April 23, 2020
The Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) issued by Home Affairs Ministry paved way for Indian seafarers Crew change from Indian ports.
Shipping Minister Mansukh Lal Mandaviya said in a statement “Crew Change at sea ports will be possible now with the issuance of the SOP by the Ministry of Home Affairs. This will put an end to hardships faced by thousands of seafarers.”
Any crew would be allowed sign on at port of embarkation only after found negative for COVID-19. According to the SOP, Ship owners and RPS agency will identify the Indian seafarers for joining a ship. The seafarer would be examined by a DG Shipping approved medical doctor as per the guidelines for the purpose. And also the seafarer travel and contact history shall be screened for the last 28 days.
“The transit pass by road, for the seafarer and a driver, may be issued by the State Government/ and Union territory where the seafarer resides. The transit pass (to and fro) will be issued for a fixed route with a specific validity and will have to be adhered to strictly” said SOP.
As per the SOP “The Indian seafarer arriving on the vessel would undergo the COVID-19 test for confirmation that he/ she are negative for COVID-19. After disembarking and till the time seafarer reaches the testing facility, within the port premises it will ensured by the ship owners that all safety precautions are observed as per the standard health protocol.”