Marine Link
Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Visa News

India Exempts Biometric Enrolment for Cruise Tourists with e-Visa

Image: Ministry of Tourism, Govt of India

With a view to promote cruise tourism in India, Cruise tourists to India with e-visas will be exempted from biometric enrolment till December 31, 2020, the government said. This will make immigration clearance of such passengers faster, leaving them with more time to spend on shore. This is also an important factor that helps cruise lines decide whether or not to include a destination in their itinerary. The Ministry of Shipping has been working towards simplifying the immigration…

CSR Protests Proposal to Eliminate Crew List Visas

The Center for Seafarers' Rights (CSR) of the Seamen's Church Institute of New York & New Jersey has called on the U.S. State Department to postpone the elimination of crew list visas until October 2004. means merchant mariners have for applying for shore leave until an adequate internationally acceptable replacement for an identity document exists," said Douglas B. Stevenson, Director of the Center for Seafarers' Rights. Currently, there are two varieties of United States crew visas: individual and crew list. By requiring visas, the U.S. prohibition on member states requiring visas as a condition of shore leave. Section 103 of the Maritime Transportation Security Act of 2002…

Progress on U.S. Crew Visa Situation

BIMCO's unrelenting efforts to illustrate the difficulties that U.S. visa policy has created in the maritime trades have now resulted in the acquisition of valuable advice and guidance provided by US officials. On September 17, BIMCO officials met with officials of the US State Department International Affairs Group in Washington DC to discuss concerns regarding US policy affecting foreign seafarers employed on ships trading to US ports. During the meeting BIMCO was informed that on 18 July 2003 the Director of the US State Department Office of Field Support and Liaison Visa Office sent instructions to all US Embassies and Consulates to give priority to seafarers seeking visas.

VISA Extended To 2003

The Maritime Administration (MarAd) published a notice in the Federal Register announcing the extension of the Voluntary Intermodal Sealift Agreement (VISA) for an additional two-year period, until February 13, 2001, pursuant to the provision of the Defense Production Act of 1950, as amended. The VISA program is the principal commercial sealift readiness program of the Department of Defense, and is sponsored by the Maritime Administration. The purpose of VISA is to make intermodal shipping services, intermodal equipment and related management services available to the DoD as required for emergency deployment and sustainment of U.S. military forces.

MARAD Extends Voluntary Intermodal Sealift Agreement

The U.S. Maritime Administration (MARAD) has extended the Voluntary Intermodal Sealift Agreement (VISA) program until October 1, 2019. The VISA program creates a partnership between the U.S. government and the maritime industry to provide commercial sealift and intermodal shipping services and systems necessary to meet military mobilization requirements. Through the VISA program, transportation solutions are developed in peacetime to anticipate Department of Defense requirements. The VISA program enables a seamless, time-phased transition from peacetime to wartime operations. More than 90 percent of the U.S. flag fleet vessels that the military can use to carry supplies are committed to the VISA program.

CSR Protests Proposed Higher Visa Fees

The Center for Seafarers' Rights of the Seamen's Church Institute of New York & New Jersey has called on the U.S. State Department to exempt crew visas from a proposed November 1 increase in visa application fees. cost of visas out of reach of many seafarers and ships' operators thereby depriving crews of shore leave in the United States," said Douglas B. Stevenson, Director of the Center for Seafarers' Rights. "Most foreign merchant mariners face extended periods at sea with long work hours and in cramped living conditions without contact with their families. Denial of shore leave so severely affects the mental and physical state of seafarers that the U.S. Most shore leave is denied to merchant mariners in the United States simply because they have been unable to obtain a visa.

