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Ballast Water - Vessel Circular 012-16: Regulatory Update

SSM Roundel

Steamship Mutual

Published: February 01, 2016


The USCG issued a notice reminding vessel owners and operators that the final rule amending the ballast management reporting and record keeping requirements, published on November 24, 2015 goes into effect on February 22, 2016.


Upon the effective date of this rule, vessels with ballast tanks operating exclusively on voyages between ports or places within a single Captain of the Port zone are required to submit an annual report of their ballast water management practices. The intent of this requirement is to get data on the magnitude and frequency of ballast water movement within Captain of the Port zones and to determine whether continued reporting by this subset of vessels should be required after three years.

This rule also simplifies and streamlines the ballast water report form. Current recordkeeping requirements in 33 CFR 151.2070 have been amended to include only data fields essential for understanding and analyzing ballast water management practices of vessels operating in waters of the U.S. The information required for reporting purposes is listed in 33 CFR 151.2060 and instead of repeating the list of information for recordkeeping, 33 CFR 151.2070(a) simply states that there is a requirement to maintain records of all the information required to be reported under 33 CFR 151.2060.

The revised rule will allow most vessels, those not bound for the Great Lakes or Hudson River north of the George Washington Bridge, to submit ballast water reports no later than six (6) hours after arrival at a port or place of destination instead of requiring submission of such reports prior to arrival. It is expected that this revision will reduce the need to submit amended reports when actual port operations differ from the anticipated operations.

Those vessels bound for the Great Lakes or Hudson River north of the George Washington Bridge must continue to submit reports at least twenty-four (24) hours in advance of arrival to Montreal and New York, NY, respectively.

Required Actions – New Ballast Water Management Reporting (BWMR) Form

Only the new PDF and Web App BWMR forms will be accepted by the National Ballast Information Clearinghouse (NBIC) for BWMR effective February 22, 2016.

For those who choose to use the PDF version, both the existing (old) form and the new form have the same OMB Number and expiration date in the upper right hand corner, however the format of each is very different.

  • A sample of the existing (old) form can be viewed at:

  • The new form may be viewed and downloaded at:

To further differentiate the old and new forms, NBIC has added the statement “For use on/after 22-Feb-2016” to compliant BWMR forms.

Instructions for completing the new BWMR Form (PDF Version) are available at:

Both the form and instructions are also available at:

The PDF version may be submitted via email or directly online using the buttons in the form at the bottom of the first page once the form has been completed.

Note: Adobe Acrobat or Adobe Reader, version 9 or later, is required to use the PDF BWMR form.

For those who choose to use the Web App, an Internet connection will be required. Detailed instructions on how to submit online are posted on the “Submit BW Report” tab of the NBIC website at:
Users of the Web App BWMR form will be connecting directly to the NBIC BW Information System via an Internet browser, so they will have access to their previous reports and to the most up-to-date BWMR form versions and features, making reporting faster and easier than ever before. Furthermore, Web App users will receive immediate confirmation that their submitted report has been received by the NBIC.
Please send questions regarding ballast water reporting directly to the NBIC at: [email protected].


For additional information please see the referenced documents and links below:

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) posted at:
NBIC website:
Ballast Water Management Reporting and Recordkeeping Final Rule


Article courtesy of O'Brien's Vessel Services

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