The Senate passed the Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2004. Negotiations can now commence to resolve differences between this bill and the version adopted by the House of Representatives some time ago. The major difference between the two bills regards security plans for foreign vessels subject to the ISPS Code. The House bill would, in accordance with language in the Maritime Transportation Security Act
of 2002 (MTSA
), require such a vessel to submit its security plan to the USCG for review and approval. The Senate bill would deem such a vessel to be in compliance with the security plan provisions of the MTSA if it has a security plan that has been approved in accordance with the ISPS Code and operates in compliance with the plan. The maritime industry should vocally support the Senate position on this issue, rather than just hope for the best. This is an important issue, not only for foreign ship owners
and operators concerned with maritime security, but also for international comity generally. (HK Law).