The Schengen Borders Code provides uniform rules regarding the exit and entry of seafarers on board sea-going vessels. Every Member State must apply these rules consistently and systematically. The rules allow for an efficient and pragmatic way of crossing borders in sea ports. An important element hereof is that non-EU seafarers receive an exit stamp at the border crossing point in the sea port before signing on the vessel, irrespective of the (actual day of) departure of the vessel.
Contrary to decades of stamping non-EU seafarers in and out in accordance with these rules of the Code, the Dutch Minister of Migration is now of the opinion that these seafarers should only receive an exit stamp when they immediately depart with the vessel. This opinion is in breach of the systematic set of rules for the exit and entry of seafarers that the Code prescribes. In addition, this interpretation will challenge border security, cause implementation problems and is expected to trigger an exodus of vessels to ports outside Schengen. The harmful economic effects are potentially enormous.
Therefore, Member States are called upon to lodge their written observations in the preliminary ruling proceedings before the European Court of Justice against the incorrect interpretation of the Dutch Minister of Migration.