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One more passenger ship reaches Mumbai

by Raju Vernekar
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By Raju Vernekar
Mumbai, May 12:

A passenger ship ” Seven Seas Voyager” reached Mumbai from Abu Dhabi, after voyage of 11 days, carrying 170 stranded Indian crew members and was anchored at inner anchorage of Mumbai Port Trust (MbPT) on Monday.

On arrival in Mumbai, the crew members of ” Seven Seas Voyager” were welcomed by MbPT officials and office bearers of the  National Union of Seafarers of India (NSUI) by giving them floral bouquets.

The medical tests are being carried out on board the ship and the crew members will be allowed to sign off, after three days if they are asymptomatic to COVID- 19. They will stay put on board the vessel, till such time their reports are received. If they are asymptomatic, they will be issued e- passes by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs, so that they can move anywhere in India and reach their homes. If they test positive they will be admitted to hospital as per routine practice.

 ” Seven Seas Voyager” built in 2003, sails under the flag of Bahamas. This is the second ship to land in Mumbai after “MS Marella Discovery” (with a flag of Malta), landed in Mumbai on 23 April carrying 146 Indian sailors.

Over 15,000 Indian seafarers onboard cargo vessels and another 25,000 sailors on cruise ships are still stranded across the globe. Those who have finished their contract, have been accommodated onboard their ships. Some of those who have signed off from their ships are held up in hotels abroad. Also some seafarers are stuck within India due to the lockdown.

The Union Ministry of Home Affairs has issued notification on 21 April, streamlining the standard operating procedure (SOP) for sign-on and sign-off for the Indian seafarers, paving the way for their repatriation. As per the notification, the seafarers are required to intimate their travel and contact history for the last 28 days to the ship owner/ Robotic Process Automation(RPA) agency by e mail as per the procedure laid down by the Director General of Shipping (DGS). Then they will be  examined by DGS approved medical examiner. They will also be screened based on their travel history for the last 28 days and if found asymptomatic, will be proceeded for sign-on. Similarly those whose contracts have expired and are due for sign-off, will have to go through the same procedure and the local authority will have to make arrangement to quarantine them as per prevailing system.

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