Nautilus International, a union of maritime professionals has sent a letter to UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson expressing concerns at the impact of US President Trump’s executive orders on immigration and their effect on the shipping sector.
Union general secretary Mark Dickinson called on the minister to exploit the UK’s ‘special relationship’ with the US in securing appropriate clarity on rights for British seafarers with regards to shore leave, transit, transfer or repatriation in the US.
“Shipping is of fundamental importance to world trade and the global economy and, in turn, the movement of seafarers is critical to maritime operations. The need for seafarers to have ‘special protection’ is enshrined within the international convention ILO 185 on Seafarers’ Identity Documents, which recognises the principles of facilitating their shore leave, transit, transfer or repatriation”, wrote Dickinson.
“There are serious safety and welfare issues at stake if seafarers are unable to join or leave their ships as planned. Some owners are already being advised not to arrange crew changes in the United States for citizens of the identified countries, including flights with transit through the US, and the already restrictive policies for seafarers’ shore leave in many US ports are – we fear – likely to become even more extreme,” the union said.