The US Coastguard issued a final rule intended to reduce the importation of invasive species into the United States. The Ballast Water discharge rule entered into force on 21st June 2012.
The rule applies to both U.S. and foreign ships calling at U.S. ports and requires shipowners to install, operate and maintain a USCG approved ballast water management system to satisfy the treatment standards for living organisms in ballast water.
The Ballast Water performance standard according the rule is similar to the standard as indicated in the IMO Ballast Water Management Convention and can be found here.
The entry into force dates of the rule are similar to those as indicated in the IMO Ballast Water Management Convention and can be found here.
The main difference between the IMO Ballast Water Management Convention and the U.S. Coastguard Ballast Water discharge rule is that the latter rule entered into force already.
Ships subject to the rule also have the option of transferring ballast water at a facility that will treat and dispose off the water, using potable water for ballasting purposes or not discharging any ballast water into U.S. Waters at all.
In order to meet the Ballast Water treatment standards, a Ballast Water Treatment system subject to USCG approval will need to be choosen by the shipowner if sailing within U.S. Waters.
AMS acceptance by the USCG is a temporary designation given to a ballast water treatment system approved by a foreign administration. Vessel operators may us an AMS to manage their ballast water discharges in lieu of ballast water exchange, whilst the treatment system undergoes approval testing to coast guard standards.
An AMS may be used to meet the coast guard ballast water treatment requirements for up to five years after the ship’s ballast water discharge standard compliance date specified in the final rule. This five-year time frame allows for the completion of required land-based and shipboard testing.