USCG Fines Bulker for Unapproved Ballast Water Discharge in Willamette River

The United States Coast Guard (USCG) issued a USD 5,000 fine to the operator of a freight vessel for unauthorized ballast water discharge into the Willamette River in Portland on August 16.

During a routine port state control ballast water examination on the 590-foot Handy bulk carrier Ansac Moon Bear, marine inspectors discovered that the ship had discharged untreated ballast water into the Willamette River on three separate occasions during port calls in 2017.

Under the port state control exam, log books were reviewed during administrative evaluations by the marine inspectors, which led to the ballast water discharge discovery.

As part of the enforcement process, prior to the ship’s departure, the operator 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 party will pay the fine assessed in the civil penalty process, up to the maximum penalty amount.

Shortly after the 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 Japanese company Ansei Carriers SA. Ansac Moon Bear is currently under a bareboat charter.

“Marine Safety Unit Portland effectively identified and enforced the US Ballast Water regulations that visiting vessels are required to meet,” Capt. Thomas Griffitts, commanding officer MSU Portland, said.

“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,” he added.

The ballast water implementation schedule is based on vessel construction dates and ballast water capacity. At this time, more and more existing vessels are entering compliance and implementation schedules that will eventually make all commercial vessels compliant to environmental preservation acts that the Coast Guard enforces.

In the meantime, vessels operating in US waters are subject to USCG standards and the implementation schedule.