Stringent COVID-19 Protocols Lead To Unexpected Delay In Crew Change At Chennai Port

The crew change, which had been periodically happening at the Chennai port, has been struck following the stringent COVID-19 protocols that are now in place.

Negative RT-PCR tests are compulsory to undergo a crew change in ships. This has led to unforeseen delays in implementing changes associated with new crew members replacing the old ones. In a vessel, an officer serves for up to six months but the sailors work for nearly nine to 10 months.

Shipping firms are firm about needing a negative RT-PCR and two doses of vaccine are mandatory for sailors and officers to onboard a ship. If the RT-PCR result is positive, the employee must quarantine.

Old Port of Sekondi
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With crew change being delayed unnecessarily, shipping firms are compelling the officers to serve for almost 10 months. The seamen are on duty for as long as they can.

A relatively senior officer employed at a shipping enterprise informed the IANS:

About 22% of the crew who had to join back tested positive. This led to a situation whereby leaves are not granted to crew members. The shipping industry is encountering a difficult situation and authorities are hoping that the phase will pass without causing extensive damage.

Chennai port officials reported that they will continue enforcing strict measures 24×7. The officials said that seafarers have to follow protocols once they leave home, reach the ship, and even inside the vessels.


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