Proceedings Spring 2014
Father Oubre is a Catholic priest of the Diocese of Beaumont, Texas, where
he has headed the Apostleship of the Sea ministry to seafarers. He sits on the
MSU Port Arthur Waterway Advisory Committee where he advocates for
shore leave, seafarer welfare, and commercial fshing concerns.
Mr. Joseph Keefe is a licensed mariner and a 1980 graduate of the Massachu-
setts Maritime Academy. Mr. Keefe brings more than 30 years of experience
in the maritime industry. He started out as a deck offcer on a variety of
platforms including service with the Military Sealift Command and a major
oil trading and transportation company. He is the editor of the Maritime
Professional and MarineNews print magazines.
Missions, Maritime Security, United States Coast Guard, Department of Home-
land Security, June 28, 2013.
Title 33 Code of Federal Regulations §105.200(b)(9).
Center for Seafarers' Rights, 2013 Shore Leave Survey. New York/New Jersey: The
Seamen's Church Institute. Available at www.seamenschurch.org/sites/default/
Visit the Department of State's website at http://travel.state.gov/visa/temp/types/
Reported by Deacon Wayne Lobell of the Apostleship of the Sea – Archdiocese of
New Orleans for one of the facilities along the Mississippi River.
2013 Shore Leave Survey. The Seamen's Church Institute, Center for Seafarers'
Rights, October 2013. Available at www.seamenschurch.org.
Federal Agencies Have Taken Actions to Address Risks Posed by Seafarers, but Efforts
Can Be Strengthened. Washington, DC: United States Government Accountability
Offce. Report to the Ranking Member, Committee on Homeland Security, House
of Representatives; GAO 11-195, January 2011.
all-encompassing shore leave denial that is the rule and not
the exception at U.S. ports.
The job of going to sea has arguably never been more dif-
fcult. Seafarers arriving at U.S. ports without reasonable
access to downtime ashore endure low morale, but the real
cost is much higher. Safety and manning standards, insur-
ance costs, ill-will abroad, and a measurable weakening of
the supply chain that links this nation to the rest of world,
is surely the unintended byproduct of a misapplied U.S.
security standard for seafarers. Those costs are frst felt by
those who run commercial vessels. Eventually, it will touch
us all in one way or another.
About the authors:
CDR Rob Smith is the division chief of the Vessel & Facility Operating Stan-
dards Division, U.S. Coast Guard headquarters. He is a 1992 graduate of
the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, holds a B.S. in maritime transporta-
tion and two M.S. degrees. While assigned to Coast Guard Sector Houston-
Galveston, CDR Smith oversaw implementation of the 2009 enforcement
of TWIC and MTSA regulations, which affected mariner shore leave and
access to vessels on the Houston Ship Channel.
Father Sinclair Oubre is an able seaman in the U.S. Merchant Marine. He
served on the Merchant Marine Personnel Advisory Committee for 16 years.
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