Except as otherwise prescribed in regulations, any vessel at any foreign port or place clearing or departing for any port or place in a State or possession shall be required to obtain from the consular officer of the United States or from the Public Health Service officer, or other medical officer of the United States designated by the Surgeon General, at the port or place of departure, a bill of health in duplicate, in the form prescribed by the Surgeon General. The President, from time to time, shall specify the ports at which a medical officer shall be stationed for this purpose. Such bill of health shall set forth the sanitary history and condition of said vessel, and shall state that it has in all respects complied with the regulations prescribed pursuant to subsection (c). Before granting such duplicate bill of health, such consular or medical officer shall be satisfied that the matters and things therein stated are true. The consular officer shall be entitled to demand and receive the fees for bills of health and such fees shall be established by regulation.
Original bills of health shall be delivered to the collectors of customs at the port of entry. Duplicate copies of such bills of health shall be delivered at the time of inspection to quarantine officers at such port. The bills of health herein prescribed shall be considered as part of the ship’s papers, and when duly certified to by the proper consular or other officer of the United States, over his official signature and seal, shall be accepted as evidence of the statements therein contained in any court of the United States.
The Surgeon General shall from time to time prescribe regulations, applicable to vessels referred to in subsection (a) of this section for the purpose of preventing the introduction into the States or possessions of the United States of any communicable disease by securing the best sanitary condition of such vessels, their cargoes, passengers, and crews. Such regulations shall be observed by such vessels prior to departure, during the course of the voyage, and also during inspection, disinfection, or other quarantine procedure upon arrival at any United States quarantine station.
The provisions of subsections (a) and (b) of this section shall not apply to vessels plying between such foreign ports on or near the frontiers of the United States and ports of the United States as are designated by treaty.
It shall be unlawful for any vessel to enter any port in any State or possession of the United States to discharge its cargo, or land its passengers, except upon a certificate of the quarantine officer that regulations prescribed under subsection (c) have in all respects been complied with by such officer, the vessel, and its master. The master of every such vessel shall deliver such certificate to the collector of customs at the port of entry, together with the original bill of health and other papers of the vessel. The certificate required by this subsection shall be procurable from the quarantine officer, upon arrival of the vessel at the quarantine station and satisfactory inspection thereof, at any time within which quarantine services are performed at such station.