On 16th August, newly built bulker ANSAC Moon Bear was fined USD 5000 by the United States Coast Guard (USCG) for unauthorised ballast water discharge into the Willamette River.
The action was discovered during administrative evaluations by the marine inspectors wherein log books were reviewed as per the port state control exam.
Also, it was during a a routine port state control ballast water examination on the 590-foot Handy bulk carrier Ansac Moon Bear that marine inspectors discovered that the ship had discharged untreated ballast water into the Willamette River on three separate occasions during port calls in 2017.
According to the USCG, prior to the ship’s departure, the owner was required to either pay the USD 5,000 Notice of Violation fine or provide a Letter of Undertaking in the amount of USD 38,175 as adequate surety that the owner will pay the fine assessed in the civil penalty process, up to the maximum penalty amount.
Capt. Thomas Griffitts, Commanding Officer MSU Portland, said, “Marine Safety Unit Portland effectively identified and enforced the US Ballast Water regulations that visiting vessels are required to meet.” He went on to say, “These regulations are essential to protecting our marine environment as untreated ballast water may pose serious ecological, economic, and health problems due to the multitude of marine species carried in ships’ ballast water.”
Shortly after issuance of the notice of violation fine, the company operating the vessel paid the fine with minimal disruption to the vessels schedule. VesselsValue’s data shows that the 32,200 dwt bulker is owned by Japan-based Ansei Carriers SA and operated by compatriot company Abo Shoten.
Until recently, the USCG provided extensions on compliance dates with relative ease, but now that more approved options are available it is strengthening its criteria.
The fine for the Bear is not the first Coast Guard enforcement action related to BWMS. In February, as per Maritime Executive, the Coast Guard cited the bulker Vega Mars for discharging ballast without the use of a BWMS at the port of Tacoma, Washington. “These efforts are in line with the recent approval of four different ballast water management systems,” said Capt. Joe Raymond, commanding officer of Coast Guard Sector Pugent Sound.