I have heard from a bulk operator that the Somali pirates’ practice of holding seafarers to ransom is also alive in Louisiana. The IMTT facility in St. Rose was trying to charge ship operators using the terminal $500 to allow seafarers shore leave. They claimed it was the USCG that set the rules. That is boloney, a USCG Admiral told me that they are very keen that seafarers should get proper shore leave and they don’t want terminal operators to put obstacles in the way of that. It is simply ransoming seafarers by keeping them locked up on the ship if the company doesn’t pay. Unfortunately it is a practice which is still prevalent in many parts of the USA, and it is a disgrace. Seafarers need shore leave and if they meet the tough requirements of the US immigration officers then it is not the role of port operators to deny them that. Somali pirates are poor and desperate people struggling to make a living in a lawless land. Terminal owners who charge to allow seafarers to go ashore are just greedy and heartless criminals.