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Union Minister of State for Shipping Mansukh Lal Mandaviya assured various seafarers associations of quick evacuation of stranded Indian seafarers whenever the situation turns favourable.
India has about two lakh seafarers working on ships. More than 30,000 Indian seafarers are stuck in their ships at ports in COVID-19 affected countries like the US, UK, Italy and Spain.
Acknowledging the importance of seafarers for smooth supply chain movement, Mandaviya directed associations to provide details of Indian seafarers stranded abroad for future evacuation plans.
"The seafarers are essentially transport workers involved in moving essential goods. Thus, they need to be treated in the same manner and allowed to go home once they complete their tenure on ship," says Captain SM Halbe, CEO, Maritime Association of Shipowners, Ship Managers and Agents (MASSA).
Prolonged stay on board, away from their families, is not only bad for their morale but also detrimental to safe operation of ships.
Mandaviya interacted through video conference with various stakeholders of the shipping industry including ship liners, shipping companies, maritime associations and seafarers unions regarding the change of crew at Indian ports and assessed the situation of Indian seafarers working as well as stranded in International waters.
The participants of the video conference include representatives of the associations like Indian National Ship Owners’ Association (INSA), Maritime Association of Nationwide Shipping Agencies – India (MANSA), National Union of Seafarers of India (NUSI), The Indian Maritime Foundation (IMF), The Maritime Union of India (MUI), The Maritime Association of Ship Owners Ship managers and Agents (MASSA).
Mandaviya also directed officials of the Ministry of Shipping for easing out the process of sign on and off of seafarers at the Indian ports..