After 10 years of trial and error the U.S. is finally ready to go paperless when it comes to vetting crews arriving on commercial ships. The new process is aimed at streamlining vessel arrivals and departures by eliminating redundant data submitted by vessel masters and agents and simplifying vessel inspections, “and thus generally establishing a fully paperless passenger and crew list process for all commercial vessel arrivals and departures,”.
Customs and Border Protection officers currently spend “considerable time vetting pre-arrival data, traveling to and from vessels, and conducting admissibility inspections and processing for vessel crews”. Aside from this, they also have to file Form I-418 and with this new transfer over to paperless, there will be lots of time to spare.
This program was test launched back in 2011; “Vessel operators participating in the program were allowed to submit crew-list data electronically to the U.S. Coast Guard’s National Vessel Movement Center through its electronic Notice of Arrival/Departure system.”.
With the new automated system requirement, CBP will be able to pre-vet a vessel’s electronic passenger and crew list from every commercial vessel arrival from a foreign port. Officers can travel to and from and board/disembark the vessel, conduct inspections, and record inspection results in real time using a mobile device.