Vega Reederei fined over ballast water violation

US Coast Guard says German shipowner is guilty of infringing National Invasive Species Act.

German shipowner Vega Reederei GmbH faces a maximum fine of $38,175 for violating ballast water regulations in the US.

During a call at the port of Tacoma in late January the 31,728-dwt Vega Mars (built 2011) was alleged to have discharged ballast water without the use of a US Coast Guard approved ballast water management system or other approved means.

Vessels equipped with ballast water tanks that operate in the waters of the US must employ an approved ballast water management method to prevent the unintentional introduction and spread of aquatic nuisance species.

“The Coast Guard is committed to the protection of the marine environment through strong and robust administration and oversight of ballast water management practices," said Captain Joe Raymond, commanding officer, Coast Guard Sector Puget Sound.

“These efforts are in line with the recent approval of four different ballast water management systems. These types of enforcement actions help prevent future incidents and reflect the importance of protecting the sensitive waters of the Puget Sound.”

Initial violations were found by Port State Control (PSC) examiners while they were aboard the Liberian-flagged vessel to verify it met US laws, US regulations and applicable international conventions as per the PSC program.

The US Coast Guard said it regularly inspects foreign and domestic vessels for compliance with the National Invasive Species Act. 

Since 2010, it has performed approximately 55,000 vessel ballast water system and program inspections, with 2,267 of those inspections within the Puget Sound.