EPA and the U.S. Coast Guard entered into a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on February 11, 2011, agreeing to jointly develop guidance and protocols for reporting violations, conducting inspections and training agency officials to implement the vessel discharge permitting program. The MOU is designed to improve agency cooperation on data tracking, training, monitoring, enforcement, and industry outreach, according to the agencies.

The vessel permitting program applies to more than 61,000 U.S.-based commercial ships and more than 8,000 foreign ships operating in U.S. waters. The vessel permit covers 26 types of discharges such as deck run‑off from rain, ballast water used to stabilize ships and wastewater from showers, sinks and laundry machines. The vessel permit program also addresses corrective actions, self inspections and monitoring, and record keeping and reporting requirements. See EPA Press Release, February 11, 2011.