German shipping firm Vega Reederei GmbH & Co. KG is facing possible civil penalties for failing to comply with US Coast Guard (USCG) ballast water discharge rules.
Possible charges stem from an incident around January 29 when 2011-built bulk carrier Vega Mars allegedly made the discharge while in the port of Tacoma in Washington.
Investigators found that ballast water was discharged from the vessel without using a USCG-approved ballast water management system (BWMS) or other approved method.
That constitutes a violation of the National Invasive Species Act, which is intended to prevent invasive species from entering inland US waters through ships’ ballast water and causing disruption to ecosystems.
The offence carries a maximum penalty of $38,175 for Hamburg-based Vega Reederei.
In recent months, the Coast Guard Marine Safety Center has been issuing its first USCG type approvals for BWMS. Since December four systems have received Type Approval certificates. These are set to higher standards than the International Maritime Organization (IMO) Type Approved systems.