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Monday, December 11, 2017

Shore leave for seafarers contributes to safety

The shipping industry has formed a united front to call on governments and authorities worldwide for cooperation not confrontation when dealing with seafarers in the context of tighter maritime security.

The Round Table of international shipping associations stands alongside the ITF (International Transport Workers’ Federation) in a campaign highlighting the right to shore leave. The IMO has chosen Maritime Security as the theme of this year’s World Maritime Day on 30 September. On that day, seafarers, their employers and their trade unions will unite to ask governments worldwide to allow mariners the hard-earned rest they need when they spend a few hours ashore after weeks or months confined on board their ship.

The temptation is there for security enforcement authorities to go for the easy way out by refusing seafarers the right to go ashore and threatening dire consequences if anyone so much as sets foot on shore. This has been seen in practice, especially in the U.S., since the July 1st enforcement of the ISPS Code.

The shipping industry is therefore actively encouraging authorities to work together with the ships arriving in their ports, rather than treating visiting seafarers as potential terrorists. As the shore leave campaign gathers pace, hundreds of letters will be despatched to governments and administrations; posters and leaflets entitled ‘No right to shore leave?’ will be distributed; ships in port will be encouraged to sound their sirens at 1200 local time on 30 September.

Shore leave is essential for the physical and mental well-being of those who work on board ships, and therefore as a consequence is also vital for maritime safety and for the protection of the environment.

Contact: Bill Box