American Shipper



   The U.S. Coast Guard, in an effort to heighten security, has temporarily changed notification requirements for vessels bound for or departing U.S. ports.

   The rule, which took effect Thursday, lengthens the usual notification period from 24 to 96 hours prior to port entry. It also requires submission of reports to a central national clearinghouse, and that additional information is to be included on notification of arrival (NOA) and notification of departure (NOD).

   “In the maritime context, extra time is needed for security checks, and vessels bound for U.S. ports could experience delays in entering port if required arrival information is not received early enough,” the Coast Guard said. “The information currently required on the notification of arrival does not provide sufficient data for security measures to protect our nation's ports and waterways.”

   Additional information required includes:

   * General description of the vessel's cargo.

   * The date of departure from each port listed in the NOA.

   * Location or position information for reports filed for vessels not carrying certain dangerous cargo.

   * Lists of every person on board the vessel. The lists include basic information, such as name, date of birth, nationality and (for crew members) duties or position on board the ship.

   A report has to be filed for each U.S. port the vessel intends to enter.

   The Coast Guard has also changed the definition of certain dangerous cargo. The change is designed to clarify the existing definition by consolidating Coast Guard and Research and Special Programs Administration requirements for certain materials that my be allowed to be transported only under a RSPA exemption. UN hazardous class division numbers are also added to further clarify the products subject to this regulation. Additionally, the changes add certain hazardous materials products the Coast Guard believes pose undue risk to the public if these products were to be hijacked or subjected to intentional damage.

   For more information on the rule, call Marcus A. Lines, U.S. Coast Guard, at (202) 267-6850. The rule can be accessed at the Department of Transportation's Web site, at