DOS: Cost of non-immigrant Visa to Rise

The US Department of State issued a final rule amending the regulations regarding security measures for issuance of non-immigrant visas. Effective January 1, 2008, fingerprinting and name checks will be required for all visa applicants (with certain narrow exceptions not pertinent here). The cost of these additional security measures will be included in the fees for the visas. While not reflected in the Federal Register, the result of this amendment is that the application processing fee that a foreign mariner will be charged for a non-immigrant visa will rise from $100 to $131 on January 1. 72 Fed. Reg. 74174 (HK Law)

Seafarers Travel the World, Only See the Sea

ISF's Natalie Shaw: Photo credit ISF

The International Shipping Federation (ISF) calls on port states to facilitate  the right of seafarers to shore leave. ISF has made this proposal in a submission to the International Maritime Organization (IMO) Facilitation Committee, which next meets in April to consider its current review of the IMO Convention on the Facilitation of International Maritime Traffic (FAL). The FAL Convention includes a blanket prohibition on port states requiring seafarers to obtain visas in order to enjoy shore leave.

CSR Urges Support of Merchant Mariner ID Cards

Church Institute (CSR) of New York & New Jersey is urging the Hon. Secretary of State and the Hon. Tom Ridge, Secretary of U.S. identification cards. security of seafarers' identification. identification. said Mr. Douglas B. Stevenson Director of the Center for Seafarers' Rights. waiver or substitute has not yet been accepted in the U.S. and portions of the Department of Homeland Security. International Christian Maritime Organization's ILO standing delegation. responsibilities on board and ashore. known security risks, but simply because they do not possess D-1 visas. D-1 visas very difficult for foreign mariners to obtain. security," said Mr. Stevenson. Act of 2002 (e.g. biometric indicator). measures would provide a sufficiently high level of security.

The Treatment of Foreign Seafarers

The United States effectively treats foreign seafarers more harshly than any other group that enters the country without breaking the law. The general rule is that all persons who are not U.S. nationals or permanent residents must have a visa to enter the United States. Persons desiring to become U.S. citizens or permanent residents must obtain an immigrant visa. Most other persons desiring to enter the United States for a limited period of time must obtain a nonimmigrant visa. To obtain a nonimmigrant visa, one must have a valid passport and complete the Nonimmigrant Visa Application, Form DS-160 and submit it and a photograph (head shot) to the relevant U.S. embassy or consulate.

Elimination of Crew List Visas

Effective June 16, 2004, the U.S. Department of State is eliminating (on at least an interim basis) the issuance of crew list visas. application forms, submit a valid passport, and undergo an interview and background checks. substitution of the proposed ILO seafarer’s identification document for a valid passport and current visa. acknowledges, but discounts, the burden this new rule places on seafarers and their employers. submitted by May 17, 2004. has concluded that national security is at risk if those same crewmembers step on the dock to make a telephone call home. 69 Fed. Reg. 12797 (HK Law).

Proposal to Eliminate Crew List Visas

The U.S. Department of State has issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) that would, if adopted, eliminate crew list visas for crew members on foreign ships making port calls in the United States. As a result, any alien crew member needing to or wanting to come ashore in the United States would have to possess a valid personal passport and a valid U.S. visa. The State Department does note that there may be difficulties in getting individual visa requests processed in a timely manner and invites comments on this issue. Comments should be submitted by February 11, 2003. Source: HK Law

VISA Extended To 2003

The Maritime Administration (MarAd) published a notice in the Federal Register announcing the extension of the Voluntary Intermodal Sealift Agreement (VISA) for an additional two-year period, until February 13, 2001, pursuant to the provision of the Defense Production Act of 1950, as amended. The VISA program is the principal commercial sealift readiness program of the Department of Defense, and is sponsored by the Maritime Administration. The purpose of VISA is to make intermodal shipping services, intermodal equipment and related management services available to the DoD as required for emergency deployment and sustainment of U.S. military forces.

New Visa Interim Rule Issued

The U.S. August 1, 2003, severely restricting the authority of U.S. visas. Comments on this rule should be submitted within 60 days. to obtain U.S. United States in the near future. Even if they know of such U.S. calls, they may reside in a location distant from the U.S. consulate. official. 68 Fed. Reg. 40127 (July 7, 2003).

