Public involvement, including attendance at Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) public meetings, enhances the public’s confidence in the FMC and improves our ability to carry out our mission of maintaining an efficient and competitive international ocean transportation system and protecting the public from unlawful, unfair and deceptive ocean transportation practices. This guidance, which emphasizes transparency, open government, and enhanced public participation presents the FMC’s policy and procedures for the public and media when attending FMC meetings.
Public notice of each Commission meeting, including the date, time, location, agenda, and contact information is posted on the Commission’s public website at www.fmc.gov, approximately 7 days in advance of the meeting.
Building Access and Security Considerations
Attendees at FMC meetings will experience enhanced security procedures. Visitors should allow adequate time for security protocols which include FMC visitor registration, badging, and sign-in procedures. These procedures and certain restrictions on cell phone, taping equipment, and camera usage are discussed in more detail below. Attendees at all FMC sponsored meetings should expect to encounter the following security measures, which are in place to protect our employees and visitors, alike.
Visitor Registration, Badging, and Sign-in Procedures
All visitors attending meetings at FMC Headquarters will be screened through metal detectors, and their bags and/or packages will be x-rayed. All visitors age 18 and older must present a government issued picture ID and register their name, organization, time, destination, and purpose of their visit. All reporters and members of the media must self-identify with the building security guards so that any additional FMC support and services may be provided.
- Public Spaces on 1st Floor & Lower Level: Registered visitors are free to move about without an escort in public spaces located on the first-floor lobby area, lower level, and, when open for a meeting, the Commission’s First Floor Hearing Room.
- FMC Offices on 9th and 10th Floors: Any visitor going above the first-floor lobby level must display an FMC visitor badge and be escorted by an FMC employee at all times.
Mobile Phones, Taping Equipment and Cameras
Portable electronic devices are allowed in FMC buildings, including the FMC’s First Floor Hearing Room at 800 North Capitol Street during public meetings. This includes mobile phones, pagers, smartphones, digital or other electronic tablets, two-way radios, audio/data recorders, and portable computers.
- Use of electronic devices such as mobile phones, smartphones, pagers, two-way radios, etc., that could interrupt or distract from FMC public meetings is not permitted, and during meetings, these devices must be turned to “Silent or Quiet” mode.
- Use of cameras and video recording devices, including smartphones or other mobile computing devices, as well as still photography devices are permitted during Commission public meetings with the advanced written approval of the Secretary of the FMC.
- To ensure approval, written requests should be submitted to Secretary@fmc.gov no later than 48 hours prior to an FMC meeting. Individuals that obtain written approval to use cameras and video recording devices must arrive at least 15 minutes prior to the start of the FMC meeting to allow for timely and orderly set-up. Individuals arriving after this time will not be permitted to set-up cameras or video recording devices.
- The FMC reserves the right to control media activity to ensure that any activity will not be disruptive to an FMC public meeting. Individuals who obtain written approval to use cameras and video recording devices will be escorted by the Secretary of the FMC or her designee to the location in the Commission’s Hearing Room reserved for taping/camera equipment. Individuals will not be permitted to walk around or otherwise move about the FMC Hearing Room. Please note that the FMC will not make special equipment accommodations such as allowing access to the sound system or providing access to power sources.
Signs, Banners, Posters & Displays
Signs, banners, posters and displays not larger than 18″ x 18″ are permitted at FMC meetings; however, they may not be waved, held over one’s head or generally moved about in the meeting room because they will distract the participants and audience. Signs, banners, posters, and displays affixed to sticks, poles, and the like are not permitted in the meeting room.
Whenever practicable, the FMC will make a reasonable effort to provide webcasting for public portion of Commission meetings. Information about webcasting will be provided in individual notices posted on the FMC website.