8/23/2018: Seamen’s Church Institute releases 2018 Shore Leave Survey

Editor’s note: For the convenience of our readers, Maritime Commons is sharing the Seamen’s Church Institute 2018 Shore Leave Survey to help raise awareness among owners/operators of port facilities and the Coast Guard prevention workforce of seafarer access concerns reported to port ministries at various ports throughout the country. The survey is only one of several tools and products the Coast Guard uses to inform rulemakings and policies on matters related to seafarer access and should not be viewed as the definitive source on which the Coast Guard will base any decision. Some text in this blog comes from an article written by Seamen’s Church Institute staff published on its website Aug. 16, 2018. It is used here with permission.

Last week, Douglas B. Stevenson, Esq., Director of the Seamen’s Church Institute Center for Seafarers’ Rights presented the findings of the 2018 Shore Leave Survey to Rear Adm. John Nadeau, assistant commandant for prevention policy, at Coast Guard Headquarters in Washington D.C.

SCI’s Center for Seafarers’ Rights (CSR) has completed annual shore leave surveys since 2001. The surveys are conducted for one week each year and provide an assessment of seafarers’ ability to go on shore leave in the United States. During the survey week, port chaplains from ports around the United States keep records of seafarers’ shore leave on the ships they visit. They then share their data with the Center for Seafarers’ Rights.

“The United States Coast Guard greatly values our relationship with the Seamen’s Church Institute and other organizations dedicated to seafarer welfare,” said Nadeau, following the presentation. “The annual survey provides valuable insight regarding access for shore leave and highlights some of the current challenges and opportunities.”

As part of the 2018 Shore Leave Survey, North American Maritime Ministry Association members and other port ministries in 23 United States ports visited 338 vessels at over 133 terminals. In total, 6,444 seafarers from 59 different countries were represented in the analysis.

A summary of the survey’s findings include:

• During the survey week, 90.9 percent of the foreign seafarers on ships calling at ports in the United States were allowed to go ashore. This data indicated a trend of gradual improvement in seafarers’ access to shore leave in U.S. ports (90.5 percent in 2017 and 89.7 percent in 2016).
• The most common reason (58.4 percent) for denial of shore leave resulted from the failure of a seafarer to have a valid United States visa. Other reasons for denial of shore leave included:

o Exceeding 29 days in the United States (10 percent)
o CBP denial of shore leave (7.5 percent)
o C-1 transit visa restrictions (5.8 percent)
o Operational requirements of the vessel (3.6 percent)
o Company policy (2.7 percent)
o Unspecified (12.1 percent)

“As leaders in the maritime community, it is incumbent upon each of us to recognize the importance of shore leave and access to seafarers’ welfare organizations,” Nadeau said. “We must work together to facilitate crew morale, readiness, and personal well-being, while also remaining steadfast in ensuring port security.”

For more information on the findings, visit the Seamen’s Church Institute website or contact them at 973-589-5828.

To report potential issues related to crewmember access to shore leave, contact the Seamen’s Church organization or your local Coast Guard Captain of the Port.

Photo of Douglas Stevenson and John Nadeau

Douglas Stevenson, Esq., (left) with Seamen’s Church Institute and Rear Adm. John Nadeau, assistant commandant for prevention policy. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Lisa Novak.

This blog is not a replacement or substitute for the formal posting of regulations and updates or existing processes for receiving formal feedback of the same. Links provided on this blog will direct the reader to official source documents, such as the Federal Register, Homeport and the Code of Federal Regulations. These documents remain the official source for regulatory information published by the Coast Guard.

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