FMC Initiates Investigation on Canada Ballast Regs

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Posted June 22, 2020

By Helen Brohl, Executive Director, US Committee on the Marine Transportation System

Wednesday: The Federal Maritime Commission formally initiated its investigation of pending Canadian ballast water regulations alleged to be unfavorable and detrimental to U.S. flag Laker vessels and will issue a “Notice of Investigation and Request for Comments”.

The Notice specifies how interested parties can communicate with the Commission in this matter and establishes a deadline for filing comments 30 days following publication of the Notice in the Federal Register.

Comments filed with the Commission will supplement information FMC staff collect as they investigate allegations raised by the Lake Carriers’ Association (LCA) in a petition filed at the Commission on March 6, 2020. In their petition, the LCA alleges that pending regulations concerning ballast water management under consideration by Transport Canada are unfavorable to shipping in the U.S.-Canada trade, pursuant to Section 19(1)(b) of the Merchant Marine Act, 1920 (Section 19). The Canadian regulations, if finalized as proposed, would require vessels in Canadian waters to develop and implement a ballast water management plan to be imposed upon U.S. flag vessels when loading ballast water after offloading export cargo at Canadian ports.

Section 19 of the Merchant Marine Act, 1920, provides the Commission with authority to investigate and sanction discriminatory conditions caused by laws, rules, or regulations of foreign governments. If the Commission finds that such regulations result in conditions unfavorable to shipping in a U.S.-foreign trade, then Section 19 provides the FMC with several remedies that include: levying fines on vessels calling at U.S. ports, prohibiting vessel calls at U.S. ports, and restricting cargos that may be carried between the U.S. and the foreign country.


#maritime #shipping #greatlakes #ballastwater

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