438 - 11/05 - The Carriage of Dangerous Cargoes - Rule Violations and Penalties - USA


The shipping of undeclared/misdeclared cargoes on board ship in containers continues to be a major concern to the industry. Violations of the regulations are common.

The following, in order of frequency are those violations most commonly found in the USA.

  • Failing to enter the proper description of the hazardous material
  • Failing to make or sign a 'shippers certification' on the shipping paper
  • Failing to properly label the hazardous material container or package
  • Offering a hazardous material in an unauthorised package
  • Failing to mark the overpack with the shipping name, etc. when required
  • Failing to properly identify hazardous materials on a shipping paper that also contains non hazardous material entries
  • Failing to enter the basic description of the hazardous material in the proper sequence
  • Failing to mark a non bulk package of hazardous material with the shipping name and/or identification number
  • Failing to list the emergency response number for an individual who assumes responsibility for said function
  • Failing to properly mark the hazardous material as required
  • Labels not clearly visible or the labels are obscured
  • Failing to enter the technical name in association with the proper shipping description
  • Failing to mark the package with orientation arrows as required
  • Failing to secure package of hazardous material against movement
  • Failing to enter the total quantity of hazardous material on the shipping paper
  • Failing to mark the overpack with a statement that inner packagings comply with the hazardous material regulations
  • Offering a hazardous material without preparing a shipping paper (none)
  • Failing to include the words ‘limited quantity’ or ‘(LTD QTY)’ as required
  • Improper package marking
  • Failing to enter the packing group on the shipping paper.

Shippers should be aware that criminal penalties can be sought where repeated violations are found. Criminal penalties for wilful violations may include a penalty of up to $500,000 and five years imprisonment.

Source of information:

Hazardous Technical Information Services

Richmond, Virginia



Staff Author