The U.S. Coast Guard and the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) have developed a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for identifying crewmembers on board vessels coming to U.S. ports who need to be detained on board during the port call and for taking steps to ensure that those crewmembers remain on board and depart with the vessel. Under this policy, which is scheduled to come into effect in Delaware Bay
Bay, and Savannah on October 28, 2002, the USCG will share crewmember data from the Advance Notice of Arrival with the INS. The INS will then determine whether any or all crewmembers should be detained on board. If
so, the USCG will order the vessel to remain at least three nautical miles offshore until the vessel submits a crewmember security plan that is
acceptable to the INS. The crewmember security plan documents the procedures that the master will use to ensure any detained crewmember(s)
remain on board and generally must include use of contracted security guards. Once INS approves the plan, the USCG will allow the vessel to
proceed to berth. Prior to departure, the vessel must notify the INS in sufficient time to allow INS inspectors to verify that all detained
crewmembers are on board. While the matrix used by INS to determine whether to issue a 'detain on board' order is classified, factors apparently include whether this vessel has had ship jumpers previously or whether stowaways have been reported during this voyage. This program is expected to come into effect nationwide in the near future.
Source: HK Law