Ballast Water Management: The Conundrum Continues

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”

Ballast Water Management: Latest Developments and More Things You Should Know

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”

Your Vessel Just Discharged Oil in the Lone Star State…Have You Notified the Texas General Land Office?

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?”

U.S. District Court Finds U.S. Coast Guard’s National Pollution Funds Center Acted Arbitrarily and Capriciously When Denying Oil Spill Claim

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”

Ballast Water Challenges Continue: Several New Things You Should Know

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”

U.S. Ballast Water Compliance Challenges and Considerations Now That Imo’s Ballast Water Convention Has Been Ratified

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”

Risk-Management Tools for Maritime Companies

Mainbrace | June 2016 (No. 3)

Compliance Review Program

Blank Rome Maritime has developed a flexible, fixed-fee Compliance Review Program to help maritime companies mitigate the escalating risks in the maritime regulatory environment. The program provides concrete, practical guidance tailored to your operations to strengthen your regulatory compliance systems and minimize the risk of your company becoming an enforcement statistic. To learn how the Compliance Review Program can help your company, please visit www.blankrome.com/  compliancereviewprogram.

Maritime Cybersecurity Review Program

Blank Rome provides a comprehensive solution for protecting your company’s property and reputation from the unprecedented cyber- security challenges present in today’s global digital economy. Our multidisciplinary team of leading cybersecurity and data privacy professionals advises clients on the potential consequences of cyber- security threats and how to implement comprehensive measures for mitigating cyber risks, prepare customized strategy and action plans, and provide ongoing support and maintenance to promote cybersecurity awareness. Blank Rome’s maritime cybersecurity team has the capability to address cybersecurity issues associated with both land-based systems and systems onboard ships, including the implementation of the BIMCO Guidelines on Cyber Security Onboard Ships. To learn how the Maritime Cybersecurity Review Program can help your company, please visit www.blankrome.com/ cybersecurity or contact Kate B. Belmont (KBelmont@BlankRome.com, 212.885.5075).

Trade Sanctions and Export Compliance Review Program

Blank Rome’s Trade Sanctions and Export Compliance Review Program ensures that companies in the maritime, transportation, offshore, and commodities fields do not fall afoul of U.S. trade law requirements. U.S. requirements for trading with Iran, Cuba, Russia, Syria, and other hotspots change rapidly, and U.S. limits on banking and financial services, and restrictions on exports of U.S. goods, software, and technology, impact our shipping and energy clients daily. Our team will review and update our clients’ internal policies and procedures for complying with these rules on a fixed-fee basis. When needed, our trade team brings extensive experience in compliance audits and planning, investigations and enforcement matters, and government relations, tailored to provide practical and businesslike solutions for shipping, trading, and energy clients worldwide. To learn how the Trade Sanctions and Export Compliance Review Program can help your company, please visit www.blankrome-maritime.com or contact Matthew J. Thomas (MThomas@BlankRome.com, 202.772.5971).