On August 31, 2005, the Coast Guard established a policy of best management practices for vessels entering the Great Lakes that declare No Ballast Onboard (NOBOB). This new policy was established to reduce the introductions of aquatic nonindigenous species (NIS) into the Great Lakes.
Vessels declaring NOBOB carry residual ballast water and/or sediments that
have the potential to harbor NIS. As these vessels transit the Great Lakes,
they off-load their cargo and take on Great Lakes water as ballast water.
Once NOBOB vessels take on new cargo, and discharge the mixed (residual and
Great Lakes) ballast water, the potential exists for introduction of NIS
into the Great Lakes.
The Coast Guard established best management practices for NOBOBs to encourage vessels to conduct mid-ocean ballast water exchange on ballast-laden voyages. If they are unable to conduct a mid-ocean ballast water exchange they are encouraged to conduct saltwater flushing of their empty ballast tanks. The NOBOB vessels that employ these practices should incorporate them into their Ballast Water Management Plan. The Coast Guard will monitor the shipping industry’s implementation of these practices to determine the success of the policy.
These best management practices are applicable to all vessels that enter the Great Lakes with empty ballast tanks that may be filled with ballast water and discharged within the Great Lakes.
Similar, but mandatory, rules for NOBOB's have been promulgated by the Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation (SLSDC) and Saint Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation (SLSMC) regulations which require saltwater flushing for vessels arriving at the seaway (33 CFR 401.30).
The U.S. EPA's Vessel General Permit also has requirements for flushing of NOBOB tanks.
Environmental Standards Division (CG-OES-3)
U.S. Coast Guard Headquarters
2100 Second Street SW
Washington, DC 20593