With the fast approaching expiry date of the 2013 US Vessel General Permit that allows for some discharges into the sea to be made in US waters, the US EPA has issued some new advice to operators of newbuildings and ships which have nor previously operated in US waters.
In its latest communication, the EPA warns that after the expiration of the current VGP on 18 December no further permits can be issued and recommends ships apply for a permit under existing system before that date.
The text of the new advice is as follows:
The 2013 VGP will not be reissued prior to its December 18, 2018 expiration date, but will be administratively continued and remain in effect until a new permit is issued. Owners/operators of vessels operating under the administratively continued permit are expected to comply with the terms and conditions of that permit. EPA stands ready to assist those applying for VGP and will continue its work on reissuing the permit, with a targeted timeframe of permit proposal in spring 2019.
For vessels covered by the permit as of December 18, 2018: Coverage will continue. We recommend owners/operators of vessels double-check that their vessels have active Notices of Intent (NOIs) or Permit Authorization and Record of Inspection (PARI), as appropriate, prior to the December 18, 2018 permit expiration date. You can use the online public search tool available at: https://ofmpub.epa.gov/apex/vg... to identify vessel NOI status. Updates to any NOIs submitted prior to December 18, 2018 (e.g., updates to owner/operator information) can still be made after December 18, 2018.
For vessels currently without permit coverage: Because coverage under the VGP cannot be obtained after the permit's expiration date, EPA strongly encourages owners/operators of eligible vessels currently without permit coverage to seek it prior to December 18, 2018. Such eligible vessels include vessels that are currently under construction or that have not previously operated in US waters.