Doha and Colombo have come to the rescue of stranded Indian seafarers as shipowners and ship managers started running special flights every alternate day.
Whilst Singapore and Hong Kong lifted restrictions on crew change, Colombo has emerged as the centre of crew change for Indian seafarers. Sri Lanka is allowing a 5 day stay at safe homes for all seafarers arriving in Colombo and 7 days stay for those vacating Colombo for home countries.
So far, 26 shipping companies have used chartered flights to bring about crew change. Thousands of Indian seafarers are still left on ships, awaiting crew change, some having served onboard for more than five months past their contractual time period. With the international deadline for crew change being June 16, there’s increasing fear in the industry of the supply chain getting disrupted.
On the frontline of the continual process is VR Maritime Services. They have arranged for 22 charter flights for 71 companies using SpiceJet, which will make a whole of 44 trips to Colombo and Doha with flight capacity of 160 mariners each way as said by Captain Sanjay Prashar, managing director of VR Maritime Services.
“Every job counts,” said Captain Girish Phadnis, CEO of Kae Maritime, whose company is working hand in hand with VR Maritime.
The fare for each Bombay to Doha flight is $650 per mariner. Totally, 22 flights have been arranged to ascertain that jobs are not lost for Indian seafarers as said by Captain Umesh Shetty.
A special flight was arranged from Mumbai to Doha for 154 personnel of 15 different companies. From Doha, the seafarers will set their course for various destinations to board their ships.
On 10th June, 2 seafarer’s chartered flights are declared to run, taking a whole of 300 crew members.
Reference: Anglo Eastern