Federal law [33 U.S.C. § 1223(a)(5)] authorizes the Secretary of Homeland Security to require the receipt of prearrival messages from any vessel, destined for a port or place subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, in sufficient time to permit advance vessel traffic planning prior to port entry, which shall include any information which is not already a matter of record and which the Secretary determines necessary for the control of the vessel and the safety of the port or the marine environment. This authority has been delegated to the US Coast Guard.
Coast Guard regulations [33 CFR §§ 160.201 – 160.215] address the requirement for submittal of the Advance Notice of Arrival (NOA) and the Notice of Hazardous Condition. With limited exceptions, the regulations apply to US and foreign vessels bound for or departing from ports or places in the United States. The requirement does not apply to US recreational vessels, but does apply to foreign recreational vessels. The various exemptions are found at 33 CFR § 160.203. The information required to be included in the NOA is found at 33 CFR § 160.206. Note that the information requirement increases for vessels carrying Certain Dangerous Cargo (CDC), as defined at 33 CFR § 160.204. There are various methods for submitting an NOA, but the preferred method is electronically via the web site at the National Vessel Movement Center (NVMC). This is referred to as an electronic Notice of Arrival (eNOA). If the vessel is on a voyage of 96 hours or more, the NOA must be received by the NVMC at least 96 hours before the vessel enters a port or place in the United States. If the voyage is of less than 96 hours, the NOA must be received by the NVMC before the vessel departs for the US port or place, but at least 24 hours before entering the US port or place. Whenever there is a hazardous condition aboard the vessel or caused by the vessel, the master must immediately notify the nearest Coast Guard Sector Office, in accordance with 33 CFR § 160.215. [A separate written report of the condition may also be required by 46 CFR § 4.05-10].
Submittal of a complete eNOA fulfills the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) requirement to submit the Passenger List – Crew List, CBP Form I-418, but does not fulfill other CBP reporting requirements. Submittal of the NOA does not fulfill the requirement for ballast water management reporting.