The trend of ballast water management system deficiencies among foreign-flag vessels is falling, reported the USCG
The US Coast Guard (USCG) has released its 2020 Port State Control Annual Report, which reveals a trend towards better compliance with the ballast water management regulations contained in 33 Code of Federal Regulations Part 151.
In 2020, 108 vessels arrived in US ports with deficiencies to their ballast water management systems (BWMS). An inoperable BWMS was the number one deficiency, followed by an incomplete ballast water management plan.
While an inoperable BWMS could be an excusable mechanical deficiency, an incomplete ballast water management plan is almost inexcusable. As West P&I Club’s global head of loss prevention Simon Hodgkinson said during Riviera Maritime Media’s Resolving key ballast water operational issues for owners and operators webinar, sometimes the documentation has the wrong name of the ship – which is a fail.
According to the USCG data, 17 vessels had deficiencies related to an incomplete ballast water management plan, and another 14 vessels had failed to report ballast water management practices to the National Ballast Water Clearinghouse.
In most cases where vessels arrived with an inoperable BWMS, the vessels were required to modify their cargo plans to facilitate safe and compliant ballast water discharges, leading to costly unforeseen port scheduling conflicts.
The USCG enforced the ballast water treatment system failures through issuing letters of warning, notices of violation, and civil penalties.
Regarding the overall statistics inclusive of ballast water issues, in 2020, 10,507 individual vessels from 79 different flag administrations made 72,122 port calls to the USA.
7,383 PSC examinations were conducted, but due to the global pandemic, these numbers are down from the 2019 total of 8,622.
The number of ships detained in 2020 for environmental protection, safety, and security related deficiencies decreased from 102 to 57 vessels.
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