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Safe Containers for International Cargo
This statute was based on a 1977 law, as amended by Public Law 109-304 in 2006. The text shown here is as codified in Chapter 805 of Title 46 of the U.S. Code.

 

 


See also the SAFE Port Act:

See the full SAFE Port Act as enacted in 2006 (i.e., with some items unrelated to this subject but not including subsequent amendments to the law itself); this is a large PDF file.

 

See also the CENTRAL guide to Security, Sanctions, and Compliance for links to other laws on , as well as other U.S. laws on Maritime Security and related matters.

 

 


CHAPTER 805—SAFE CONTAINERS FOR INTERNATIONAL CARGO

§80501. Definitions

In this chapter:

(1) Container.—The term “container” has the meaning given that term in the Convention.

(2) Convention.—The term “Convention” means the International Convention for Safe Containers, and its annexes, done at Geneva, Switzerland, December 2, 1972.

(3) International transport.—The term “international transport” means the transportation of a container between—

(A) a place in a foreign country and a place in the jurisdiction of the United States; or

(B) two places outside the United States by United States carriers.

(4) Owner.—The term “owner” includes the lessee or bailee of a container if a written lease or bailment provides for the lessee or bailee to exercise the owner's responsibility for maintaining and examining the container.

(5) Safety approval plate.—The term “safety approval plate” has the meaning given that term in annex I of the Convention.

 

§80502. Application of Convention

The Convention applies to an owner of a container used in international transport if the owner is domiciled or has its principal office in the United States.

 

§80503. General authority of the Secretary

(a) In General.—The Secretary of the department in which the Coast Guard is operating shall carry out the Convention and this chapter in the United States.

(b) Regulations.—The Secretary shall prescribe regulations to carry out this chapter. The regulations shall—

(1) establish procedures for testing, inspecting, and initially approving containers and designs for containers, including procedures for attaching, invalidating, and removing safety approval plates for containers;

(2) establish procedures to be followed by the owners of containers for the periodic examination of containers as provided in the Convention; and

(3) provide a method for developing, collecting, and disseminating information about container safety and the international transport of containers.

(c) Safety Approval Plates.—If the owner of a container without a safety approval plate establishes that the container satisfies the standards of the Convention, the Secretary may authorize a safety approval plate to be attached to the container.

(d) Schedule of Fees.—The Secretary may prescribe a schedule of fees for services performed by the Secretary, or by a person delegated authority under section 80506 of this title, for the testing, inspection, and initial approval of containers and container designs.

(e) Encouraging Intermodal Transport.—To the maximum extent possible, the Secretary shall encourage the development and use of intermodal transport, using containers built to facilitate economical, safe, and expeditious handling of containerized cargo without intermediate reloading when it is being transported over land, air, and sea areas.

 

§80504. Approval and examination

(a) Domicile and Principal Office in United States.—A container owner domiciled and having its principal office in the United States shall have the container—

(1) approved initially under procedures prescribed by the Secretary of the department in which the Coast Guard is operating or by the government of another country that is a party to the Convention; and

(2) examined periodically as provided in the Convention under procedures prescribed by the Secretary.

(b) Domicile or Principal Office in United States.—A container owner domiciled or having its principal office in the United States shall have the container—

(1) approved initially under procedures prescribed by the Secretary or by the government of another country that is a party to the Convention; and

(2) examined periodically as provided in the Convention, under procedures prescribed by the government of the country in which the owner is domiciled or has its principal office, as long as that country is a party to the Convention.

(c) Neither Domicile Nor Principal Office in United States.—A container owner neither domiciled nor having its principal office in the United States or another country that is a party to the Convention may submit a container for initial approval and periodic examination under procedures prescribed by the Secretary.

 

§80505. Enforcement

(a) In General.—To enforce the Convention, this chapter, and regulations prescribed under this chapter, the Secretary of the department in which the Coast Guard is operating may—

(1) examine, or require to be examined, containers in international transport;

(2) approve designs for containers;

(3) inspect and test containers being manufactured;

(4) issue a detention order removing or excluding a container from service until the container owner satisfies the Secretary that the container meets the standards of the Convention, if the container—

(A) does not have a safety approval plate attached to it; or

(B) has a safety approval plate attached but there is significant evidence that the container is in a condition that creates an obvious risk to safety;

(5) take other appropriate action, including issuing necessary orders, to remove a container from service or restrict its use if the container is not in compliance with the Convention, this chapter, or regulations prescribed under this chapter, but does not present an obvious risk to safety; and

(6) allow a container found to be unsafe or without a safety approval plate to be moved to another location for repair or other disposition, under restrictions consistent with the intent of the Convention.

(b) Payment of Expenses.—

(1) Examination.—The owner of a container involved in an action by the Secretary under this section related to an examination of the container shall pay or reimburse the Secretary for the expenses arising from that action, except for the costs of routine examinations of the container or a safety approval plate.

(2) Testing, inspection, and initial approval.—The owner of a container submitted to the procedure established by the Secretary for testing, inspection, and initial approval, and the manufacturer of a container that submits a design to the procedure established by the Secretary for testing, inspection, and initial approval, shall pay or reimburse the Secretary for the expenses arising from the testing, inspection, or approval.

(3) Credit to appropriation.—Amounts received by the Secretary as reimbursement shall be credited to the appropriation for operating expenses of the Coast Guard.

