Brazil- Immigration Controls on Seafarers

The American P&I Club has issued news alert regarding immigration controls on seafarers as follows:
Managers have become aware that the immigration authorities in Brazil appear to be taking inconsistent action as to whether seafarers’ identity documents comply with relevant ILO conventions. Brazil was reported to have ratified the ILO Convention 185/2003 in January 2010 and, concomitantly, denounced the earlier Convention of 1958 (108/1958).

Article 2 of the 2003 Convention provides that states must issue to each of their seafarer nationals (or to seafarers who have been granted permanent residence in such state’s territory), a seafarer’s identity document. Unlike the earlier 1958 Convention, the more recent treaty does not permit flag states to issue identity documents to non-national, or non-resident, persons.

The Brazilian authorities, however, appear to be taking the view that, because the ILO Convention of 2003 has not been sanctioned by the President of Brazil, it is not actually in force.

Accordingly, the view is being taken that the earlier Convention 108/1958 continues to apply. Notwithstanding this, your Managers are aware of instances where immigration officials in Rio de Janeiro appear to regard the ILO Convention of 2003 as being in force, and have imposed fines on crew members, and required deportation of such crew, if they do not leave Brazil within eight days, on the grounds that their seafarer’s identity documents do not comply with the 2003 Convention

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