Invasive species action sought
The Mining Journal
Published January 19th, 2005
BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) - Most ships arriving in the Great
Lakes are exempt from regulations meant to keep out invasive
species capable of wreaking havoc on the ecosystem, the
U.S. Coast Guard has acknowledged as it moves to tighten
As many as 80 percent or more of oceangoing vessels that
enter the lakes are subject to little more than paperwork
But those vessels - known as NOBOBs, short for no ballast
on board - are not necessarily without stowaways.
The NOBOBs may carry tons of residual ballast water and/or
sediments that can mix with new ballast water once on
the Great Lakes and be discharged, according to a Coast
Guard notice in the Federal Register earlier this month.
The Coast Guard is soliciting suggestions for a new ballast
water management strategy and has scheduled a public meeting
for May in Cleveland.
"The Coast Guard's program has a loophole big enough
to drive a cargo ship through,'' responded Jennifer Nalbone
of the environmental group Great Lakes United, which on
Tuesday called for an immediate crackdown on NOBOBs.
While praising the Coast Guard's intention to address
the problem, Nalbone said the agency is obligated by law
to move more quickly.
"The Coast Guard has the very clear statutory authority
to regulate all ships entering the Great Lakes,'' Nalbone
said. "These NOBOB vessels are coming in unregulated.
They don't have to do anything.''
Nalbone urged the Coast Guard to require the vessels
to seal their tanks or be made to retain all ballast content,
measures the Coast Guard said would be unlikely in the
"We have to engage in full public participation
before we do anything,'' said Beivan Patnaik, regulatory
coordinator for the Coast Guard's Aquatic Nuisance Species
Patnaik said NOBOBs are required to file reports on their
residual ballast water as they enter the Great Lakes,
but face no regulations on how to manage the water.
"The Coast Guard recognizes that that's an important
issue to the Great Lakes and we're committed to addressing
this issue,'' he said.