Industry News and Updates:
Story 1) California Doubles Penalties for Oil Spills - October 02, 2020

Story 2) California Tightens Testing Standards For Vessel Low Sulfur Fuel - September 21, 2020

Story 3) Coast Guard, Air National Guard conduct long-range joint rescue mission - September 02, 2020

Story 4) Mississippi River Set To Port Condition Zulu - Marco Nearing Landfall - August 24, 2020

Story 5) USCG Updates Ballast Water Management Reporting Form - August 12, 2020

1) California Doubles Penalties for Oil Spills
  • by  Vince Addington

On September 24, 2020, the Governor of California signed into law an amendment to California Code 8670.64 which doubles the penalty per day for certain acts relating to the spilling of oil in California waters.

Existing law makes it a felony to, among other things, knowingly engage in or cause the discharge or spill of oil into waters of the state, or knowingly fail to begin cleanup, abatement, or removal of spilled oil, as specified. Existing law makes this crime punishable by a fine of not less than $5,000 or more than $500,000 for each day or partial day a violation occurs. Existing law additionally makes it a felony to, among other things, fail to notify the Office of Emergency Services regarding an oil spill or to knowingly fail to follow the material provisions of an applicable oil spill contingency plan. Existing law makes this crime punishable by a fine of not less than $2,500 or more than $250,000 for each day or partial day a violation occurs for a first conviction, and by a fine of not less than $5,000 or more than $500,000 for each day or partial day a violation occurs for a 2nd conviction.

This bill would double the minimum and maximum amounts of the fines described above. The bill would authorize the court to also impose upon a person convicted of, among other things, knowingly engaging in or causing the discharge or spill of oil into waters of the state, or knowingly failing to begin cleanup, abatement, or removal of spilled oil, as specified, a fine of up to $1,000 per gallon spilled in excess of 1,000 gallons of oil.

2) California Tightens Testing Standards For Vessel Low Sulfur Fuel
  • by  Vince Addington

As a reminder, the State of California requires all vessels, including those with stack exhaust scrubbers, to burn 0.1% Sulfur DISTILLATE fuel in all main engines, auxiliary engines and boilers upon entering California State waters. Also as a reminder, California is claiming state waters out to 24 miles from the California baseline.

With the advent of the 0.5% sulfur IMO fuel requirement, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) has recently decided to strengthen their fuel testing protocol in an effort to identify ships burning residual fuel oil rather than distillate fuel even if that fuel is at 0.1% sulfur or less. The Pacific Merchants Shipping Association (PMSA) recently circulated the following in an effort to inform industry of this upcoming change.

“CARB Enforcement staff reached out to PMSA to discuss changes in how they intend to enforce the existing OGV Fuel Rule. Under the rule, vessels operating within 24 nautical miles of California must use a marine distillate fuel with a sulfur content that does not exceed 0.1% by weight (consistent with ISO 8217 DMA or DMB specifications). During enforcement inspections, CARB staff collects a fuel sample and analyzes for sulfur content. With the advent of the IMO standard of 0.5% sulfur limit globally in January, CARB has found it difficult to distinguish distillate fuel from residual fuel on the basis of sulfur content. As a result, they intend to expand their analysis to include a test for micro-carbon residue in order to distinguish between distillate and residual fuels. ISO 8217 does have a parameter for micro-carbon residue (maximum value of 0.30% by mass). As the parameters of ISO 8217 are incorporated by reference into the OGV Fuel Rule, the additional analysis is consistent with the requirements of the existing rule. Nonetheless, CARB intends to provide a six-month grace period for incorporating the new parameter analysis into their enforcement routine. CARB has also asked PMSA to help inform the industry on these changes.”

Please note, the above is NOT a change to the regulations. It is only a change in the fuel testing protocol. However, operators of ships burning 0.1%S residual fuel oil should take note and plan to switch to distillate fuel before entering California waters.

3) Coast Guard, Air National Guard Conduct Long-Range Joint Rescue Mission
  • by  Evan Jones

With coordination from the General Steamship Stockton office, an injured crewman was rescued from the M/V Ocean Applaud off the California-Oregon border. Thank you to all involved for your tremendous efforts! Video footage of the rescue can be seen here:


SAN FRANCISCO — The Coast Guard and Air National Guard completed a four-day, long-range, joint rescue mission to medevac a critically injured 39-year-old man aboard a cargo ship located approximately 1,300 miles west of San Francisco, Friday.

The motor vessel Ocean Applaud contacted 11th Coast Guard District command center watchstanders Monday regarding a crewmember who reportedly fell 30 feet while working on the vessel.

Due to the limited off-shore range of Coast Guard aircraft, California Air National Guard 129th Rescue Wing offered to assist. Coast Guard watchstanders instructed the vessel to make way toward shore and planned to coordinate response once the vessel was within aircraft range.

Upon receiving the mission, the 129th Rescue Wing launched a C-130 aircraft carrying para-rescue jumpers just after 2 p.m. Wednesday. The crew arrived near the vessel around 7 p.m. Wednesday and the para-rescue jumpers executed a static-line jump into the water. Once they were aboard the Ocean Applaud, they provided emergency medical aid to stabilize the patient.

