USCG Advisory on insecure West African ports

23 January 2008

Under the USA's Maritime Transportation Security Act (MTSA), the US Coast Guard (USCG) has a mandate to evaluate the effectiveness of anti-terrorism measures in foreign ports. Where the USCG determines that a country or port is not maintaining acceptable anti-terrorism measures, the USCG can impose conditions of entry on vessels arriving at a US port but which have recently called at such a country or port.
The USCG has previously imposed conditions of entry on ships that have called at certain ports in Equatorial Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia and Mauritania and a recent USCG Port Security Advisory has added selected ports in Cameroon to the list.
The Advisory sets out the actions that must be taken by the ship while in a listed port and confirms that all actions must be reported to the USCG Sector Commander prior to arrival in the US.
Vessels that visited the listed countries during their previous five port calls will be boarded at sea by the USCG to ensure compliance with the mandatory security measures.
A determination of non-compliance "will result in denial of entry into the United States."
Vessels which have complied will nevertheless be required to arrange and pay for armed security guards while in the US port.
A copy of the Advisory is attached.
Readers may also be interested to note that, in response to the Advisory, BIMCO has reminded its Members of the need to incorporate into their charterparties the appropriate ISPS/MTSA clause. Further details can be obtained from