FEINSTEIN SECURITY BILL WOULD SHIFT OTI LICENSING TO CUSTOMS
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., has submitted a maritime security bill that would shift the licensing and oversight of U.S. ocean transportation intermediaries from the Federal Maritime Commission to Customs.
“The responsibility to license, and revoke or suspend a license, as an ocean transportation intermediary of a person who carries on or wishes to carry on the business of providing intermediary services is transferred from the Federal Maritime Commission to the Commissioner of Customs,” Feinstein said in her bill, S2895, on Aug. 1.
If the language of the bill — “Comprehensive Seaport and Container Security Act of 2002” — is included in the final maritime security legislation under consideration by Senate and House conferees, it would mandate Customs to develop rules within a year of the final legislation’s passage that require OTIs to help Customs in “collecting data that can be used to prevent terrorist attacks in the United States.”
Other key aspects of the Feinstein maritime security bill are largely in line with Customs Commissioner Robert C. Bonner’s Container Security Initiative, such as posting inspectors in strategic foreign ports and requiring vessel manifests filed 24 hours before departure from overseas ports. It also proposes to raise the fines for violations from $1,000 to $10,000 per violation to $50,000 per violation.
Feinstein’s legislation would also make vessel operator and ocean freight consolidator manifest data confidential by amending the 1930 Tariff Act.