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ITF blasts US plan to revoke seafarer visas

Global union, the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF), has blasted the US government for saying it will deny seafarers a US visa if they have worked on a vessel carrying a Iranian oil.

The ITF said the message by the US State Department that it would invoke anti-terrorism legislation to deny seafarers a US visa if they work on board a vessel carrying Iranian oil showed how little governments understood of the reality of seafarers working reality.

“It is unjust to blankly refuse visas to seafarers who may have been employed on board a vessel considered in breach of sanctions, and it does not hold the right people responsible,” stated Dave Heindel, ITF seafarers section chair.

“Seafarers, whether they are ratings or officers, rarely know where the vessel is bound. Ordinarily a vessel is instructed by the ship management company to sail a certain course with further directions to be given later. If a vessel is directed to an Iranian port, it’s common that the captain will be the only one who knows the destination a day or two before. The crew, especially ratings and lower-ranking officers, will not know and have no possibility to refuse or disembark the vessel during the voyage,” he said.

The US statement came as it continues to seek the arrest of the Iranian VLCC Adrian Darya  1, formerly Grace 1, detained in Gibraltar but later released as there was no evidence it breaking sanctions by delivering oil to Syria.

Read more: Adrian Darya 1 – ‘The most tracked ship in the world right now’