Page 47: of Maritime Logistics Professional Magazine (Q3 2014)

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MLC Seafarer Shore Leave: MLC Business, or not? By Joseph Keefe Statistics The Seamen?s Church Institute?s (SCI) Center for Seafarer?s Rights conducted its thirteenth annual Seafarer Shore Leave Survey during the week of May 18-24, 2014. Port ministries in 27 U.S. ports visited 416 vessels with 9,184 crewmembers (representing 60 nationalities). A total of 1,030 seafarers on 97 vessels were denied shore leave. An overwhelming major- ity (86%) of these seafarers were denied shore leave because they did not have visas. Other reasons for shore leave denials included terminal restrictions (7%), vessel operations (7%) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection restrictions (< 1%).The problem, well known here in the United States, makes a dif cult job even harder, especially considering that some of these mariners spend six months or more on board and never get to even go down the gangway during that period. Which brings up another issue: should the denial of shore leave be considered a violation of the newly enacted Maritime Labour Convention (MLC 2006)? We think it is. This year?s survey was the  rst SCI conducted after MLC came into force. Stan- dard A1.4 Section 5(b) of the code requires shipowners to pay for seafarers? visas. Furthermore,  ag states must verify shipowners? compliance with the MLC, 2006 recruitment and placement requirements, which include Standard A1.4 Section 5(b), before issuing a Maritime Labour Certi cate. Curiously, approximately 79% of the seafarers denied shore leave be- cause they did not have a visa were serving on ships registered in countries where MLC is in force. Notably, these included Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Cyprus, Greece, Liberia, Malta, Marshall Islands, Panama, Philippines and Singapore. SHORE LEAVE RESTRICTIONS: Ninety-seven of the 416 vessels (23.3%) had at least one seafarer on board denied shore leave, representing about 11 percent of the mariners on those ves- sels. Compared to last year?s survey, this year?s data shows an increase in shore leave denials?both in the percentage of ships with at least one seafarer denied shore leave and in the percentage of seafarers denied shore leave. Where it was possible to deter- mine seafarers? nationalities, more than one-half of those detained for lack of visas were from the Philippines (484) with China (148) a distant second. Reports also detail that 70 seafarers (approxi- mately 7%) were denied shore leave because of vessel operations. | Maritime Professional | 4734-49 Q3 MP2014.indd 4734-49 Q3 MP2014.indd 478/13/2014 3:19:38 PM8/13/2014 3:19:38 PM

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Maritime Logistics Professional magazine is published six times annually.