Recognizing the impact of public health policies and the importance of a the continued flow of maritime commerce, the Coast Guard said vessels with BWTS compliance dates before April 1, 2021 will have an extra 12 months to comply.
In some instances, disruptions to supply chains and workforce availability due to the coronavirus pandemic have made it difficult for owners and operators to bring their vessels into compliance with the Coast Guard Ballast Water Management Regulations. Examples of these disruptions include COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns or “do not travel” orders resulting in closed country borders, closed drydocks in many parts of the world, equipment/parts being downed warehouses and unable to be shipped, minimal international flights impacting technicians’ travel to locations where ships are drydocked, limited port or drydock availability, and social distancing requirements that have impacted the work force worldwide.
Any vessel that conducts a credit drydock (inspection of the outside of the ships bottom) before April 1, 2021 will still need to have a BWTS installes and commissioned when possible, the Coast Guard said.
In instances where arrangements were made to convert an Alternate Management System (AMS) to a Coast Guard type approved system, but the conversion was not completed due to the pandemic, an extension may be requested to continue operating until the conversion can be accomplished.
Responsible parties needing even more time due to COVID-19 can request an extension no longer than the minimum time needed for the vessel to comply with the requirements, as determined by the Coast Guard.