The Ministry Of Home Affairs (MHA), India has granted permission to ship management companies for using chartered flights to bring back stranded seafarers.
The government also gave permission to Costa Cruise Company to repatriate 414 Indian seafarers stuck on cruise ships in Italy.
According to a memorandum, three special chartered aircrafts arranged by Costa Cruise Company will be used to bring the Indian nationals from Italy. The flights will directly land at Dabolim airport.
However, the airline operators shall have to adhere to strict guidelines issued by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and Ministry of External Affairs And DGCA.
More shipping companies have applied for permission to operate charter flights to bring in seafarers who have been stuck on ships due to the Covid-19 crises.
Recently, an IMO circular was issued stating that shipping companies and all other organisations involved have 30 days to ensure crew change was done safely and at the earliest.
Each month about 150,000 seafarers need to be changed over to and from the ships which they operate to ensure compliance with international maritime regulations for ensuring safety, crew health and welfare, and the prevention of fatigue.
Thousands of seafarers belonging to different nationalities are stuck around the world because of the lockdown. It’s high time governments consider them as frontline workers and give them the due importance.
At Marine Insight, we have also tried to bring awareness about the issue through this video message:
Reference: NDTV/ TOI