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Web Alert: US immigration order and its effect on ships calling US ports

31 January 2017

The club has received several queries from members regarding President Trump’s Executive Order (E.O.) entitled Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States.

There are immediate implications for members whose ships call in the US, including the following:

Crew shore leave and the possibility of enhanced security while in US ports

As the E.O. bans all immigrants or non-immigrant entry into the US of citizens from Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Somalia, Iraq, Iran and Libya for the next 90 days, crewmembers aboard ships entering US waters who are citizens of these countries will be denied entry to the US. At this time, it is not believed that ships carrying crew from these countries will be denied entry into US ports. However, members should anticipate that shore leave will be denied for those crewmembers and that enhanced security of the ship, including the use of armed guards, may be ordered by local immigration officials while the ship is in a US port.

Crew replacements

The E.O. may also affect crew replacements in the US and members should avoid crew changes in the US involving crew from Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Somalia, Iraq, Iran and Libya, regardless of their visa status, for the next 90 days.

Crew medical emergencies

If a crewmember from Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Somalia, Iraq, Iran and Libya requires emergency medical treatment while in the US, there is an exception under the E.O. that may allow the crewmember to be removed from the ship for medical treatment. The exception reads

'…the Secretaries of State and Homeland Security, may, on a case-by-case basis, and when in the national interest, issue visas or other immigration benefits to nationals of countries for which visas and benefits are otherwise blocked.'

Thus, government authorities may be able to use the exception to allow the crewmember to be treated in the US.

Freehill Hogan & Mahar has published a Client Alert regarding this subject. A copy of this alert is attached.

The club will continue to update members on this issue in due course.