Seafarers get grant for big, barely used van

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Port of Vancouver -- Since 2008, when new Homeland Security rules kicked in for American ports, seafarers landing at the Port of Vancouver USA "cannot even step on the ship's gangway" without a federally approved escort, according to the latest newsletter of the Fort Vancouver Seafarers Center. The only legal way for visiting ship crews to step onto land and explore the community -- and the hospitality of the Seafarers Center -- is via official transport. But one van was totalled and another wasn't up to the job, so the FVSC obtained a grant from the International Transport Workers Federation Seafarers Trust, based in London, for a barely used van. It bought a 2011 Ford 350 with 26,000 miles and room for 15 people. Now the group has two vans -- one for ship-to-center runs and one for leaving the port.