The World Shipping Council and its member companies are working with governments on programs to improve the processes for screening personnel working in the maritime industry and to ensure that seafarers are given an opportunity to go on shore leave when they have fulfilled a port states' landing requirements.
The World Shipping Council has been working internationally and with the U.S. government on efforts to improve the credentialing and screening of personnel working in the maritime industry.
International Seafarer's Identity Documents Convention
The International Labor Organization (ILO) adopted a revised Seafarers' Identity Documents Convention in June of 2003. Although the U.S. participated in the negotiations that resulted in the new seafarer credential, it is unclear what role, if any, the new credential will have in the U.S., in part because the biometric identifier parameter of the ILO credential is incompatible with existing U.S. programs. Learn more about the ILO Seafarer' Identity Documents Convention.
U.S. Transportation Worker Identification Credentials
The Maritime Transportation Security Act of 2002 (MTSA) mandated that the U.S. government develop and issue transportation worker credentials, after completing background checks on all applicants.Use of these credentials, called Transportation Worker Identification Credentials (TWIC) for workers at U.S. marine terminals and port facilities, became mandatory as of April 15, 2009. Read more from the TSA about the Transportation Worker Identification Credential.
Documentation Requirements for Shore Access
U.S. Crew Visas
Effective August 2003, the U.S. discontinued the practice of allowing the use of crew list visas for seafarers, which enabled the crew of a vessel to be covered by a single visa for the purpose of shore leave, signing on or off a vessel and transiting from one vessel to another. Each seafarer is now required to obtain an individual visa from a U.S. embassy or consulate. Learn more from the U.S. State Department.
Advance Crew Data Filing Requirements
U.S. Advanced Passenger Identification System
Vessel operators are currently required to submit information regarding their crew and passengers to U.S. Customs and Border Patrol's (CBP) Advanced Passenger Identification System (APIS) via the U.S. Coast Guard's electronic notice of arrival and departure (eNOA/D) web portal.Submission of this information on the eNOA/D satisfies virtually all of the U.S. government's advance data requirements for crew and passengers. The World Shipping Council has been working with CBP and the U.S. Coast Guard to eliminate the remaining paper crew and passenger manifest (I-418 form) filing requirement, since the data on this form is already being collected via the eNOA/D. Learn more from CBP about APIS and eNOA/D.
U.S. Visitor and Immigrant State Indicator Technology
In January of 2004, the U.S. implemented the United States Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology or US-VISIT program, which currently only applies to seafarers when flying into or departing the U.S. by plane. Read more from DHS about the US-VISIT program.