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2400 Indian stranded seafarers reach Mumbai

by Raju Vernekar
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Our Correspondent
Mumbai, June 13:

Nearly 2400 Indian seafarers stranded on different ships and hotels abroad were brought to Mumbai by two cruise liners- “Celebrity Infinity” and “Anthem of the Seas” and were quarantined in hotels designated by the Maharashtra Government.
 While the vessel “Celebrity Infinity” was anchored at the Mumbai Port on Friday, another vessel “Anthem of the Seas” reached Mumbai in the wee hours of Saturday morning. The vessel “Celebrity Infinity” is a passenger ship built in 2001 currently sailing under the flag of “Malta”. The “Anthem of the Seas” is sailing under the flag of “Bahamas”.
The “Celebrity Infinity” which came from Port of Piraeus of Athens, Greece, brought in about 1500 seafarers, whereas “Anthem of the Seas” which arrived from the Port of Gibraltar (a seaport in the British Overseas Territory of Gibraltar) brought in 924 seafarers.
Both the vessels comprised a sizable number of seafarers from Goa. The seafarers were received by Nicholas Almeida/Adv.Godfrey Pimenta, Adv. Vivian D’Souza andRita D’Sa representing the “Watchdog Foundation” and Adv. Tulip Brian Miranda, President, Bombay East Indian Association.
The swabs of the seafarers were being collected. The non-Goan seafarers will remain quarantined till such time they are allowed to proceed to their homes after they are issued the transit passes for travel by road.
The Goan crew members will be allowed to proceed to Goa and will be quarantined as per the changed Standard Operating procedures (SOPs). As per the prevailing regulations, the natives of Goa are allowed free quarantine, while those from outside Goa are charged Rs 2500 per person.
Now these seafarers would be ready for “sign-on” (to enter into fresh contract)  if the COVID-19 test is negative. In response to the seafarers’ appeal on its COVID-19 module, the Union Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) is tracking around 20,000 seafarers located in the Caribbean, Latin America, Spanish coast, Gulf of Mexico among other areas. Once clusters of seafarers are found in zones like the Caribbeans, they will be evacuated through non-schedule commercial flights.
The seafarers are being evacuated as part of the ongoing “Vande Bharat Mission” for which MEA has received over 1,77,000 requests from Indian nationals stranded abroad, including from the stranded seafarers.
“We are aware of the difficulties that they are facing in the territorial waters of the United States, Suriname, and several other countries in the Western hemisphere. They will be evacuated in due process,” an official said indicating that the window of evacuation is likely to last for the next three to four weeks.
Another batch of seafarers which reached Manila, Philippines, by P & O Cruise Ship “Pacific Dawn”, on Saturday morning, will be coming to Mumbai by air.

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Imphal Times is a daily English newspaper published in Imphal and is registered with Registrar of the Newspapers for India with Regd. No MANENG/2013/51092


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