Seafarers’ rights to shore leave have been amended, adding more provisions concerning shore leave, security and updated FAL forms.
These amendments, which have been effective since January 1, aim to strengthen seafarers rights to shore leave, as well as to achieve the smooth transit in ports of cargo, ships and passengers.
The formal enforcement of these amendments is expected to be in place by April 8, with provision for a transitional period of at least 12 months. During this transition period, companies will be allowed to to utilize paper and electronic devices for documentation. At the same time, forms, standards and practices related to the prevention of stowaways have been updated. These will be used for further transactions within the industry.
The amendments to the Convention on Facilitation of International Maritime Traffic will also be instrumental in bringing in new requirements, aside from the mandatory maritime training that seafarers, including those in the Philippines, must follow. These policies will include introducing electronic information exchange, including electronic data interchange (EDI), to transmit information that are crucial in maritime transport.
The new Facilitation of the International Maritime Traffic (FAL) forms covers International Maritime Organization (IMO) General Declaration; Cargo Declaration; Ships’ Stores Declaration; Crew’s Effects Declaration, Crew List, Passenger List and a list of Dangerous Goods carried by the vessel.
First adopted in 1965, the FAL convention aims to harmonize procedures needed upon a ship’s arrival, stay and departure, extending to its crew, cargo, passengers and baggage. With an objective to prevent delays due to ships, personnel and property on board, these amendments ensure that the convention adequately addresses the issues concerning the shipping industry and to facilitate and expedite international maritime traffic. (IMO)