From the Executive Director concerning the Joint Open Letter to United Nations Agencies and National Governments from the International Christian Maritime Association (ICMA) Facilitating Crew Changes and Access to Port Welfare Facilities Throughout the COVID-19 Crisis
The Seamen’s Church Institute’s Board of Trustees, Executive Director, and Staff acknowledge and wholeheartedly endorse the International Christian Maritime Association (ICMA) letter to United Nations agencies, dated 20 March 2020, urging the facilitation of crew changes and ships’ crews movement with minimal obstacles and emphasizing the need to keep shore-based seafarers’ welfare facilities open during the COVID-19 crisis. ICMA’s letter to the UN may be found here.
Current United States policy, by Presidential Proclamations, has suspended entry into the United States persons who had been physically present in various countries during the14 days preceding the entry or attempted entry. In all of the proclamations, however, ships’ crews with transit or crewmember visas (C and D visas) are excluded from the entry bar. In other words, the bars to entry into the United States do not apply to ships’ crews. Seafarers who are not quarantined should be allowed shore leave and crew changes in the United States. All US based chaplains or ship welfare visitors who encounter a problem in their ports are encouraged to contact SCI’s Center for Seafarer Rights at [email protected] for advice and assistance during this time.
The Rev’d Mark S. Nestlehutt
President & Executive Director
The Seamen’s Church Institute