U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has put in a new temporary restriction regarding crew shore leave in New York and New Jersey following a recent spike in desertions, according to a statement.
“During a two-week period in September 2019, seven crewmembers deserted after being granted shore leave while in the New York/Newark seaport,” a spokesperson said.
The new rules also coincide with the spike in cruise traffic in the Northeast with fall foliage season.
“Crewmembers must now complete five contracts prior to being eligible for shore leave,” the spokesperson said. “CBP recognizes the hardship this may place on crewmembers; however, this protocol is necessary to address the increase of desertions at this port.”
On a recent call overnight call in New York, a senior officer told Cruise Industry News that only 9 per cent of his ship’s crew met the new criteria, which is not in place in other U.S. ports.