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Ships passenger inspection including diplomats and VIPs

STEPS PROCEDURES FOR THE INSPECTION OF A SHIP’S PASSENGERS, INCLUDING DIPLOMATS AND VIPs
1 – 5 Refer to Basic Requirements
6 Make an initial evaluation of the passenger and baggage.
7 Read the passenger declaration form/ clarify the declaration through questioning.

–  Declared items

–  Occupation

–  Signed

If necessary ask the following questions:

  • Do you understand the questions on the form?
  • Are all these bags yours?
  • Did you pack your own baggage?
  • Are you aware of the content of these bags?
  • What is the purpose of your stay here?
  • What other countries have you visited? Etc.
8 Permit those passengers who you consider do not meet your risk profile to enter the country.
9 Inspect other passengers’ baggage for declared items and/or inspect based on profile of passenger after questioning. For diplomats and VIPs, see below.
10 If no regulated goods are detected,  the passenger is permitted entry.

If regulated goods are detected, the items must be seized.

11 After questioning the passenger following detection, determine if the material is to be permitted entry, reconsigned or destroyed.

Collect specimens for identification.

12 Release goods or detain material and complete documentation.
13 Place the intercepted/detained goods in secure custody with a copy of the passenger declaration.

Diplomats have special privileges with respect to compliance with national laws that are covered by the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations and Optional Protocols 1963. Most countries are signatories to this agreement.

Diplomats are not, however, exempt from baggage inspection or searching of any personal effects as cargo.

The convention clearly states the circumstances under which baggage and goods belonging to a diplomat may be searched. Regarding the diplomatic bag, Article 50 Section 3 states:

It may be inspected only if there is serious reason to believe that it contains articles other than those referred to in sub-paragraph (b) of paragraph 1 of this Article, or articles the import or export of which is prohibited by the laws and regulations of the receiving State or which are subject to its quarantine laws and regulations. Such inspection shall be carried out in the presence of the consular officer or member of his family concerned.

Therefore, the diplomat must be made aware of the reasons for the search and the process must be dealt with sensitively in the presence of the diplomat.

VIPs are not covered by any international agreements. They are considered to be guests of the government and therefore may be given specific exemptions by some government ministry, probably foreign affairs.  It is important that the biosecurity office liaises with the authorities to ensure that the privileges of a VIP do NOT include exemptions from compliance with the quarantine laws.

Find out who grants VIP status for visitors and develop an information package that is sent to the VIP before the flight to your country.

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