The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) outlining steps the agencies will take to better coordinate efforts to prevent illegal discharges of pollutants from more than 61,000 commercial ships based in the U.S. and more than 8,000 foreign ships operating in U.S. waters. Today’s MOU creates a framework for improving EPA and USCG cooperation on data tracking, training, monitoring, verifying compliance and industry outreach.
Under the MOU, the Coast Guard has agreed to incorporate components of EPA’s vessel general permit (VGP) program into its existing inspection protocols and procedures to help the United States address vessel pollution in U.S. waters. The agencies have also agreed to improve existing data requirements so that information on potential violations observed during inspections can be sent to EPA for evaluation and follow-up.
“In the true spirit of partnership, the Coast Guard readily offers its assistance to help the EPA verify compliance with these discharge regulations,” said Rear Adm. Kevin Cook, director of the Coast Guard’s Prevention Policy for Marine Safety, Security and Stewardship directorate. “Our current cadre of dedicated marine inspectors is poised to evaluate VGP compliance during our port state examinations and flag state inspections to ensure vessels operating in our waters are doing so in a legal, safe and environmentally friendly manner.”
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