Title 33, Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Part 151, Subparts C & D for the below listed vessel.
Name of Vessel: IMO/DOC Number: XXXXX
Vessel Owner/Operator: XXXXX
Extended Compliance Date: 01 January 2016"
One of our members asked the Environmental Standards Division about the nature of the extension date, specifically if it was a hard compliance date or whether it simply replaced the compliance date already in the referenced CFR section above. They received a response from the Environmental Standards Division which indicated that the date contained in the extension letter is to be interpreted as a hard compliance date.
Our read of the extension letter and specifically the bolded text above from the letter referencing the relevant CFR sections is that the extension date (1 January 2016) replaces the implementation date for the subject vessel found in the implementation schedule/table found at 33 CFR 151.2035(b). In other words the vessel's original implementation date was "the first drydocking after 1 January 2014" and thus the extension letter is meant to replace that date with a new implementation date which is the "first drydocking after 1 January 2016".
As you know, the "first drydocking" text included in the rule recognized the need to spread BW treatment installations across a reasonable period of time and avoid the situation where literally hundreds if not thousands of vessels would be trying to purchase and install a BW treatment system by one fixed date. If the USCG interpretation stands, this ability to spread installations across a reasonable period of time is no longer a reality. In addition, if the extension date is interpreted to be a hard (fixed) date, it can be expected to generate another round of extension requests that ask for another extension to the next drydocking date since it is expected that most if not all BW treatment system installations would have to be done during a drydocking period.
We would propose that the USCG adopt our interpretation that any extension granted should be interpreted to mean the first drydocking date after the date included in the extension letter. In adopting this approach, the need to spread installations across a reasonable period of time would still be recognized and preclude the need for USCG to receive and process yet another round of (supplemental) extension requests to align with the next drydocking period. The administrative burden on the USCG would likely be even greater than what it is now since it is expected that at the time supplemental extension requests are made by those vessels subject to the first implementation phase (1500 - 5000 cubic meters ballast water capacity), a number of vessels in the second implementation phase (less than 1500 cubic meters or over 5000 cubic meters ballast water capacity) will also likely be applying for extension requests. This administrative nightmare could be avoided by our proposed interpretation that the extension date should be interpreted to mean the first drydocking date after the date included in the extension letter. [END QUOTE]



CSA has been invited to testify at a hearing on March 4, 2014 addressing impacts of regulations on the maritime industry. This is the second of two hearings. The first hearing addressed issues associated with safety and maritime security. This second hearing will address issues associated with environmental regulations. We would expect to include examples in our testimony where regulations are or could have the potential to disrupt marine operations in US waters and clearly will include comments on the USCG/EPA vessel discharge program (USCG regulations and EPA VGP) as well as air emissions issues (ECA 0.1% sulfur limits in 2015 and the impending 2020 global cap of 0.5% sulfur in non-ECA areas). Please let us know if there are any other issues which you would like us to consider for inclusion into our testimony keeping in mind that we have only 5 minutes in which to provide oral comments.
Safety and Environmental Management System Requirements for Vessels on the US Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) (Docket Number USCG-2012-0779, Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking; Federal Register, September 10, 2013, pages 55230-55234).
CSA has submitted comments to the docket on the advanced notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM) addressing safety and environmental management system (SEMS) requirements for vessels on the US Outer Continental Shelf (OCS). In this ANPRM, the USCG is soliciting comments on whether the American Petroleum Institute Recommended Practice 75 (API RP 75) should be applied to vessels engaged in operations on the US OCS. Our reasons for commenting on this ANPRM rests with the fact that we are concerned that any SEMS requirements that might be justified for the conventional support and service vessels engaged in OCS activities could also be applied to vessels engaged in shuttle tanker/FPSO operations, a concept which we strongly oppose. CSA's comments advocated that while we are supportive of the concept that vessels engaged in OCS activities should implement safety and environmental management systems we do not support the concept as it might be applied to shuttle tanker operations based on API RP 75. We further noted that shuttle tankers are all subject to the implementation requirements of the ISM Code and a number of other voluntary certification systems in addition to SIRE inspections by charterers. We further noted that application of API RP 75 is inappropriate for application to shuttle tanker operations in addition to the above referenced programs as it is focused on conventional exploration and production operations rather than on conventional vessel operations as is the case with the programs referenced above and would in fact be duplicative of what is already required for vessels engaged in shuttle tanker operations.
Finally, we provided detail relative to current requirements relative to requirements that operators of vessels engaged in shuttle tanker operations are required to have an ISM Safety Management System in place (including a valid Document of Compliance and Safety Management Certificate) which is audited annually and likely have other certifications such as ISO 9001, ISO 14001, OHSAS 18001 and MLC 2006.
In order to support our position above, we polled our members which conduct shuttle operations on the US OCS and in other locations worldwide. Specifically we inquired as to what, if any, unique additions had been included in their Safety Management Systems for those vessels in their fleets which conduct shuttle tanker operations versus other vessel in their fleet which do not. The response was overwhelming in that SMSs and EMSs for vessels engaged in shuttle tanker operations include specific provisions and programs relating solely to those operations as well as their more conventional cargo operations occurring at land based facilities. In other words, proper implementation of the ISM Code requires vessel SMSs and EMSs to address aN types of operations conducted by the vessel.
In summary the basic principles of a safety and environmental management system embedded in the API RP 75 document are already in place on board vessels which


comply with the ISM Code and other industry standards including ISO and others noted above. Thus a separate SEMS for shuttle tankers engaged on OCS operations should not be required.