Mainbrace | March 2018 (No.1)
Jeanne M. Grasso and Sean T. Pribyl
It has been about 15 months since the U.S. Coast Guard (“USCG”) type-approved the first three ballast water management systems (“BWMSs”) in December 2016; three more BWMSs have been type approved since. Yet, ballast water management remains one of the most challenging and frustrating regulatory issues of the past decade because of inconsistencies in the international and domestic regimes. This is largely because the United States is not party to the International Maritime Organization’s Convention on the Control and Management of Ships’ Ballast Water and Sediments (the “Convention”). Rather, the United States regulates ballast water unilaterally under the National Invasive Species Act, which differs in certain ways from the Convention, especially when it comes to approving equipment to meet the standards set forth in the Convention and the USCG’s implementing regulations. As such, ballast water compliance challenges remain far from resolved. In some cases, for example, especially with respect to USCG compliance date extensions, the policies continue to evolve on an ad hoc basis, often causing confusion. Continue reading “Ballast Water Management: The Conundrum Continues”
Mainbrace | March 2017 (No. 2)
Jeanne M. Grasso
As briefly described in my recent January Mainbrace article, ballast water management has been one of the most challenging and oftentimes frustrating regulatory issues of the past decade. The principal reason is that the international regime under the International Maritime Organization’s (“IMO”) Convention on the Control and Management of Ships’ Ballast Water and Sediments (“Convention”), and the U.S. regime under the National Invasive Species Act (“NISA”), are not quite in sync when it comes to approving equipment to meet the standards set forth in the Convention and the U.S. Coast Guard’s (“USCG”) NISA regulations.
Continue reading “Ballast Water Management: Latest Developments and More Things You Should Know”
Mainbrace | March 2017 (No. 2)
Jeremy A. Herschaft
When a marine pollution incident occurs in the United States, a vessel owner may find itself communicating with a myriad of federal and state response agencies, depending upon the size of the spill. If such an event occurs in Texas state waters, however, then one of the most important authorities that you will likely deal with is the Texas General Land Office (“TGLO”).
This article provides a brief overview of the TGLO to reinforce why this particular agency will be a critical component to any owner’s “Texas” marine pollution spill response plan. Keep in mind that obligations under Texas state law are in addition to obligations to abide by federal marine casualty and pollution response statutes and regulations.
Continue reading “Your Vessel Just Discharged Oil in the Lone Star State…Have You Notified the Texas General Land Office?”
Jonathan K. Waldron, Jeanne M. Grasso, and Sean T. Pribyl
Action Item: In December 2016, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia found that the U.S. Coast Guard’s National Pollution Funds Center (“NPFC”) wrongfully denied a reimbursement claim by the Water Quality Insurance Syndicate (“WQIS”) for the costs of cleaning up an oil spill in Cook Inlet, Alaska in January 2009. This opinion provided a powerful finding that a federal agency acted arbitrarily and capriciously in taking final agency action under the Administrative Procedure Act (“APA”). The opinion puts federal agencies on notice that agency determinations must be supported by the factual record. Continue reading “U.S. District Court Finds U.S. Coast Guard’s National Pollution Funds Center Acted Arbitrarily and Capriciously When Denying Oil Spill Claim”
Mainbrace | January 2017 (No. 1)
Jeanne M. Grasso
On December 2, 2016, the U.S. Coast Guard (“USCG”) reached a watershed moment in the implementation of its ballast water management regulations by announcing the first USCG typeapproved ballast water management system (“BWMS”), a filtration/ultraviolet system manufactured by Optimarin AS, based in Norway. This USCG typeapproval has been more than four years in the making, since the USCG’s Final Rule for Standards for Living Organisms in Ships’ Ballast Water Discharged in U.S. Waters went into effect on June 21, 2012 (“Final Rule”). On December 23, 2016, the USCG type approved two more systems—one ultraviolet system and one electro-chlorination system, manufactured by Alfa Laval Tumba AB in Sweden and OceanSaver AS in Norway, respectively.
Continue reading “Ballast Water Challenges Continue: Several New Things You Should Know”
Jonathan K. Waldron, Jeanne M. Grasso, and Stefanos N. Roulakis
Action Item: Although the ratification of the IMO’s Ballast Water Convention will not alter U.S. compliance obligations, industry stakeholders must now consider their obligations under international law to ensure compliance with both regimes. Until the U.S. Coast Guard type-approves a ballast water management system (“BWMS”), owners and operators of both U.S. and foreign-flag vessels trading in U.S. waters should take steps to evaluate the compliance obligations under both regimes before making capital investments in BWMSs that may not comply with U.S. law. Continue reading “U.S. Ballast Water Compliance Challenges and Considerations Now That Imo’s Ballast Water Convention Has Been Ratified”
Mainbrace | June 2016 (No. 3)
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