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Utility Navigation

Marine Operations

Marine Operations Environmental Management Branch (EMB)

NOAA Ship Bell M. Shimada alongside concrete pier encased in a bright yellow boom on a sunny day
Michael Levine, Chief Operations Officer, MOCP
NOAA Ship Bell M. Shimada boomed at Marine Operations Center – Pacific in preparation for fueling operations.

Who We Are

The Marine Operations (MO) Environmental Managemen Branch (EMB) works to reduce the environmental impact of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) fleet. EMB consists of four individuals: An EMB Chief, an Environmental Compliance Specialist, a Fleet Environmental Support Manager, and an Environmental Program Support contractor.

What We Do

EMB is responsible for reducing the environmental impacts of the NOAA fleet by maintaining and promoting procedures regarding environmental compliance, providing training for environmental regulations, and advocating for new technology to minimize ships’ environmental impact.

EMB provides specialized support and training for vessel crew and the Shipboard Environmental Compliance Officers (Shipboard ECOs). In addition to their regular duties, Shipboard ECOs are the environmental experts for their ship; they receive advanced training on requirements and best practices for environmental compliance. Each ship has at least on Shipboard ECO that is supported by EMB from the office and via underway support trips.

How We Do It

EMB uses select concepts associated with Environmental Management Systems (EMS) to ensure the fleet and facilities continually reduce their environmental impacts by following the organizations environmental procedures and maritime regulations (USCG/IMO/EPA).


EMB communicates legal and other requirements to the field via training programs and routine guidance emails. The following opportunities are available to NOAA personnel.

ECO Workshop

ECO Workshop presents tools and procedures for Shipboard ECOs to reference when underway. It captures the expertise of previous ECOs to guide new Junior Officers and Wage Mariners in their environmental duties. EMB coordinates and delivers this training annually.

Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response (HAZWOPER) Training

HAZWOPER training provides the ship’s crew with the knowledge required to respond to spills without risking exposure or injury.

Commanding Officer (CO)/Executive Officer (XO) and Refresher Training (REFTRA)

REFTRA training is provided to officers rotating to their sea assignments. EMB instructs officers regarding new or changed environmental requirements. EMB also provides annual training at the Commanding Officer/Chief Marine Engineer Conference and Executive Officer/Chief Boatswain Seminar to communicate new environmental tools and procedures.

Additional Training

Subject-specific trainings are available via webinar and are geared towards the needs of our fleet and facilities. All NOAA employees and contractors must take General Environmental Awareness Training, and Safety and Environmental Compliance Training annually. Additional training consists of new employee orientation and job-specific/competence training. The EMS Team has also developed a series of environmental awareness/EMS PowerPoint presentations for internal training purposes.


Marine Operations and Office of Marine and Aviation Operations (OMAO) environmental procedures are managed by EMB with assistance from the Safety Management Branch. They detail MO ECO environmental requirements and provide the framework for implementation.

  • 0701 - Category 0700 Environmental 
  • 0701-02 - Ballast Water Management
  • 0701-03 - NPDES Vessel General Permit Compliance Procedure
  • 0701-06 - SOPEP Emergency Plan
  • 0701-10 - Radioactive Materials Aboard NOAA Ships
  • 0701-11 - Environmental Aspect Identification
  • 0701-17 - Management of Shipboard Ozone Depleting Substances and Refrigerants
  • 0701-19 - Shipboard Solid Waste Management

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Reviewed: February 12, 2019. Contact us with page issues.

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