Commercial Vessel Compliance

4/15/2015: IMO amendment adopted- Requirement for electronic exchange of pre-arrival and departure information

At its 40th session (April 4th to 9th, 2016), the International Maritime Organization Facilitation Committee (FAL) adopted an amendment to the FAL Convention that would require public authorities to establish, within three years after adoption, a system for the electronic exchange of the pre-arrival and departure information called for in the Convention.

The amendments also requires that public authorities provide at least 12 months for shipowners and other parties to transition to electronic submission of information when the system is made mandatory by the public authority. The amendment is estimated to become effective in 2018.

This decision follows seven years of discussions within the FAL Committee to conduct a comprehensive revision of the Convention with a view to ensuring that it adequately addresses the present and emerging needs of the shipping industry, taking into account transmission of information and data by electronic means and the single window.

The amendment would apply to the Coast Guard, Customs and Border Protection, and other Federal agencies and is intended to reduce the administrative burden on ships’s crews, owners, operators, agents and other parties who submit information for clearance.

The Facilitation Committee recognizes the cyber implications of electronic data exchange and plans to collaborate with the IMO Maritime Safety Committee on guidelines to protect these systems.

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