Corona Virus causes Indian seafarer life whose is onboard as well as on leave miserable. Crew change major problem in shipping industryIMO says Shipping is vital to the maintenance of global supply chains, but the current situation is unsustainable for the safety and well-being of ship crew and the safe operation of maritime trade. International Maritime Federation (IMF) says. Snatched some 50,000 jobs for Indians on board ships. Moreover no new jobs for Indian seafarer were generated 40,000 seafarers are waiting to sign off from ships.15,000 are waiting in India to join ships abroad. International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) says. Nearly 150,000 seafarers trapped on-board ships across the globe due to travel restriction. Seafarers who are stranded on board, at least they are getting their wages. What about seafarers waiting at home?
There is no income on shore they have to work on a ship to earn their income, have been sitting at home for 8 months without any income creating Mental and health problems to them. Recent news is that from April 24 nearly 1,500 crew changes (joining and disembarking) have happened at various Indian ports. The government has given permission to shipping companies for operating chartered flights to bring back and also seafarers to join ships overseas as the shipping industry looks at ways to resolve the crew change crisis never seen before.
ITF and IMEC have given governments time until June 15 to sign off crew working beyond their contract time, by following the guidelines issued by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO).
Coming May 30, two SpiceJet charter flights one from Mumbai to Colombo run by V R Maritime and the other from Chennai to Colombo run by SeaTeam Management (India) Pvt Ltd will carry Indian seafarers to join ships in South Korea and Japan, two countries that have allowed crew change despite the pandemic-induced restrictions. The two charter flights have received government approvals.
Also SeaTeam will fly seafarers from a few other companies to Colombo, from where they will travel to South Korea to join yard delivery vessels but not for crew change. Operating chartered flight also not so easy it has many obstacles Operating cost is more for example Chennai to Colombo Cost nearly 50 lakhs. Quarantine problem for seafarers whose has connecting flight.
Flight and Ship schedule time problems. Recently many ships are coming to Indian port for crew change that a good sign for Indian seafarer.
Moreover flight has to come empty in order fill the seafarer they need to get approval from various authorities.
With international flights not yet operations in India, ship owners, managers and crewing companies finding alternative methods for resuming crew change operation.