The C-130 returned to base and the para-rescue jumpers remained on the ship to monitor and care for the patient throughout the week. The 129th launched two HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopters Friday morning to recover the para-rescue jumpers and the patient, who was transferred to awaiting EMS and taken to Stanford Hospital in Palo Alto in stable condition.

“The 129th Rescue Wing, like what we did with the Grand Princess, continues to have a great working relationship with the United States Coast Guard,” said Col. Jeffrey Waldman, wing commander.

The 11th Coast Guard District Command Center, located in Alameda, is responsible for all marine and aviation rescue operations across 3.3 million square nautical miles of water from the California-Orgeon border south to near the Galapagos and west to waters half way between California and Hawaii.

“The response during this multi-day rescue operation highlights the value of strong coordination efforts with our Air National Guard, Navy and maritime industry partners,” said Lt. Cmdr. Christopher Klein, the Coast Guard command center mission controller.

"We greatly appreciate the outstanding support of the Air National Guard whose air crews and para-rescue jumpers conducted the long-range response and medical treatment.”

The California Air National Guard 129th Rescue Wing operates out of Moffett Federal Airfield in Mountain View and performs civilian search and rescue missions at sea and inland areas.

The Ocean Applaud is a 652-foot bulk carrier scheduled to arrive in Stockton.

For more information, contact Lt. Col. Jonathan Masaski Shiroma, California Air National Guard Public Affairs, at or (916) 854-3391.
[end quote]

4) Mississippi River Set to Port Condition ZULU - Marco Nearing Landfall
  • by  Evan Jones

At 2200 local time, August 23, 2020, in preparation for the approaching Hurricane MARCO and Tropical Storm LAURA, the Captain of the Port (COTP) Sector New Orleans will set Port Condition ZULU in accordance with the Maritime Hurricane Contingency Port Plan (MHCPP) found at

Port Status: No vessel movement is authorized within the COTP New Orleans Zone, as described in Title 33 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 3.40-15, without permission from the COTP or designated representative, including on the Lower Mississippi River from Mile Marker (MM) 20 Below Head of Passes to MM 303 Above Head of Passes and the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway (GIWW) from MM 44.2 East of Harvey Locks (EHL) to MM 20 West of Harvey Locks (WHL).

Requests for deviation from requirements for Port Condition ZULU should be directed to the Lower Mississippi River Vessel Traffic Center for consideration using Attachment (1) of this MSIB. Except in an emergency or to prevent/mitigate a potentially hazardous condition, all vessels shall contact the Vessel Traffic Center prior to movement. This includes vessels transiting in the river system intending to continue northbound to a safe refuge when ZULU is set. If vessels move in the event of an emergency, notify the Vessel Traffic Center as soon as practicable. Fleet boats may transit light boat in the vicinity of their fleets to conduct necessary safety checks on fleets and/or respond to emergencies without contacting the Vessel Traffic Center prior to movement.

RNA Status: Both Hurricane Regulated Navigation Areas (RNAs) are in effect as per 33 CFR 165.838 (refer to MSIB Volume XX Issue 091). All vessels still within the RNA when ZULU is set should contact the Vessel Traffic Center for consideration to evacuate into the Lower Mississippi River. The RNA canals shall not be used for safe haven. Vessel owners must use good judgment in determining a floating vessel’s mooring location during a storm. All facilities with an Annual Hurricane Operations Plan (AHOP) shall moor their vessels in accordance with those plans. If unable to comply with the enforcement of the RNAs, vessels shall contact the Waterways Management Division at with the mitigating efforts they will take while remaining within the RNA.

Under the Ports and Waterways Safety Act, the COTP may close portions of the port in response to forecasted weather and actual damage, impact, or threat in different geographic areas within the port. The COTP may establish a Safety Zone controlling vessel movements and activities as appropriate, including all Navigable Waters of the United States within 12 nautical miles of shoreline. All vessels are strongly urged to maintain a safe distance from the offshore safety fairways to protect the integrity of the navigational shipping lanes.

5) USCG Updates Ballast Water Management Reporting Form
  • by  Vince Addington

On July 20, 2020, the U.S. Coast Guard received permission to release an updated version of the current Ballast Water Management Reporting form, which they have done in the last few days. The new reporting form has an expiration date of 31 July 2023 at which time it will either be updated again or continued as is. This new reporting form should be put into use immediately.

This Reporting Form replaces all previous and expired versions.
The new Ballast Water Management Reporting Form has two important changes from the most recently expired Reporting Form:

1. The yes/no question “Alternative BW management conducted, per instructions from COTP” has been removed.

2. All vessels are now required to report the date of their last dry dock, information that is critical to the Coast Guard for determining a vessel’s compliance date as specified in 33 CFR 151.1512 & 151.2035.

With approval of the Ballast Water Management Reporting Form, the National Ballast Information Clearinghouse (NBIC) will no longer accept expired Reporting Form versions. To fully comply with all Coast Guard Ballast Water reporting requirements, all vessels must use the new Ballast Water Management Reporting Form, since expired versions lack required information. END QUOTE

The new forms can be found at the USCG NBIC website here.

We suggest these forms be immediately distributed to all owned/chartered vessels for compliance.


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