One of the things that seafarers at sea look forward to is going for shore leave. This is one of the perks that seafarers enjoy so much as they can visit new countries and ports when they are on their shore leave. It is indeed a nice break from the monotony of work on board the ship.
Shore leave is defined as the period which a seafarer is allowed to leave the ship while the vessel he is working on is docked in the port. Some seafarers cannot go for their shore leave if the port turnaround time is very short or there are some security or immigration issues.
According to IMO, the amendment to the international standard on shore leave was made on 01 January 2018. The new provision states that there should be no discrimination on grounds of nationality, race, colour, sex, religion, political opinion, or social origin. Shore leave should be granted, irrespective of the flag State of the ship.
Shore leave is important to a seafarer as just like in any other profession, seafarers also require a break to unwind. Shore leave can provide a much needed breather for seafarers from their monotonous work routine which can lead to boredom on board the ship. Not being able to break away from such circumstances can lead to the seafarers suffering from mental conditions like stress, depression and home sickness.
If you are able to go for shore leave, do be reminded of the following points:
- Bring along proper documents
Carrying proper identification documents such as shore leave pass, seaman book is advisable as it can save the hassle if any shore authority were to run checks on you.
- International credit/debit card and local currencies
Having with you an international credit/debit card or their local currencies will enable you to make purchases easily without having to ask the shopkeeper for the exchange rate and some shopkeepers may not accept foreign currencies.
- Useful contacts
Make sure you have the useful contact numbers and information with you like the port agent’s number, address, name and address of the port, ship’s INMARSAT number or other contact number. You would not want to get lost somewhere and not knowing who to call.
How do you usually plan for your shore leave? What was your most memorable shore leave experience? Share with us by commenting below.