Technical Circular No. 48 | 2017

Subject: Revised USCG policy on US Ballast Water Discharge Standards.

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  • Liberia Maritime Authority has issued Marine advisory 02-2017 providing information on revised USCG policy on US ballast water discharge standards.
  • Salient point of the advisory are as follows:
  1. USCG has recently revised its guidance following its type approval of ballast water management systems (BWMS) which includes changes in USCG’s extension program and vessel compliance verification.
  1. USCG type approved BWMS are available now; still USCG accepts the request for extension as allowed by 33 CFR 151.2036 provided that the request for extensions includes an explicit statement supported by documentary evidence that installation of a type approved system is not possible for purposes of compliance with the regulatory implementation schedule.
  2. Under USCG regulations, ships without a valid exemption or with an expired exemption are required to manage ballast water in one of five ways:
  • Use a U.S. type-approved BWMS to meet the discharge standard;
  • Temporarily use a foreign type-approved BWMS that has been accepted by the U.S. Coast Guard as an Alternate Management System (AMS);
  • Use and discharge ballast water obtained exclusively from a U.S. Public Water System (PWS);
  • Discharge ballast water to a reception facility;
  • Do not discharge ballast water inside 12 nautical miles.

4. Owners, Operators and Masters operating vessels with valid extension letters are advised to ensure that during the extension period, the vessel is operated in accordance with Coast Guard regulations:

  • Perform complete ballast water exchange in an area beyond 200 nautical miles from any shore prior to discharging ballast water into the waters of the U.S., unless the provisions of extraordinary circumstances as per 33 CFR 151.2040 apply, or otherwise if so required by a U.S. state;
  • Adhere to the ballast water management plan, including the method of BW exchange;
  • Adhere to recordkeeping and reporting provisions; and
  • Comply with all other applicable ballast water requirements.

Failure to implement any of the above methods may result in civil penalty proceedings against the operator.

  • Ship owners/ operators and masters are advised to be guided by above.


  1. Liberia Marine Advisory 02-2017 reg. Revised USCG policy on US Ballast Water Discharge Standards.


This Technical Circular and the material contained in it is provided only for the purpose of supplying current information to the reader and not as an advice to be relied upon by any person.
While we have taken utmost care to be as factual as possible, readers/ users are advised to verify the exact text and content of the Regulation from the original source/ issuing Authority.


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