The Center for Seafarers
' Rights (CSR) of the
Seamen's Church Institute of New York & New Jersey has formally protested
the elimination of the personal appearance waiver for visa applicants by the
U.S. State Department. The ship's operators will now have to bring the
entire crew to a consular office in order for the seafarers to receive
crewmember D-1 crew list visas required for shore leave in the United
In December 2002, the U.S. State Department announced its intention to
eliminate crew list visas.
"The State Department responded to international criticism over its
intention to eliminate crew list visas by making them impossible to get,"
said Mr. Douglas B. Stevenson
, Esq. Director of the Center for Seafarers'
"This action also controverts efforts in the worldwide maritime community to
reach a consensus on an international seafarers' identity card and
contradicts the products of recent discussions that took place at the
International Labor Organization on the identity card issue," said Mr.
The United States already places a significant hardship on foreign merchant
mariners by being the only major maritime country in the world that requires
crewmember visas at all.
The Center for Seafarers' Rights of the Seamen's Church Institute is a
worldwide resource for legal research, education, advocacy and assistance on
seafarers' rights issues. The Center provides free counseling and referrals
to merchant seafarers and seafarers' welfare agencies worldwide. The Center
also works to improve national and international laws and practices
protecting seafarers and improving maritime safety. CSR participates in IMO
meetings, States Parties to the United Nations Law of the Sea Convention in
New York City, and the International Labor Organization in Geneva.
Before joining the Seamen's Church Institute as Director of the Center for
Seafarers' Rights in 1990, Mr. Stevenson served 20 years as a U.S. Coast
Guard Officer, retiring as a Commander. While in the Coast Guard, Mr.
Stevenson served in a variety of legal and operational assignments,
including command at sea and a diplomatic post at the United States Mission
to the United Nations. He is a graduate of the United States Coast Guard
Academy and the University of Miami School of Law.