Crew Leave Transit Visa Hassles Disappoint ISF

Press Release
Sunday, November 18, 2012

The International Shipping Federation (ISF) concerned at low implementation levels of ILO Convention 185.

Speaking in Manila, at a seminar organised by the International Federation of Shipmasters' Associations (IFSMA), ISF Director of Employment Affairs, Natalie Shaw, explained that the ILO Seafarers’ Identity Documents Convention (ILO 185) - which ISF helped to negotiate on behalf of employers in 2003 - was adopted as part of a package of measures following the terrorist attacks in 2001.

“The wide ratification of the Convention would have materially assisted the welfare of seafarers as well as addressing the security concerns of port states.” said Mrs Shaw.

She explained that under the terms of the Convention, and as a part of a quid pro quo for requiring seafarers to carry new ILO identity documents, port states were meant to find ways of making access to shore leave easier. 

However, according to ISF, insistence by Port States that seafarers must obtain visas in advance of arrival in port is still a major problem in the United States, Europe and elsewhere. 

One of the problems connected to the low level of implementation by governments of ILO Convention 185 is that the technical specifications for the required seafarers’ identity documents are different to those used in passports or by the aviation industry.

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