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Immigration authority regulates crew transfers in Brazil


01/07/2020 - 3:20 | Author: Proinde

Update 1 July 2020: Interministerial Ordinance Nº 340 of 30 June 2020 extended the ban, with wider exceptions, until 30 July 2020. Ordinances 255/2020 and 319/2020 were revoked. Read more here.

Published on 23 May 2020:

Brazil ratified the ILO Convention C185 of 2003 in 2010, resulting in the denunciation of the ILO C108 of 1958. The immigration authority (Federal Police) has nonetheless been accepting seaman’s books issued under either Convention to permit shore leave, transfers and transit of foreign seafarers in Brazil, though only ILO C185 is legally in force.

Ordinance 255 of 22 May 2020, which validity has been extended until 5 July 2020, imposed a temporary ban on the entry of foreign nationals, regardless of nationality. Among the exceptions, the regulation permits disembarking of seafarers for medical treatment or direct repatriation. It also allows “the entry and stay of a foreign seafarer who has an international seafarer’s identification document issued under the terms of International Labour Organization Convention, whose admission is required by the shipping agent to the Federal Police to perform specific duties on board a vessel or platform operating in jurisdictional waters”.

Given the uncertainty about which ILO Convention the regulation referred to, the Ministry of Justice’s General-Coordination of Labour Immigration issued Informative Note n° 2/2020, clarifying that “the ordinance provides for a distinct treatment for seafarers with an international seafarer’s identification document or passport that attributes the status of the seafarer, both issued by a country that is a signatory to Convention No. 185 of the International Labour Organisation – ILO. The entry and stay of that person will be evaluated and decided upon by the Federal Police through a request submitted by the shipping agent. It is supported by this differentiated treatment those who, according to the migratory regulations and depending on the length of stay and the type of vessel, can enter and remain in Brazil using seafarer’s documents upon the dispensation of an adequate visa, be it a visit visa or a work visa”. (Section 2.1.4 , underline added)

Currently, the only international airports carrying international passengers are those of Sao Paulo (GRU), Campinas (VCP) and Rio de Janeiro (GIG); however, we understand that only the Federal Police station on the latter has been specifically requiring a seafarer’s document of identity issued by an ILO C185 signatory country to authorise transfers of crewmembers. Most of the seafarers who work in the offshore and maritime support industries arrive in Brazil through Rio de Janeiro.

Regardless of the seafarer’s identification document, In the context of the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak, all crewmembers who arrive at Brazilian airports to join a vessel or platform in Brazil must undergo a 14-day quarantine ashore before boarding the vessel.

More information on the immigration controls on seafarers can be found here.

Published: 23 June 2020. Update: 1 July 2020

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