VGP II – Changes In 2013

VGP or Vessel General Permit refers to the set of regulations which the EPA or the Environmental Protection Agency issued in 2008 and are expiring in December 2013, and will be replaced by the next version of VGP.

Scope of Application

The VGP applies to all the commercial vessels entering the US waters and has been subdivided into two categories, for larger and smaller vessels.

  • VGP for vessels having 79 feet or above length
  • sVGP for vessels having less than 79 feet length

It basically outlines their scope of operation. The contents of the VGP keep changing every year. We will now discuss how it has been changing in the last few years. The EPA is open to public participation before the VGP is finalized. The EPA held public meetings and consultations to decide how the VGP should be.

Vessel General Permit

Vessel General Permit

The VGP is drafted and changed as per the inputs received before the final draft is presented. To confirm that you are following the VGP you must submit the vessels NOI. This can be done online and also in the physical form. When the EPA is satisfied with your NOI they will give you the VGP. Similarly you can send a notice of termination if you feel that you are not able to fulfil even one condition mentioned in the NOI.

You can also apply for additional permit to the EPA. You can also report the EPA if you find that there is any violation of the VGP set by them. The EPA has its official site and email id where you can send and receive all these information.

There is a PDF file that explains all the procedure in details. This file can be found in many international languages for the convenience of the users. Only the owners and the operators can submit the NOI.

It is a one time effort that they need to put in but the benefits that they will get out of it is immense. If you are a vessel owner you must submit the VGP within thirty to thirty six months of obtaining the permit. The EPA can take batch submissions. The capacity is up to five hundred applications at one time. This is done to ensure that maximum operators can join the same.

Updated Version

The VGP was last updated in the 2013. The aim of these amendments is to ensure that a better control can be maintained over the commercial vessels that are out in the sea. In 2013 there were no major changes in the VGP but many small amendments were made to ensure that the ships get a better exposure when it comes to environmental protection. Looking at the pollutants in the sea this seems to be most important challenge to the EPA. 2008 the VGP was amended to ensure that the commercial vessels pollute the sea little less.

This was essential looking at the high level of pollution in the sea. The clean water in the sea seems to be the most important concern. Many international bodies and organisations have accepted the EPA as they know that it is essential for the sea and the marine life protection.

There VGP is applicable to only the larger ships. The small ships out in the sea can also cause potential damage to the water. This is exactly why there is a SVGP also that means small Vessel General Permit. This is exclusively meant for the small vessels that sail in the sea.

The other concepts are similar between the two. Once a ship owner has decided to follow the guidelines of the VGP he has to ensure that there is no violation. If there is even a slight violation then it can be a big deal for the ship owner. The EPA can take the desired action that they want against the violators of the EPA.

It must also be noted that an important aspect of VGP II is the use of EALs or environmentally accepted lubricants instead of conventional lubricants but we will deal with this in detail in a separate article.

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