In compliance with MARPOL Annex VI fuel oil sulphur content requirements for vessels operating within the North American and US Caribbean Sea Sulphur Emission Control Areas (ECAs), the United States Coast Guard (USCG) is introducing a voluntary fuel oil sampling programme from 29 February 2016.
By this the USCG will request samples from vessels at ports through USCG Port State Control Officers (PSCOs) during routine Port State Control inspections. This event requires voluntary sampling and the important point is that no penalty will be imposed on non compliant vessels. Samples from participating vessels will be drawn by the crew at an appropriate location on the fuel oil system.
Highlights of the Event:
- Sampling is voluntary – the Coast Guard will ask vessel Masters for permission to sample
- Vessels that provide voluntary samples will not receive sanctions if the voluntary samples are non-compliant
- All samples will be taken at appropriate locations by the ship’s crew with Coast Guard oversight
When the USCG suspect a contravention of the regulations they can still order a sample for testing. Here, if the fuel oil is found to be non-compliant, the vessel may be detained and fined thereafter.
Source: USCG – Marine Safety Information Bulletin