The U.S. Coast Guard is working to ensure the safety of the maritime transportation system in the aftermath of the tragedy in Japan. Based on an analysis by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, there is no indication that harmful radiation will reach the U.S., whether it is the West Coast, Hawaii, Alaska, or U.S. territories including Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.
The U.S. government has determined that radiation levels outside a zone of 50 miles centered on the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant do not pose a human health hazard. As a result, the Coast Guard has issued a Navigational Warning advising vessels to avoid transiting within a precautionary area of 50 miles of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.
As vessels and cargo which remain outside of the precautionary area do not pose any human health hazard, they will not be subject to additional screening or evaluation. Vessels known to have transited the precautionary area shall be considered for additional screening. However, the probability of contamination remains low for these vessels and any hazards are likely below levels considered to be hazardous to human health. Coast Guard Sector Guam will employ a three-part protocol to ensure the safety of vessels and cargo that have transited the precautionary area en route to Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands:
1. Perform an at-sea boarding to check for elevated levels of radiation on the vessel and its cargo.
2. Ensure on-dock screenings of all cargo offloaded from Japan to the Ports of Guam, Saipan, Tinian and Rota.
3. Ensure availability of appropriate emergency response teams if harmful levels of radiation are detected.
To date, there have been no vessels that have transited within the 50-mile zone around the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant en route to U.S. ports, including the Territories of Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. Moreover, normal shipping routes of vessels departing ports open for operations in Japan do not place any vessels within 100 nautical miles of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. The Coast Guard, at the highest levels, will continue to monitor the situation at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. Coast Guard Sector Guam will continue normal screening, boarding, and inspection procedures to ensure the continued safety and security of ports and waterways in Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.