TO THE MEMBERS
COMPULSORY ELECTRONIC FILING OF PASSENGER & CREW INFORMATION
The US Bureau of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) published, on 7th April 2005, a Final Rule stating that vessel manifest information relating to passengers and crew, required under the Advance Passenger Information System (APIS), must be filed with CBP electronically, with effect from 6th June 2005, using an approved system.
Since October 2005, the USCG has been strictly enforcing regulations relating to Electronic Notice of Arrival/Departure (eNOA/D). These regulations require ships to submit an eNOA/D to National Vessel Movement Center (NVMC) within the following time limits:
|Arrival manifest||Deadline for submitting manifest|
|For voyages of 96 hours (4 days) or more||At least 96 hours before arrival|
|Between 24 hours and 96 hours||At least 24 hours before arrival|
|Less than 24 hours||Prior to departing the foreign port or place of departure|
|Departure manifest||15 minutes before the vessel departs the US|
More recently CBP Area Port Director(s) have issued a notice stating that "… all international carriers transporting passengers and or crew members must obtain an international carrier bond and place it on file with the CBP prior to entry or departure from the United States …". In this connection, CBP has advised that the party that is considered to be the carrier for the purposes of APIS is the entity responsible for providing the crew - probably the owner or bareboat charterer.
APIS provides for penalties for failure to provide accurate or timely information, of $5,000 for a first time violator, and $10,000 for a second offence.
CBP has indicated that in lieu of an initial penalty assessment against a commercial carrier that has arrived or will depart without a valid international carrier bond (ICB), the port director will notify the master in writing of the bond requirement. A letter of notice will be provided to the master. CBP will start enforcing the ICB requirements from 1st February 2006 or, if the master has not received notification by 1st February 2006, enforcement of the bond requirement will begin on the master's next arrival in the US following issue of the written notice.
The minimum amount for the bond requirement is set by the Area Port Director. Carriers with a current valid international carrier bond below the amount set by the Area Port Director and carriers applying for a new international carrier bond must secure a bond for at least the amount set by the Area Port Director.
Members should establish who is the carrier for the purposes of APIS (eNOA/D). The advice of CBP is that the carrier is the entity responsible for providing the vessel's crew and is therefore most likely to be the owner or bareboat charterer.
If the entity which is the carrier for the purpose of the APIS regulations already has a current valid ICB for the Automated Manifest System (AMS) regulations, (these bonds are typically in the amount of $25,000 - $50,000), he should contact (through his local agent) the respective Customs Port Director for confirmation that the amount of his existing ICB will also suffice for the purposes of the APIS regulations.
If the carrier does not have a current valid international carrier bond filed with the CBP, he should instruct his agents to contact the Customs Port Director in the most frequently used ports to determine the maximum amount of the international carrier bond likely to be demanded and then arrange a continuous or single entry international carrier bond through an approved surety or market facility accordingly.
THOMAS MILLER (BERMUDA) LTD.
Useful information links
A list of approved sureties can be found at http://www.fms.treas.gov/c570/c570.html#certified
The relevant software for electronic submission of crew and passenger manifest information, and links to user guides, can be found at the website download page of the National Vessel Movement Center (NVMC) of the US Coast Guard at http://www.nvmc.uscg.gov/download.aspx
The relevant page for submitting manifests on-line or for enrolment in the electronic APIS system can be found at https://eapis.cbp.dhs.gov