Technical specifications

Customs seals and fastenings used for the international transport of goods shall meet the following requirements :

1. Essential characteristics

The seals and fastenings, together, shall

(a) be strong and durable;

(b) be capable of being affixed easily and quickly;

(c) be capable of being readily checked and identified;

(d) not permit removal or undoing without breaking, or tampering without leaving traces;

(e) not permit use more than once;

(f) be difficult to copy or counterfeit.

2. Physical specification of seals

(a) The shape and size of the seals may vary according to the sealing system used, but the size shall be such that all identifying marks are readily legible.

(b) In order to prevent tampering, each eyelet in a seal shall be of a size corresponding to that of the fastening used, and shall be positioned so that the fastening will be held firmly in place when the seal is closed.

(c) The material used shall be selected by reference to the sealing system used (e.g., pincer or pistol-type die press system; a self-locking system).

(d) The material used shall be sufficiently strong to prevent accidental breakage, early deterioration (due to weather conditions, chemicals, etc.) or undetectable tampering, but sufficiently malleable to allow for easy imprinting of the identification marks.

(e) The material used shall be one of the following :

- aluminium, pure or alloy;

- steel, including steel alloy;

- lead alloy;

- pure lead, on condition that the sealing system provides special safeguards to counter the inherent softeness of the metal.

3. Sealing presses

(a) The presses may be of the pincer type, with a die in each jaw, or of the pistol type, with a sliding piston.

(b) The marks imprinted by the press shall be perfectly clear and the seal held properly in place when affixed.

4. Identification marks

The seal, or fastening, shall be marked to show

(a) that it is a Customs seal by application of the word Customs preferably in one of the official languages of the Customs Co-operation Council (English or French);

(b) the country which applied the seal, either by its name in full or by the distinctive signs used to indicate the country of registration of motor vehicles in international traffic;

(c) the Customs office where the seal was affixed, this office being identified, for example, by its name in full, by means of a code letter or number, or by using the number of the sealing press or the serial number of the seal itself.

5. Fastenings

(a) The fastenings shall be strong, durable and resistant to weather and corrosion and shall consist of :

(i) wire (of iron, steel, copper, etc.), multiple or consisting of a fine wire wound spirally round a thicker wire core; or single strand wire, on condition that the sealing system provides special safeguards to avoid the risks involved with the smooth surface of this material; or

(ii) metal bands (of steel, aluminium, etc.); or

(iii) cords of textile string (true hemp, flax, cotton, etc.) combined with wire (copper, brass, steel, etc.), whether or not the cords are impregnated with artificial plastic material; or

(iv) extile string, on condition that the type of string used provides special safeguards to counter the inherent weakness and extensibility of this material.

(b) The length of fastening used shall not permit a sealed aperture to be opened or partly opened without the seal or fastening being broken or otherwise showing obvious damage.