Regulation 17 of Annex II of MARPOL 73/78 requires all signatory countries to ensure that response plans for vessels carrying noxious liquid substances are developed in accordance with IMO guidelines. To facilitate compliance with the IMO requirement in the United States, the U.S. Coast Guard published the Navigation and Vessel Inspection Circular (NVIC) No. 03-04 to notify the shipping industry of the interim procedures adopted by the United States for U.S. flag vessels and foreign vessels operating in U.S. waters.
NVIC No. 03-04 provides:
Regulation 17 of Annex II applies to every ship of 150 gross tons and greater certified to carry noxious liquid substances in bulk. This includes:
Exemptions to these requirements include:
Compliance with Regulation 17 of Annex II became effective on January 1, 2003. Vessel operators or owners transporting noxious liquid substances in bulk must submit a SMPEP-NLS or a combined SMPEP to the U.S. Coast Guard for review. U.S vessels operating in foreign waters without a Coast Guard approved plan may be denied entry to or detained in a foreign port until an approved plan can be presented.
The Coast Guard will review plans and provide owners or operators with advisory opinions regarding compliance with Regulation 17 of the Convention and issue an approval letter, when appropriate. Plan holders should expect completion of the Coast Guard review and approval or return for amendment within 3 months of submission. Plans may be issued provisional approvals pending completion of a satisfactory review. Plan holders who already have approved SOPEPs under Annex I of MARPOL 73/78 may revise their plans with the appropriate updates to also meet the requirements of Annex II of MARPOL 73/78, rather than submitting separate plans for noxious liquid substances. Because the Coast Guard has not maintain SOPEPs in the past, however, plan holders must submit the revised plans in their entirety for a complete review.
For more information regarding Coast Guard's review and approval procedures, see "Frequently Asked Questions" on this website.