You've Been Voted Off . . . By CBP

Just when I thought things were getting dull, Wayla Guy tipped me to this story.

First, just so CBS knows, my firm has an office in New York and we are happy to come by for a meeting. We'll bring sandwiches if you want.

The story is that upon wrapping the 17th season of its reality show Survivor, CBS shipped a container of goods back to the U.S. The show had filmed in Gabon, West Africa. Note surprisingly, the shipment contained lots of Africana including animal skulls and hides, ceremonial masks, ostrich feathers, shells and various bones.

OK, first things first, people familiar with Fish & Wildlife regulations should have that tingling of Spidey-sense. What kind of shells and bones? Do we have a Convention on the International Traffic in Endangered Species problem? What were the masks made of? Could there be elements from protected species used to decorate those masks?

As John McLaughlin would say, Issue Two: The merchandise was apparently infested with termites and other vermin including some linked to Ebola virus. What? Skip APHIS and call the CDC right away. Ebola virus is supposedly the most deadly virus on earth. According to The Hot Zone by Richard Preston, which I highly recommend, people infected with Ebola quickly fall apart inside and bleed to death from every orifice of their body. Now, I am not saying Ebola was in the container, the story just says that there were pests associated with Ebola in the container. That's good enough for me to be wary. I hereby pass on any invitation to spend New Years Eve at Jeff Probst's house.

Issue Three: The manifest data for the shipment identified the goods as American Goods Returned. At first, I was floored by this. How could ceremonial masks and ostrich feathers be US goods returned? Then I started thinking about the importer. After all, this is CBS--a television production company. If there is one thing they are likely to have, it is a giant warehouse of props. They probably have stuff from Tarzan movies and old episodes of Daktari to recycle as Tribal Council chotzkes. So maybe they are are US origin. I certainly don't know. If it was actually US goods returning, I am sure that CBS has the necessary documents to support the claims.

Issue Four: The CBP spokesperson says in the article that ALL packages containing US goods are inspected to ensure that foreign merchandise is not commingled. Really? All such packages? Clearly there are more inspectors out there than I had known.

Last thing: Was that Erin Moran in Daktari the same as Joanie Cunningham in Happy Days and Joanie Loves Chachi? Who knew?

I will now extinguish my torch and leave Tribal Council.


Anonymous said…
Hi Larry...I was ROFLMAO....great article. - Matt in compliance land

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