Seafarers’ unions, shipowners press for right of shore leave
Seafarers’ trade unions and major international shipowners’ organizations have formed a coalition to press for the right of seafarers to take shore leave despite new antiterrorist rules.
The coalition comprises the International Transport Workers’ Federation, the International Shipping Federation, the Baltic and International Maritime Council, the International Chamber of Shipping, the International Association of Dry Cargo Shipowners and the International Association of Independent Tanker Owners.
“All concerned will join to back the day’s aim of encouraging improved security and to remind governments — especially the United States — that this is best achieved by working together, not by treating visiting seafarers as potential terrorists,” the coalition said in a joint statement.
The action appears to target mainly the security restrictions imposed by the United States against non-U.S. seafarers.
On Sept. 30, World Maritime Day, members of the seafarer unions and shipowners’ associations “will come together to ask governments to allow mariners the hard-earned rest that they enjoy from stepping ashore — sometimes after weeks confined on board ships at sea.”
“The most acute problems have been in the U.S. where, in addition to the frequent denial of shore leave for seafarers, some companies have also been required to pay for armed guards to prevent crewmembers from leaving the ship,” said Chris Horrocks, secretary general of the London-based International Shipping Federation.