(c) Presumption Based on Safety Approval Plate.—A container bearing a safety approval plate authorized by a country that is a party to the Convention is presumed to be in a safe condition unless there is significant evidence that the container is in a condition that creates an obvious risk to safety.

(d) Notice of Orders.—

(1) In general.—When the Secretary issues a detention or other order under this section, the Secretary promptly shall notify in writing—

(A) the owner of the container;

(B) the owner's agent; or

(C) if the identity of the owner is not apparent from the container or shipping documents, the custodian.

(2) Information to include.—The notification shall identify the container involved, give the location of the container, and describe the condition or situation giving rise to the order.

(e) Duration of Orders.—An order issued by the Secretary under this section remains in effect until—

(1) the Secretary declares the container to be in compliance with the standards of the Convention; or

(2) the container is removed permanently from service.

(f) Notice of Defective Container to Country Issuing Safety Approval Plate.—If the Secretary has reason to believe that a container bearing a safety approval plate issued by another country was defective at the time of approval, the Secretary shall notify that country.


§80506. Delegation of authority

(a) In General.—The Secretary of the department in which the Coast Guard is operating may delegate to any person, including a public or private agency or nonprofit organization, authority to grant initial approval for containers and designs and to attach safety approval plates.

(b) Regulations.—Before making a delegation under this section, the Secretary shall prescribe regulations establishing—

(1) criteria to be followed in selecting a person to whom authority is to be delegated;

(2) a detailed description of the duties and powers to be carried out by the person to whom authority is delegated, including the records the person shall keep; and

(3) the review the Secretary will conduct to decide whether the person is carrying out the delegated duties and powers properly.

(c) Inspection of Records.—A person delegated authority under this section shall make available to the Secretary for inspection, on request, records the person is required to keep.

(d) Penalties and Orders.—A person delegated authority under this section may not—

(1) assess or collect, or attempt to assess or collect, a penalty for violation of the Convention, this chapter, or an order issued by the Secretary under this chapter; or

(2) issue or attempt to issue a detention or other order.

(e) Publication.—The Secretary shall publish in the Federal Register or other appropriate publication—

(1) the name and address of each person to whom authority is delegated;

(2) the duties and powers delegated; and

(3) the period of the delegation.

(f) Revocation.—The Secretary may revoke a delegation of authority under this section at any time.

 

§80507. Employee protection

(a) Prohibition.—A person may not discharge or discriminate against an employee because the employee has reported the existence of an unsafe container or a violation of this chapter or a regulation prescribed under this chapter.

(b) Complaints.—An employee alleging to have been discharged or discriminated against in violation of subsection (a) may file a complaint with the Secretary of Labor. The complaint must be filed within 60 days after the violation.

(c) Enforcement.—The Secretary of Labor may investigate the complaint. If the Secretary of Labor finds there has been a violation, the Secretary of Labor may bring a civil action in an appropriate district court of the United States. The court has jurisdiction to restrain violations of subsection (a) and order appropriate relief, including reinstatement of the employee to the employee's former position with back pay.

(d) Notice to Complainant.—Within 30 days after receiving a complaint under this section, the Secretary of Labor shall notify the complainant of the intended action on the complaint.

 

§80508. Amendments to Convention

(a) Proposals by United States.—The Secretary of State, with the concurrence of the Secretary of the department in which the Coast Guard is operating, may propose amendments to the Convention or request a conference for amending the Convention as provided in article IX of the Convention.

(b) Proposals by Other Countries.—An amendment communicated to the United States under article IX(2) of the Convention may be accepted for the United States by the President, with the advice and consent of the Senate. The President may declare that the United States does not accept an amendment.

(c) Amendments to Annexes.—

(1) In general.—The Secretary of State, with the concurrence of the Secretary of the department in which the Coast Guard is operating—

(A) may propose amendments to the annexes to the Convention;

(B) may propose a conference for amending annexes to the Convention; and

(C) shall consider and act on amendments to the annexes to the Convention adopted by the Maritime Safety Committee of the International Maritime Organization and communicated to the United States under article X(2) of the Convention.

(2) Action following approval or objection.—If a proposed amendment to an annex is approved by the United States, the amendment shall enter into force as provided in article X of the Convention. If a proposed amendment is objected to, the Secretary of State promptly shall communicate the objection as provided in article X(3) of the Convention.

(d) Appointment of Arbitrator.—The Secretary of State, with the concurrence of the Secretary of the department in which the Coast Guard is operating, shall appoint an arbitrator when one is required to resolve a dispute within the meaning of article XIII of the Convention.

 

§80509. Civil penalty

(a) In General.—An owner, agent, or custodian who has been notified of an order issued under section 80505 of this title and fails to take reasonable and prompt action to prevent or stop a container subject to the order from being moved in violation of the order is liable to the United States Government for a civil penalty of not more than $5,000 for each container moved. Each day the container remains in service while the order is in effect is a separate violation.

(b) Assessment and Collection.—

(1) In general.—After notice and an opportunity for a hearing, the Secretary of the department in which the Coast Guard is operating shall assess and collect any penalty under this section.

(2) Factors to consider.—In determining the amount of the penalty, the Secretary shall consider the gravity of the violation, the hazards involved, and the record of the person charged with respect to violations of the Convention, this chapter, or regulations prescribed under this chapter.

(3) Remission, mitigation, or compromise.—The Secretary may remit, mitigate, or compromise a penalty under this section.

(4) Enforcement.—If a person fails to pay a penalty under this section, the Secretary shall refer the matter to the Attorney General for collection in an appropriate district court of the United States.