American unions who are the leaders of this effort, include the International Organization of Masters, Mates, and Pilots and the Marine Engineers' Beneficial Association, both of which are affiliates of the Nautilus Federation. Several other organizations have signed, including the International Maritime Employers’ Council and the Chamber of Shipping of America.
It is reported that the letter asks the CBP to ensure all crew change requests are granted at any port requested, unless specific intelligence suggests an individual seafarer may pose a security threat.
In addition, the signatories ask:
- repatriating crew be allowed to take flights with domestic connections to expand options for seafarers to return home as quickly as possible. This should apply for the duration of the pandemic, and perhaps longer
- if CBP grants a repatriation request and the flight is missed or cancelled, CBP should allow overnight hotel stays so the crewmember can board the next available flight, the on-signing seafarer can join the ship, and the ship can continue on its voyage as scheduled
- CBP should allow for innovative solutions to the worsening problem, such as allowing seafarer welfare organisations or others to charter flights for groups of mariners without the normal restrictions
- CBP give field personnel leeway to implement these suggestions and standardise procedures wherever possible.
Concluding, the letter was sent to the leaders of the congressional committees with juers, ranking member; and to Representative Bennie Thompson, chair of the House Committee on Homeland Security and Representative Mike Rogers, ranking member.risdiction over US CBP: Senator Ron Johnson, chairman of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs and Senator Gary Pet