Commercial Vessel Compliance

3/19/2018: Consolidated Cruise Ship Security Regulations Final Rule published

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The Coast Guard announced in the Federal Register publication of a Final Rule to eliminate outdated regulations that imposed unnecessary screening requirements on cruise ships and cruise ship terminals. This final rule replaces these outdated regulations located in 33 CFR parts 120 and 128 with simpler, consolidated regulations that provide efficient and clear requirements for the screening of baggage, personal items, and persons on a cruise ship. This final rule will enhance the security of cruise ship terminals and allow terminal operators to use effective screening mechanisms with minimal impact to business operations.

The enactment of the Maritime Transportation Security Act of 2002 (MTSA) largely superseded the requirements located in 33 CFR parts 120 and 128 with the requirements in 33 CFR Subchapter H, parts 104 and 105. As a result, parts 120 and 128 are now used only for their terminal security plan implementation requirements.

The final rule will improve regulatory clarity and efficiency by replacing the terminal screening procedures from parts 120 and 128 with updated terminal screening procedures laid out in the current MTSA regulations located in Subchapter H. The primary purpose of these changes is to provide more efficient and clear requirements for the screening of all baggage, personal items, and persons—including passengers, crew, and visitors—intended for carriage on a cruise ship, and enhance the security of cruise ship terminals, while minimizing disruptions to business operations. As a result, the changes will allow terminals an appropriate degree of clarity that accommodates and is consistent with their varying sizes and operations.

We estimate that this rule will affect 137 MTSA-regulated facilities, 131 cruise ships, and 23 cruise line companies. This rulemaking will have a one-time administrative cost for the development of a terminal screening program and for updating the Facility Security Plan for the prohibited items list. We estimate the one-time cost for these updates to be about $158,660 (undiscounted).

For full details, read the Final Rule.

If you have questions on this rule, call or email Lt. Cmdr. Kevin McDonald, Inspections and Compliance Directorate, Office of Port and Facility Compliance, Cargo and Facilities Division at 202-372-1168, or via email,

Prohibited Items List for Cruise Ships


This blog is not a replacement or substitute for the formal posting of regulations and updates or existing processes for receiving formal feedback of the same. Links provided on this blog will direct the reader to official source documents, such as the Federal Register, Homeport and the Code of Federal Regulations. These documents remain the official source for regulatory information published by the Coast Guard.

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