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As of 26 October 2018, the US Coast Guard will impose conditions of entry on vessels that arrive in the country after visiting certain ports in Iraq as one of their last five ports of call.

According to a Federal Register notice published on 12 October 2018, the United States Coast Guard has determined that only three Iraqi port facilities are currently maintaining effective anti-terrorism measures: The Al-Basrah Oil Terminal, the Khor Al Amaya Oil Terminal and Al Maqal Terminal 14, and that conditions of entry will be imposed on vessels that have visited any other Iraqi port as one of their last five ports of call.  

The policy announced in the notice takes effect on 26 October 2018 and under the conditions of entry, affected vessels must:

  • implement measures in accordance with the vessel’s security plan equivalent to Security Level 2 while in a port in Iraq;
  • ensure that each access point to the vessel is guarded and that the guards have total visibility of the exterior (both landside and waterside) of the vessel while the vessel is in ports in Iraq;
  • attempt to execute a Declaration of Security while in a port in Iraq;
  • log all security actions in the vessel’s security records; and
  • report actions taken to the relevant Coast Guard captain of the port (COTP) prior to arrival into US waters.

In addition, based on the findings of the Coast Guard boarding or examination, vessels may be required to ensure that each access point to the vessel is guarded by armed, private security guards while in US ports.

Members and clients with vessels calling at ports in Iraq which may call at ports in the US in the near future, are strongly advised to review the conditions and ensure compliance while the vessel is in port in Iraq.

The US International Port Security Program

Under the US Maritime Transportation Security Act (MTSA), the US Coast Guard is required to assess the effectiveness of antiterrorism measures implemented in foreign ports from which US documented vessels and foreign vessels depart on a voyage to the US. As ports with ineffective antiterrorism measures are identified, this information is published in the Federal Register.

The US Coast Guard’s latest Port Security Advisory, PSA 1-18 of 15 October 2018, which includes a list of countries that do not maintain effective anti-terrorism measures and are subject to conditions of entry, can be found on the International Port Security website.