Coast Guard says eight U.S.-bound ships a security risk

Coast Guard says eight U.S.-bound ships a security risk

WASHINGTON -- Of 150 foreign-flag ships due to arrive at U.S. ports on July 1, the U.S. Coast Guard has only found eight that have not reported that they have International Ship Security Certificates, the agency said on Wednesday.

Eighty-one percent of the arriving vessels reported their ISSC in their 96-hour advance notice of arrival, which is required under new security rules.

The Coast Guard contacted directly those ships that had not reported, but so far have been unable to contact eight. Some of those still may have ISSCs that they neglected to report earlier.

Coast Guard spokeswoman Jolie Shifflet said that the reporting process is new for ships and the agency, so it is making an extra effort to contact arriving vessels.

"If vessels don't report properly, they could be delayed," Shifflet said.

The Coast Guard did not say to which U.S. ports the vessels were headed.

Among some 9,200 U.S.-flag vessels and 3.200 port facilities subject to the Maritime Transportation Security Act rules, Shifflet said that less than 1 percent may be shut down on Thursday for noncompliance.

-- R.G. Edmonson