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New Delhi, August 26, 2020
The Ministry of Shipping has facilitated more than 1,00,000 crew change at Indian ports and through charter flights thus accounting for the highest number of crew changes in the world.
Crew change consists of replacing one of the ship’s crew members with another one and involves sign-on the ships and sign-off the ships’ procedures.
The maritime sector is among the worst-hit sectors due to coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Despite that, all the Indian ports were operational and providing essential services throughout the pandemic and the main pillar for the smooth supply chain for India and the world were the seafarers. They had to suffer due to the closing of Sign-on & Sign-off and lockdowns and movement restrictions imposed by various countries worldwide.
Union Minister of State (I/C) for Shipping Mansukh Mandaviya, at a briefing by the Director General (DG), Shipping Amitabh Kumar, expressed his appreciation for the continued efforts of the DG, especially for facilitating the stranded seafarers during this difficult time. The Minister instructed DG Shipping to come up with a robust grievances redress mechanism to facilitate the seafarers.
He emphasized that seafarers should be able to approach the Ministry during a difficult time and no seafarer should suffer due to any poor grievance redress system.
To sustain the maritime transportation during the pandemic situation, DG Shipping has taken various initiatives like extensions of various certificates required for sailing, online e-pass facility for travel etc.
“An online utility has been created for verification of seafarers for charted flights and for uploading details of stranded seafarers along with online ship registrations and online charter licensing,” Amitabh Kumar said while briefing the Minister.
DG Shipping received communications via emails, tweets, and letters from more than 2,000 maritime stakeholders and took immediate responsive action to facilitate their needs. E-learning for module courses and online virtual course have also been conducted by DG, Shipping and more than 35,000 students enrolled for e-learning.
Online Exit Examination was being conducted for the seafarers after completing online courses. They could now appear in the examination from the comfort of their homes in this unprecedented time of COVID-19 pandemic, the release added.