COAST GUARD TO IMPLEMENT BALLAST RULES
U.S. Coast Guard will implement new rules and voluntary guidelines on Dec. 21 to better control invasive aquatics pests in ship ballast water.
“Aquatic nuisance species invasions through ballast water are now recognized as a serious problem threatening global biological diversity and human health,” the Coast Guard said.
In November 1990, Congress enacted the Nonindigenous Aquatic Nuisance Prevention and Control Act to prevent and control infestations of zebra mussels and other aquatic pests in coastal and inland waterways.
Congress enacted the National Invasive Species Act in 1996 to provide for water ballast management to keep aquatic pests out of the country’s waters.
In addition, the International Maritime Organization’s Marine Environment Protection Committee adopted the “Guidelines for the Control and Management of Ships’ Ballast Water to Minimize the Transfer of Harmful Aquatic Organisms and Pathogens.” These voluntary guidelines are recommended for all maritime nations.
The Coast Guard’s new rules will:
*Require vessel operators entering U.S. waters from beyond the so-called “Exclusive Economic Zone” (EEZ) to submit a ballast water management report;
*Provide voluntary ballast water management guidelines for vessel operators entering U.S. waters from beyond the EEZ; and
*Promote ballast water management for all vessel operators in U.S. waters.
For more information, contact Lt. Cmdr. Mary Pat McKeown, project manager for the Coast Guard’s Office of Operating and Environmental Standards, at 202-267-0500.