Disputes With Immigration Authorities

A significant part of current P&I Correspondent activities amounts to administrative cases including disputes with Immigration Authorities. In Ukraine, administrative cases are subject to several laws: the Code of Administrative Transgressions, the Customs Code, and the Immigration Regulations, to name a few. Under the Law, administrative matters should be finally settled by a local court. A Master can represent Shipowners in the court together with a local lawyer for administrative cases. He is also entitled to authorize a local lawyer to represent Shipowners with a special power of attorney. Despite a relatively small amount of administrative fine, the cases may entail severe sanctions like detention/administrative arrest with consequent deportation of crewmembers without valid identifying documents; ship’s detention/delayed sailing from the port, etc. Case study During the vessel inspection, immigration authorities have found that the Chief Engineer had two passports: Russian and Ukrainian. Both of them were legally valid. Double citizenship is prohibited in Ukraine. The Chief Engineer was a resident of Sevastopol, Crimea, and obtained his Russian passport after the annexation of Crimea in 2014. However, he kept the Ukrainian passport as well. Immigration authorities drafted a protocol on infringement of immigration rules; both passports and a seaman’s book were seized. All materials of the case have been passed to the local court together with both passports and the seaman’s book. Upon Club’s/Shipowners’ request we discussed the case with the Master, agent, and the Chief Engineer before the hearings. As a result, the Chief Engineer was well prepared for the hearings. We attended court hearings, provided legal assistance, provided our explanations to the judge, and convinced the judge to return the passports and the seaman’s book.

P&I Correspondents’ recommendations

• Contact P&I Correspondents asap to avoid further complications

• Correspondent shall communicate with the ship’s agent and the Master, and get all necessary information about the case

• Collect all pieces of evidence, a crew list, protocol, and other documents

• Send regular updates to the Club / Shipowners and inform immigration authorities about our participation

• Discuss the situation with a crewmember before the court hearings to get his explanations in writing in form of relevant statement

• Accompany your crewmember in the court and explain your legal position to the judge