News: Amendments in California’s Marine Invasive Species Program (MISP) to enter in force from 1 January 2021
09 December 2020
As highlighted in club’s previous news items, ships calling at California ports need to comply with regulations for ballast water discharges and vessel biofouling enforced under the Marine Invasive Species Program (MISP).
The MISP began in 1999 with an aim to prevent, and eventually eliminate, the introduction of non-indigenous species into state waters. In 2003, the Marine Invasive Species Act was passed, reauthorizing and expanding the scope of the program.
Non-indigenous species are organisms that when intentionally or unintentionally transported through human activities to new habitats may pose significant threats to human health, the economy, and the environment. Once a non-indigenous species becomes established in a new in geographic location, and causes impacts, it is considered as an invasive species. Once established, attempts to eradicate invasive are often unsuccessful and costly. That is why prevention of species introductions through vector management is considered the most effective way to address invasive species.
The MISP applies to vessels of 300GT and above, capable of carrying ballast water. The program is administered by the California State Lands Commission (SLC). For further details, members are recommended to refer to MISP website.
From 1 January 2021, regulations require the annual submission of the MISP Annual Vessel Reporting Form (AVRF) to be made through the web-based platform MISP.IO at least 24 hours prior to a vessel’s first arrival at a California port during each calendar year.
Members are reminded that P&I cover for fines involving non-compliance with the ballast water or biofouling requirements, except for accidental discharges, will be discretionary (similar to MARPOL violations). In such cases, members will be required to satisfy the board that all reasonable steps had been taken to avoid the event giving rise to the fine.