On July 26, 2019, the U.S. Coast Guard issued Policy Letter No. 01-19 outlining the Coast Guard’s proposed acceptance of testing protocols for ballast water management systems (BWMS) that render “nonviable” (meaning “permanently incapable of reproduction”) organisms in ballast water.

The Vessel Incidental Discharge Act (VIDA), found at Title IX of the Frank LoBiondo Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2018, Pub. L. No. 115-292, required the Coast Guard to permit BWMS that only achieve nonviable organisms—as opposed to existing regulations which require dead organisms. The change will bring Coast Guard practices into alignment with international standards and has generally been viewed by industry as one of the highlights of VIDA.

Public comments on the Coast Guard’s proposed BWMS testing protocols may be submitted to www.regulations.gov Docket No. USCG-2019-0477, later this week.