CIVMARs travel the world with MSC, seeing and experiencing different countries and cultures first hand. This also means you will pass through customs and be subject to the laws of different countries. While you are underway, be conscious that laws and customs vary from those in the US and from place to place, and that regardless of location you are required to abide by those rules.
Human Resources Advisory
Compensatory Time Off for Travel for CIVMARs
Compensatory Time Off for Travel (CTFT) applies to official travel that has been authorized outside a CIVMAR’s regular working hours. CIVMARs’ normal work day is eight hours per day. Although the number of hours worked per week by CIVMARs varies, depending upon the position held, base rates of pay apply over the full seven-day work week. CTFT is creditable after a CIVMAR has worked/traveled in excess of the first eight hours per day, unless specified below:
- Time outside of regular working hours actually spent traveling between the official duty station and a temporary duty station;
- Time outside of regular working hours actually spent traveling between two temporary duty stations;
- The usual waiting time (up to 90 minutes, two or three hours before the scheduled departure, depending on whether the land transport or flight is domestic or international) preceding or interrupting such travel (waiting at an airport, train station, etc. prior to departure) outside of regular working hours;
- Travel outside of regular working hours between an employee’s home and a temporary duty station or transportation terminal outside the limits of their official duty station, in excess of the employee’s normal commuting time is creditable towards compensatory travel time (normal commuting time is not creditable time in a travel status); and
- The waiting time (one to two hours before the scheduled departure, depending on whether the flight is domestic or international) is considered “usual waiting time” and is creditable time in a travel status if outside normal working hours.
CIVMAR Travel Advisories
Hotel Lodging Receipts Cannot Use Online Booking Agent
**(Sent to the Fleet 08/19/2011 - **Information originally sent T 10/28/2010 Via CIVMAR Travel Advisory 2010-04 “THIRD PARTY HOTEL RECEIPTS – JTR UPDATE”)
Attention All Travelers:
In compliance with the November 2010 change to the JTR, published 31 October 2010, the MSC Travel Office will no longer be able to pay lodging expenses, if you have used an online booking agent and additionally the hotel where you stayed will not give you an itemized receipt. In most cases, the hotel is not a party to the contract between you and the third-party vendor, e.g., Hotels.com or Priceline.com. Therefore, they are not required and will not provide an itemized receipt.
The remedy is that you avoid Travelocity.com, Expedia.com, Hotels.com, Priceline.com, and any other online booking agents for lodging. The easiest and safest way to make lodging reservations is to do it directly with the hotel/motel/lodging facility.
JTR Reference: C4555-B5: Online Booking Tool. Despite any savings realized through online booking agents, subject to service requirements the Commercial travel office (CTO) should be used for lodging arrangements or the traveler should reserve a room directly with the hotel/chain, including the hotel’s online website. Lodging reimbursement is not authorized for hotel lodging obtained through online booking agents, unless an itemized receipt from the hotel is provided.
Travel Advisory to the Mediterranean
I have been informed by Mr. Lonzar of MLS Trieste that he has noticed a trend with personnel traveling by air to Trieste to meet ships. What he has noted (in at least three occasions now) is that personnel are arriving at the airport with several cartons of cigarettes or bottles of spirits in their possession. (In one case an individual arrived with a dozen bottles of wine and in another with 24 cartons of cigarettes!)
Italian customs are frowning at this and are either confiscating the material or are having the individuals pay hefty customs dues. Not only is this impacting the workload of the agent who is usually contacted by customs and/or the individual traveling, but it is also impacting the individual on travel who is ultimately paying significant fines for a few cartons of American cigarettes or a couple liters of spirits.
I am not sure what advice individuals on travel are being given when they leave CONUS. If MSC and/or the ships management companies are not advising crewmembers on travel to Italy (and the Mediterranean) to limit the quantity of taxable items such as spirits, tobacco products, etc. they may want to consider doing so.
Travel Advisory to the Persian Gulf Region
I have had a situation develop that has to be passed to all arriving crew members in Gulf AOR.
We have one newly arriving crewmember who had his luggage confiscated due to what the local customs agents are calling pornographic material. The crewmember is aboard the ship and on the advice of the Local USDAO Port liaison, the crewmember will not report to the airport in person to claim luggage due to risk of detainment. According to the husbanding agent, the best option was for me to write letter to customs, asking for release of the belongings and to then retain the movies in question, which the crewmember wisely agreed to. The husbanding agent is working to get the crewmember’s belongings, including several valuables, returned to the ship but this is not a given.
PLEASE ADVISE ALL ARRIVING MARINERS TO NOT CHANCE BRINGING MOVIES OR PORNOGRAPHY INTO GULF PORTS, OR THEY RISK LOSS OF BELONGINGS, CONFINEMENT AND/OR FINES.
Even movies we Westerners would NOT classify as pornography may be considered such in Muslim countries. Adding to the fact that this incident happened during Ramadan only exacerbated the issue.
This is an important notice to all CIVMARs and Navy personnel!