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CBP Restrictions for Cruise Ship Crew in New York and New Jersey

Due to the increased number of crew members who joined cruise lines with the intent of jumping ship and stay in the USA illegally, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) imposed new restrictions. The new temporary restrictions regarding shore leave in the ports in New York (Brooklyn and Manhattan) and New Jersey (Cape Liberty) states that only crew members with completed five contracts can go ashore. This is industry-wide and affects all cruise ships entering these ports. As for now, these restrictions apply only for New York and New Jersey.

According to CBP statement, obtained by Cruise Industry News, last month seven crewmembers failed to return to the ship.

“During a two-week period in September 2019, seven crewmembers deserted after being granted shore leave while in the New York/Newark seaport. Crewmembers must now complete five contracts prior to being eligible for shore leave. CBP recognizes the hardship this may place on crewmembers; however, this protocol is necessary to address the increase of desertions at this port.” a spokesperson said for Cruise Industry News.

As we were informed this is not the first time these restrictions are applied by CBP. According to a notification on crew information board posted last year on Norwegian Cruise Line ships calling to New York, shore leave was denied for crew in their first and second contract unless they are US Citizens, LPR's, Canadian or VWP.

ncl statement for cruise ship crew

The reason why CBP has increased the restrictions from two to five completed contracts is not known. Some speculate that even long time crewmembers decide to leave the ships and stay in the USA illegally.

Last week MSC crew member has shared the crew restriction announcement placed onboard MSC Meraviglia with a list of 38 crew members allowed to go outside. Today October 18, Meraviglia arrived in New York again, and a new updated list was posted with around 150 crew members approved to go ashore in New York.

attention announcement on cruise ship

The crew member says “Departments heads explain that the list is based on European crew allowed to go out but in the list there’s a lot of Latin American and Italian crew that have just one contract and that doesn’t sound right since the first New York only 6 or more contracts were allowed to go out. There’s a lot of first contracts in the list, the majority are Italians that complained to the purser first time they weren’t allowed to go out”

Has CBP eased the restrictions in the meantime?