HOUSE BILL WOULD INSPECT ALL U.S.-BOUND CONTAINERS, VESSELS
Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., has introduced legislation in Congress that would require every U.S.-bound cargo container be inspected and every ship or airplane from abroad be searched outside of the United States.
The bill, H.R. 1010, would require by 2005 that each U.S.-bound cargo container 'be inspected, the contents verified, and the container sealed by personnel of the Department of Homeland Security at a port or airport outside the U.S., and before the container is loaded onto or removed from the vessel or airplane, as applicable.”
The bill would also apply to cargo containers entering the United States 'by any other means.'
The Department of Homeland Security would inspect and seal the containers as free of chemical, biological or nuclear weapon, under the bill.
The legislation would also require the U.S. Coast Guard to “board and inspect each vessel carrying cargo destined for the U.S., at least 200 miles from the U.S.”
Such inspections would have to verify that “the cargo containers on the vessel have not been tampered with, and that the remainder of the vessel … the engine room, living quarters, bathrooms and hull, does not contain a chemical, biological or nuclear weapon,” the bill says.
Nadler’s bill has been referred to the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, and also to the Committees on Ways and Means and Select Homeland Security.
A spokesman for Nadler told Shipper’s News Wire on Wednesday, “we don’t expect the Republican majority to actually hold hearings on H.R. 1010. Congressman Nadler intended the bill as more of a starting point for a debate on ideas about which he feels very strongly.”