On March 28, 2013, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a final National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) General Permit for Discharges Incidental to the Normal Operation of a Vessel (Vessel General Permit or VGP). This permit replaces the existing Vessel General Permit issued by EPA in 2008 that expires on December 19, 2013. The Vessel General Permit provides the practices and procedures for vessels to comply with NPDES requirements.
Am I Covered by the Vessel General Permit?
This permit applies to non-military and non-recreational vessels. The Vessel General Permit is applicable to vessels operating within the “waters of the United States,” which includes the territorial seas. The territorial seas extend three miles from the seaward limit of open waters. EPA estimates that approximately 60,000 domestic and 12,400 foreign flagged vessels will be covered by the new VGP. Examples of vessels covered by this permit include, but are not limited to, cruise ships, ferries, oil tankers, cargo ships, container ships, and research vessels. The VGP does not apply to commercial fishing vessels or to non-recreational vessels less than 79 feet in length until December 8, 2014 due to a Congressional permitting moratorium.
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