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Shore Leave Survey 2017

Picture the scene: you're a merchant seafarer, and you've been out at sea for three weeks. You arrive at a US port and you're hoping to spend just a few hours ashore, away from the ship that is both your workplace and your home for up to 9 months at a stretch. Your vessel's turnaround time in port is under 12 hours, so you'll have to be quick.

You have the appropriate visa and permits for shore leave, but there's a catch. There isn't a free service to transport you from the ship to the gates of the port, and for safety reasons you're not allowed to walk. Do you:

  • pay a $75 cab fare for escorts from and to your vessel?
  • pool your money with 6 other crewmembers and hire the ship's service to a nearby mall for $200?
  • hope your ship has paid the $450 terminal charge for you to cross the dock for shore leave?
  • wait for a port chaplain to come to collect you, glad that the ministry they provide is independently funded?
  • realize that it's out of hours for the port chaplains, and you'll have to stay aboard ship?

Believe it or not, seafarers arriving in US ports can face all of these scenarios to some degree or another, and they are the ones who are granted shore leave.

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