Ministry of Shipping has facilitated more than 100,000 crew change at Indian ports and through charter flights. It is 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 and sign-off procedures of ships.
Despite the maritime sector being among the worst hit due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all the Indian ports were operational and providing essential services throughout the pandemic. The main pillar for the smooth supply chain for India and the world were the seafarers. However, they had to suffer due to the closing of the sign-on and sign-off, nationwide lockdown and restrictions imposed on movement by the various countries worldwide.
The Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Shipping, Mansukh Mandaviya has appreciated the continued efforts done by Director General Shipping, especially for facilitating the stranded seafarers during this difficult time. The minister instructed DG Shipping to come up with robust grievances redressal mechanism to facilitate seafarers. He strongly emphasised on ensuring that seafarers were able to approach the ministry with their grievances during this difficult period, with no seafarer being made to suffer.
To sustain the maritime transportation during the pandemic situation, DG Shipping has taken various initiatives like extensions of various certificates required for sailing and online E-pass facility for travel.
“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,” DG Shipping, Amitabh Kumar informed the minister.
DG Shipping had received communications via emails, tweets and regular mail from more than 2,000 maritime stakeholders and took immediate responsive action to facilitate their needs. Module courses for E-learning and the online virtual course had also been conducted by DG Shipping, with more than 35,000 students enrolling. Seafarers can appear for the online exit exam from the comfort of their home upon completion of the course.