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Secure VGP compliance with new DNV GL verification service

Recent updates to the US Vessel General Permit (VGP) have brought new technical and reporting requirements for vessels operating in US waters, including the need for the preparation of a detailed annual report. DNV GL’s newly introduced VGP verification service helps to ensure compliance by providing a comprehensive review of both VGP procedures and documentation.

The VGP verification service consists of a review of company-wide VGP procedures, if they exist, which are usually based on VGP or environmental best practice documentation. On-board visits confirm that the vessel’s documentation is consistent with the on board documentation required and that the vessel is operating within its environmental procedures and VGP requirements.

“The VGP verification service gives our customers a second set of unbiased expert eyes on their documentation procedures. It can be tailored to exactly what the customer needs, from a desktop review or workshop outlining VGP changes, to a full on-board and shore review and plan for corrective action, even help and advice on developing a VGP plan from scratch”, says Terje Sverud, Head of Section Environment Advisory at DNV GL – Maritime.

Once the review and any necessary corrective actions have been undertaken, DNV GL provides a verification statement indicating that as observed the vessel’s operations and record-keeping are consistent with VGP requirements. This verification statement also contains a list of the VGP requirements and outlines how the vessel fulfils the requirements – a useful reference list for a vessel’s crew when they are demonstrating compliance during a VGP inspection.

A pilot project was carried out with Wilh. Wilhelmsen on their ro-ro vessel, the MV Tarago. After a full examination of Wilh. Wilhelmsen’s company-wide VGP recommended practices, DNV GL experts went on board the MV Tarago and conducted a careful review of the record-keeping. The ballast water management plan, deck logbook, engine room logbook, and VGP logbook were all checked to ensure that all necessary records were present for VGP-related procedures. The verification confirmed Wilh. Wilhelmsen’s high standards and thorough preparation, but also identified some opportunities for improvement.

“With several port calls in the US, it was valuable for us to team up with DNV GL’s verification team to do a pilot on new technical and reporting requirements set forth by the updated US Vessels General permit. As vessel owners, we want to ensure our operations and standards are in line with regulatory requirements”, said Filip Svensson, Vice President of Marine Operations at Wilh. Wilhelmsen ASA.

Gaining an overview of the VGP requirements and how they apply to each vessel saves owners and operators time and energy, and minimises the chance of errors, which can result in a costly violation. While customers with no plan, or who need to take action, now have the chance to develop a plan in a fast and efficient manner or correct any deficiencies in an existing plan. The verification statement of DNV GL also provides an easy way for vessel operators to demonstrate that they have taken all aspects of the VGP into consideration, in the event the vessel is inspected by US authorities.