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Web Alert: Vessel Incidental Discharge Act (VIDA) of 2018

07 February 2019

VIDA establishes a new framework for the regulation of vessel incidental discharges. The wide implications of this new law are still under assessment but the crucial provisions of VIDA may be summarised as follows:

  • It provides for the establishment of uniform standards for the management of discharges incidental to the normal operation of a vessel.
  • It charges the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) with primary responsibility to establish standards relating to the discharge of pollutants from vessels.
  • It charges the USCG with primary responsibility for prescribing, administering and enforcing regulations consistent with these standards.

VIDA phases out provisions of the VGP (Vessel General Permit) and existing USCG regulations over an approximate time of 4 years.

Members trading to the US should be aware that the last (2013) VGP expired on 18 December 2018. Since VIDA supplants the VGP, a new VGP will not be issued. However, the requirements under the existing (2013) VGP remain in full force and effect beyond their expiration date, until the EPA and the USCG finalise and implement the new regulations that VIDA requires. New regulations are anticipated to be at least as stringent as the existing VGP in terms of corrective action, inspections, monitoring, reporting, recordkeeping and vessel-specific requirements. All vessels trading to the US should continue to maintain compliance with the existing VGP until the new regulations are finalized.

For further information, please view the ECM Maritime Services Client Alert (5 February 2019) in the attachment on the right.

Additional information on the regulation is also available at EPA’s web page.