6 September 2002
Source: http://usinfo.state.gov/cgi-bin/washfile/display.pl?p=/products/washfile/latest&f=02090402.clt&t=/products/washfile/newsitem.shtml

US Department of State
International Information Programs

Washington File

04 September 2002

U.S. to Enhance Ways of Identifying High-Risk Sea Cargo

(Initiative addresses terrorist threat, U.S. Customs says) (430)

U.S. Customs has announced plans to enhance a program that protects
sea transportation from terrorist threat.

In a September 3 news release, the U.S. Customs Service said it
introduced August 19 the Sea Cargo Targeting Initiative, an automated
system that better identifies high-risk sea cargo destined for U.S.
ports and establishes new ways for dealing with these shipments.

The initiative, part of the wider anti-terrorist program launched by
the Customs Service after September 11, 2002, will add new identifying
criteria, ensure uniform handling of manifests and standardize
procedures and practices to ensure more thorough examination of
shipments pinpointed as high-risk by the targeting system.

Following is the text of the U.S. Customs news release:

(begin text)

Tuesday, September 3, 2002

U.S. Customs Implements Enhanced Anti-Terror Sea Cargo Targeting at
All U.S. Seaports

Washington, D.C. -- U.S. Customs officials have announced the next
step in the agency's multi-tiered program to protect international
commerce from terrorist infiltration. Customs introduced on August 19
the Sea Cargo Targeting Initiative, an automated system that better
identifies high-risk sea-going shipments into U.S. ports of entry and
establishes new policies for dealing with these shipments.

"The aim of this new initiative is to improve the way we address
high-risk cargo," said Customs Commissioner Robert Bonner. "The
challenge we face is constantly changing and our policies will evolve
accordingly. This initiative will better protect Americans and
seaports, and it will introduce greater uniformity, predictability and
efficiency to global commerce."

This initiative contains three major components:

-- Adding new criteria to U.S. Customs automated systems that reflect
the latest information about possible terrorist activities.

-- Ensuring that all manifests are processed through the Automated
Targeting System and reviewed by trained personnel.

-- Standardizing U.S. Customs procedure and practice when the system
pinpoints a high-risk shipment.

U.S. Customs officials anticipate more thorough examinations of cargo
deemed high-risk by the newly enhanced automated targeting system. All
high-risk sea cargo containers will be examined, at a minimum by
non-intrusive inspection technology, including gamma ray scanning,
radiation detection and integrity of the container seal and the
container itself.

This recently implemented Sea Cargo Targeting Initiative also is
designed to complement ongoing U.S. Customs efforts to enlist the
support of the trade community in protecting global commerce from
terrorist infiltration. Trade community participation in such programs
as the Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) will
facilitate and expedite clearance and movement of goods under this
enhanced cargo targeting system.

Commissioner Bonner said, "The Container Security Initiative (CSI),
the Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT), and the
Automated Commercial Environment (ACE) now under development are
designed to create a formidable triad in the war against terrorism."

(end text)

(Distributed by the Office of International Information Programs, U.S.
Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)