Shipping Companies have recently arranged 7 chartered flights carrying seafarers from Srilanka, Brazil, UK and are expected to land in Goa in the coming week
Flights have been chartered by Princess Cruises Company, MSC Cruises, Costa Cruises, and P&O Co and are expected to bring back home about 2000 seafarers. This will help the stranded ones as they are working on extended contracts and suffering from anxiety and depression due to the pandemic.
About 200 odd Goan seafarers who arrived are undergoing seven days of institutional quarantine in hotels and will be sent to home quarantine on Friday.
270 crew members whose vessels docked in Mumbai and who arrived via flight from Colombo, Srilanka were tested negative for COVID-19 and were sent to paid institutional quarantine.
Allegations were raised that the government is yet again punishing the seafarers by keeping them in paid institutional quarantine even after they test negative. They are also charged for COVID tests. This is viewed as ‘money-making ploy’ of the government bodies by the Goan people. A genuine argument that was raised is that seafarers have come from the safest place after 2 months of isolation.
There are reports where the family members of seafarers are holding protests in Quepem over the SOPs that the government has framed.
They even submitted a memorandum to the collector of South Goa, Margao. The memorandum questioned the unfair SOPs for seafarers which are incomparable with the seemingly better SOPs for domestic and international arrivals.
Wearing masks and holding placards and following social distancing norms they protested and demanded immediate action to bring back the stranded seafarers and called for lifting paid quarantine and COVID tests.
The shipping companies, despite the fact that they have lost business for the last 2 months due to COVID are willingly bearing the cost of travel for seafarers.
If they are charged heavily for COVID tests and institutional quarantine they might stop reemploying these people. This will in turn result in job loss, rise in unemployment, and adversely affects Goan livelihoods. Seamen constitute the backbone of the Goan economy and they help to bring in foreign currency.
The scrapping of quarantine fees is highly demanded.
Reference: heraldgoa.in | indiatimes.com