Headlines: EPA – control of air emissions from large marine diesel engines; USCG – standards for living organisms in ballast water discharges; Somalia – pirates fire on USN helicopter; IMO – LRIT information update; IMO – accession to Wreck Removal Convention by Nigeria; New Zealand – Safe Ship Management; Chicago Sanitary & Ship Canal – recreational boater information; and Honolulu – terrorism response drill.
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EPA – control of air emissions from large marine diesel engines
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing air emission standards for new marine diesel engines with per cylinder displacement at or above 30 liters (called Category 3 marine diesel engines) installed on US vessels. The proposed standards are equivalent to the nitrogen oxides (NOx) limits recently adopted in the amendments to MARPOL Annex VI. The near-term standards for newly-built engines would apply beginning in 2011. Long-term standards would begin in 2016 and are based on the application of high-efficiency aftertreatment technology. The EPA is also proposing a change to its diesel fuel program that would forbid production and sale of marine fuel oil above 1,000 ppm sulfur for use in waters within the proposed US emissions control area (ECA) and internal US waters and allow for production and sale of 1,000 ppm sulfur fuel oil for use in Category 3 marine vessels. The EPA further notes that if the proposed US ECA is not timely adopted by the IMO, it intends to take supplemental action to control emissions from vessels affecting US air quality. Comments on the proposal should be submitted by September 28. 74 Fed. Reg. 44441 (August 28, 2009). Note: While this final comment threatening unilateral action may win favor with certain environmental advocacy groups, it certainly will not endear the US Government to other IMO member states. In my opinion, the statement was not a necessary part of this rulemaking document and pointlessly inflames the issue.
USCG – standards for living organisms in ballast water discharges
The US Coast Guard proposes to amend its regulations on ballast water management by establishing standards for the allowable concentration of living organisms in ships’ ballast water discharged in US waters. It also proposes to amend its regulations for approving engineering equipment by establishing an approval process for ballast water management systems. These proposed regulations are intended to aid in controlling the introduction and spread of nonindigenous species from ships discharging ballast water in US waters. The ballast water discharge standards would be used to approve ballast water management systems that are at least as effective as ballast water exchange in preventing or reducing the introduction of nonindigenous species via discharged ballast water. The Coast Guard is proposing a two-phase rulemaking. The first phase would adopt the draft IMO standard for ballast water discharges. Phase two, to come into effect in 2016, would adopt a more stringent standard, modeled on standards that have been developed by several of the US states. A practicability review would be conducted to determine if the implementation date for phase two could be advanced or retarded, based on technological developments. 74 Fed. Reg. 44631 (August 28, 2009). The Coast Guard also issued a notice stating that it is seeking comments on the Draft Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (DPEIS) on these standards. 74 Fed. Reg. 44673 (August 28, 2009). Comments on both the proposed rulemaking and the DPEIS should be submitted by November 27. Note: Some environmentalists will complain that this proposal is a cop-out, but it is actually a practical solution to a problem that has been stopped at top-dead-center for some years now. By endorsing the IMO standard, which has yet to come into effect, it will encourage other nations to ratify the international convention. It also keeps pressure on the IMO and industry to further improve ballast water management technology.
Somalia – pirates fire on USN helicopter
The Department of Defense (DOD) issued a news release stating that pirates aboard a hijacked ship anchored off the coast of Somalia fired at a US Navy helicopter on a surveillance flight. There were no injuries or damage. The helicopter did not return fire. The ship was hijacked on April 6 and has been used as a mothership from which to conduct attacks on merchant vessels, including the Maersk Alabama. A related press release provides additional details. (8/27/09).
IMO – LRIT information update
The IMO issued an update regarding information communicated to it from member states regarding implementation of the Long-Range Identification and Tracking (LRIT) Data Centre requirements. MSC.1/Circ.1309/update (8/14/09).
IMO – accession to Wreck Removal Convention by Nigeria
The IMO issued a circular reporting the accession by Nigeria to the Nairobi International Convention on the Removal of Wrecks, 2007. Nigeria thus becomes the first nation to become a Contracting State. The Convention will enter into force twelve months after at least ten States have accepted or acceded to its provisions. NWRC.1/Circ.1 (7/23/09).
New Zealand – Safe Ship Management
Maritime New Zealand issued a booklet explaining Safe Ship Management. This program is basically their domestic version of the ISM Code. The booklet has advantage of being significantly less intimidating that the thick and footnoted Code and associated manuals. (8/27/09).
Chicago Sanitary & Ship Canal – recreational boater information
The US Coast Guard issued a notice providing guidance to recreational boaters regarding passage through waters of the Chicago Sanitary & Ship Canal adjacent to the dispersal barrier at Romeoville, Illinois. (8/27/09).
Honolulu – terrorism response drill
The US Coast Guard issued a news release stating that it and other stakeholders conducted a terrorism response drill in Honolulu. The scenario involved the simulated hijacking of a ship and its sinking in Honolulu Harbor, blocking the shipping channel. (8/26/09).
If you have questions regarding the above items, please contact the editor:
Dennis L. Bryant
Bryant’s Maritime Consulting
4845 SW 91st Way
Gainesville, FL 32608-8135
© Dennis L. Bryant – August 2009