Columbia Coastal Transport Joins MARAD’s VISA Program

Columbia Coastal Transport, LLC, has been notified by Maritime Administrator, Captain William G. Schubert, that its application was approved for MARAD’s Voluntary Intermodal Sealift Agreement (VISA) program. Its acceptance into the VISA program allows Columbia Coastal to receive top-tier award priority for Department of Defense peacetime cargo. Columbia Coastal has also completed the contingency contracts for both the Military Traffic Management Command and Military Sealift Command which dictate terms and rates in the eventits vessels are utilized in time of war. “All of Columbia Coastal’s 14 barges are committed into the VISA program,” said Mr. Donovan Murray, General Manager Government Affairs at Columbia Coastal.

SCI Publishes Shore Leave Survey

With Maritime Labor Convention (MLC), 2006 in force, one might expect to see a reduction in the number of seafarers without visas; yet, recent data collected by the Seamen’s Church Institute (SCI) shows that not only are shipowners failing to pay for crewmember visas as required by the Convention but also flag states are failing to enforce the requirement. Shore leave significantly improves seafarers’ health and the safe and efficient operation of a vessel. The SCI’s Center for…

Coast Guard and INS: Moving Ahead on Port Security

Port security concerns are already resulting in crewmembers and caro being denied entry to U.S. ports. Even before Congress enacts a port security bill, Coast Guard and the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) are using their current authority to turn vessels with suspicious cargo away from port and deny crewmember shore leave. At the same time, Coast Guard is continuing to press the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to adopt significant new port security requirements on an international basis. In a recent incident, the Coast Guard did not allow a French ship to offload container cargo that was mislabeled and considered to be dangerous to the port.

CSR Protests New Rule that Further Erodes Shore Leave in U.S. Ports

U.S. State Department. States. In December 2002, the U.S. eliminate crew list visas. said Mr. Douglas B. Stevenson, Esq. Rights. International Labor Organization on the identity card issue," said Mr. Stevenson. crewmember visas at all. seafarers' rights issues. to merchant seafarers and seafarers' welfare agencies worldwide. protecting seafarers and improving maritime safety. New York City, and the International Labor Organization in Geneva. Seafarers' Rights in 1990, Mr. Stevenson served 20 years as a U.S. Guard Officer, retiring as a Commander. While in the Coast Guard, Mr. to the United Nations. Academy and the University of Miami School of Law.

U.S. Suspends Immediate and Continuous Transit Programs

Members are advised that the US Department of Homeland Security and the US Department of State issued separate, but coordinated, rules suspending the US Immediate and Continuous Transit Programmes. These programmes consist of the Transit Without Visa (TWOV) programme and the International-to-International (ITI) programme. Non-immigrant aliens, except those from visa waiver programme countries, must now have a US visa prior to arrival in the United States, even if just engaged in transit through the US to another foreign location. The Homeland Security proposed rule already states that, as of Saturday, 2 August 2003, the TWOV and the ITI programmes have been suspended.

ShipMoney Signs Marketing Agreement with SBNTEX

The Program Manager of the Visa ShipMoney Program announced that it has signed a multiyear Marketing and Business Development Agreement with SBNTEX, a wholly owned subsidiary of SBN Technologics. Under terms of the multiyear Agreement, SBNT will market and promote the ShipMoney Program to its customers and prospects throughout the world for the commercial maritime industry independently or as an integral component of SBNT’s payroll CTM module (PRC). S.B. Nair of SBNT stated, “Visa ShipMoney is a fantastic new benefit program for captains and crew that provides a safe…

It's VISA Open Season

The U.S. Maritime Administration (MARAD) issued a Notice stating that open season has commenced for enrollment of qualified shipping companies in the Voluntary Intermodal Sealift Agreement (VISA). Applications for enrollment must be submitted by June 1. 69 Fed. Reg. 25166 (HK Law).

ISF Disappointment at Slow Implementation of ILO 185

The International Shipping Federation (ISF), which represents maritime employers globally, says that the low level of implementation of the International Labour Organization (ILO) Convention 185, concerning the facilitation of shore leave and crew transits, is a continuing source of disappointment. Speaking in Manila this week, at a seminar organized 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.

Seafarer Shore Leave: MLC Business, or Not?

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 majority (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.

Maritime Reporter Magazine Cover Dec 2017 - The Great Ships of 2017

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