U.S. Port Security Tightens More
The U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) has advised that it is in the process of instituting a new port security measure. USCG categorically denies the rumors that vessels flying specific countries' flags and their crews are being totally banned from entering U.S. ports.
The USCG is currently working on a change to their notice of arrival regulations that will increase the advance notice requirements to 96 hours (currently 72 hours). While the USCG expect that regulation changes will be published within the next two weeks, members are encouraged to submit the required crew and passenger list to USCG as soon as possible after the vessel departs its last port to facilitate clearance into its US destination port.
In addition, ship operators should work directly with the appropriate USCG Captain of the Port (COPT) for information on any local restrictions that may be in place.
This new measure is not part of the long-standing Special Interest Vessel (SIV) Program. It is an effort to ensure that suspect individuals and individuals with criminal records do not enter the country unbeknown to federal officials. Each Captain of the Port (COTP) has discretion with regard to how the policy is enforced, depending on local conditions. Some COTPs are also more carefully scrutinizing vessels that have made recent port calls in ports of specific nations, but there is no uniform policy in this regard. (Source: INTERTANKO NEWS @ www.intertanko.com)