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"The following synopsis of the US Maritime Transportation Act was prepared by Dennis Bryant of Haight Gardner Holland & Knight. Members should note that inter alia the act calls for the electronic transmission of crew data, passport numbers, visa numbers, etc. sixty days after the Act is signed. An ICS member is reviewing the legislation line-by-line and we will forward any further information/interpretation etc on receipt. Comments/reactions welcomed. U.S. Maritime Transportation Security Act of 2002 On November 14, 2002, the United States Congress passed the Maritime Transportation Security Act of 2002 (S. 1214). This measure, when fully implemented, will impose broad security requirements on the maritime industry. It will also put the United States out of step with other nations with regard to various aspects of maritime security. This bill is a combination or synthesis of measures adopted separately by the Senate and the House of Representatives. By voice vote, the Senate passed the Port and Maritime Security Act of 2001 (S. 1214) on December 20, 2001. The Maritime Transportation Antiterrorism Act of 2002 (H.R. 3983) passed the House of Representatives on June 4, 2002, also by voice vote. Later in June, the two houses agreed to conference the measures, but other matters intervened, delaying final resolution until now. Vulnerability Assessments The amalgamated Maritime Transportation Security Act of 2002 combines elements of both earlier bills. It requires facility and vessel vulnerability assessments to be done by the Coast Guard. The vessel vulnerability assessments will be limited, under this provision, to identification of vessel types that pose a high risk of being involved in a transportation security incident. The term 'transportation security incident' is defined in the Act as a security incident resulting in a significant loss of life, environmental damage, transportation system disruption, or economic disruption in a particular area. Security Plans Similar to oil spill response plans under the Oil Pollution Plan of 1990 (OPA 90), the Secretary of the Department in which the Coast Guard is operating has been tasked with preparing a National Maritime Transportation Security Plan and Area plans for each Captain of the Port (COTP) Zone. Commercial vessels and facilities that the Coast Guard believes may be involved in a transportation security incident will be required to prepare and submit to the Coast Guard security plans for deterring a transportation security incident to the maximum extent feasible. The vessel and facility plans must be consistent with the National and Area plans; identify the qualified individual having full authority to implement security actions; identify and ensure by contract or other means approved by the Secretary the availability of security measures necessary to deter to the maximum extent practicable a transportation security incident; and describe the training, drills, and security actions of persons on the vessel or facility to be carried out under the plan. The plan must include provisions for establishing and maintaining physical security, passenger and cargo security, and personnel security; controlling access to secure areas of the vessel or facility; procedural security policies; communications systems; and other security systems. Unlike the OPA 90 situation, the vessel and facility plans are not limited to solely relying upon private resources, but the full extent of public resources in vessel and facility security plans is not yet clear. The Coast Guard must promulgate its regulations for vessel and facility security plans by April 1, 2003. The vessel and facility security plans must be submitted to the Coast Guard within one year after the Coast Guard promulgates its regulations. Vessels and facilities will be allowed to operate under unapproved plans for up to one year, if they certify they have taken various measures. This will provide the Coast Guard with time to review and approve the plans. Transportation Security Cards No person will be allowed to enter secure areas of a vessel unless he or she possesses a Transportation Security Card issued by the U.S. Coast Guard or is accompanied by someone who has such a card. Cards would be issued unless the individual is determined to pose a security risk. Transportation Security Cards would be required of the following: (a) an individual allowed unescorted access to a secure area designated in a vessel or facility security plan; (b) an individual issued a license, certificate of registry, or merchant mariners document by the U.S. Coast Guard; (c) a vessel pilot; (d) an individual engaged on a towing vessel that pushes, pulls, or hauls alongside a tank vessel; (e) an individual with security sensitive information; and other individuals engaged in port security duties. A Transportation Security Card may only be denied to one of the above individuals if the Secretary determines that the individual has been convicted within the previous seven years of a felony that either presents a terrorism security risk or causes a severe transportation security impact; has been released from incarceration within the preceding five years for such an offense; may be denied admission to the United States or removed from the United States under the Immigration and Nationality Act; or otherwise poses a terrorism security risk to the United States. A potential problem relates to foreign crewmembers. The Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) is currently issuing 'detain on board' orders to large numbers of foreign crewmembers. It is unclear whether these crewmembers with thereby become ineligible for Transportation Security Cards. Since 'detain on board' orders have been issued for some senior shipboard personnel, such as chief engineers, this may present practical problems for ship operation. The Card issuance program would, though, include provisions for waiver and for appeal. Grants The maritime security grant program would be made permanent (subject, of course, to funding). Grants would be administered by the Maritime Administrator and available to port authorities, facility operators, and state and local agencies required to provide security services or funds to implement provisions of Area Maritime Security Plans or facility security plans. Costs that could be funded under these grants include conducting vulnerability assessments, acquiring and operating security equipment, and costs associated with correction of Coast Guard-identified security shortfalls. Funding levels for the grant program have not been resolved. Foreign Port Assessments The Secretary has been tasked with assessing the effectiveness of antiterrorism measures maintained at foreign ports from which vessels depart on voyages to the United States or that otherwise present a security risk to international maritime commerce. Factors to be considered in the assessment include screening and security measures in place at the port, licensing or certification of compliance with appropriate security standards (which would appear to mean standards developed by IMO), and the security management program of the port. If the Secretary finds that a foreign port does not maintain effective antiterrorism measures, the Secretary is to notify the country of the finding and recommend steps to improve the antiterrorism measures at the port. The Secretary may also prescribe conditions of entry into the United States for any vessel arriving from that port or carrying any cargo or passengers originating from or transshipped through that port. The conditions of entry could be imposed