COVID-19: Govt paves way for return of stuck seafarers to homes, issues guidelines for crew change


File photo of Cochin Shipyard. Photo - Wiki/CC BY-SA 3.0

File photo of Cochin Shipyard.
Photo – Wiki

The government has come out with guidelines for change of crew at Indian ports, a move that will put an end to hardships faced by stuck seafarers and pave way for them to return to their homes.

Under the standard operating procedure (SOP), any seafarer would be allowed sign on at the port of embarkation only after test for COVID-19 is found negative, failing which action as per guidelines of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare would be taken.

Shipping Minister Mansukh Lal Mandaviya on Wednesday in a statement said, “Crew change at sea ports will be possible now with the issuance of the SOP by the Ministry of Home Affairs. This will put an end to hardships faced by thousands of seafarers.”

“Change of crew of ship (seafarers) is an important measure for operation of merchant ships. The Ministry of Home Affairs has issued SOP… This SOP has been formulated to streamline the sign-on/sign-off of Indian seafarers at Indian ports for merchant shipping vessels,” the shipping ministry said in the statement.