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Environmental Management System - Vessel General Permit (VGP)

The sea covers 70% of the Earth's surface. It supplies a substantial proportion of the food we eat and plays an important part in the welfare of the planet. Preventing pollution of the sea is an important responsibility of all mariners and the shipping industry.

All personnel associated with shipping should:
  1. receive training on the impact of pollution and the means of reducing and preventing it
  2. have a role in protecting the environmentby following procedures
  3. ensure they take positive action to prevent pollution through good seamanship. Every shipping company must have an environmental policy in place and every ship must implement environmental procedures. This course has been designed to:
  4. raise awareness of that environmental policy
  5. consider the reasons why it has been implemented and the importance of compliance.


An environmental policy must take account of all conventions applicable to marine transport, in particular: the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL 73/78 and its Annexes), Ballast Water Management Requirements, Anti-Fouling Paints, industry standards, and port authority regulations.

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has implemented regulations for discharges incidental to the normal operation of vessels. Applicable vessels have been automatically authorized to discharge in accordance with the Vessel General Permit (VGP) since February 6, 2009.



Documentation and recordkeeping requirements have been effective since February 19, 2009. It is also necessary to submit a Notice of Intent (NOI) prior to September 19, 2009. The purpose of the NOI is for the vessel’s owner/operator to certify a vessel has implemented sufficient procedures to ensure compliance with the VGP inspection, monitoring and documentation requirements. Your Vessel Control Group should have already carried this out and provided your vessel with written confirmation and permit number.

We anticipate VGP recordkeeping compliance checks by the USCG will commence shortly. Vessels trading to the USA are reminded:
  1. Please ensure that all staff are aware of the VGP and requirements as appropriate for their position onboard.
  2. Record keeping in the VGP logbook should be well established. (Duplicate reporting is not required – VGP Logbook or other existing logbook is satisfactory)
  3. A copy of the letter confirming NOI submission and Permit Tracking Number must be on board.
  4. Details of certifying official must be entered in logbook as per confirmation letter.
  5. Vessels that have been in dry-dock after Feb. 6th 2009 must have a dry-dock inspection report on board. (VGP 4.1.4)
  6. Records must be maintained accurately. As with all log and record books incorrect or false entries can result in criminal penalties.
  7. Training and familiarisation must have been completed and recorded in Section 10 of the VGP record book.
  8. The ‘Ship’s Watch’ posters are displayed at suitable points around the vessel.
The Environmental Management System (EMS) is designed to ensure compliance with industry best practices relating to environmental standards.

The purpose of EMS :

a) Identifying any significant information on environmental aspects

b) Training requirements pertaining to EMS

c) Monitoring and measurement of the key characteristics of operations and activities that can have a significant impact on the environment

d) Investigation of non-conformances and their corrective and preventive actions

e) Reporting all of the above matters to the Environmental Manager






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