Customs to target sea-going cargo

| Friday, September 20, 2002

U.S. Customs has taken the next step in a multi-tiered program to protect international cargo from terrorists. The Sea Cargo Targeting Initiative is an automated system that identifies high-risk sea-going shipments into U.S. ports of entry. Customs said the initiative would produce more thorough examinations of high-risk cargo by allowing agents to be stationed at overseas ports.

The initiative contains three major components:

Adding new criteria to Customs' automated systems to reflect the latest information about possible terrorist activity;

Ensuring that all manifests are processed through the Automated Targeting System and reviewed by trained personnel; and

Standardizing procedures that Customs uses when the system identifies a high-risk shipment.

Customs said all high-risk sea containers would be examined by non-intrusive inspection technology such as gamma-ray scanning, radiation detection, checking of container seals and more internal container checks.

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