Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Running chartered flights to bring back seafarers gather pace

Mumbai: The government has given permission to ship management companies for operating chartered flights to bring back and also ferry seafarers to join ships overseas as the shipping industry looks at ways to resolve the crew change crisis never seen before.

On May 16, the Ministry of Home Affairs gave permission to MMS Maritime (India) Pvt Ltd for a chartered flight from Bangalore to Colombo to facilitate the movement of Indian seafarers to get employment opportunities in South Korea.

On the same day, the Home Ministry gave approval to Costa Cruise Company to repatriate 414 Indian seafarers stuck on cruise ships in Italy on three chartered flights to Goa, where these crew reside.

Synergy Marine Group is awaiting permission from the Ministry of External Affairs to bring a chartered flight to Mumbai, carrying 22 Indian seafarers who have signed off from a ship at Gulfhavn port in Denmark.

More shipping companies have applied for permission to operate charter flights with aircraft having capacity of 22-60 passengers much sought after.

Ship managers and crew say that a functional and well-structured solution was needed to overcome the crisis beyond the piecemeal approach for the distressed seafarers who are stuck on-board ships even after completing their normal tenures and desperate to get back home.

“We need two-way flights to facilitate crew change at foreign ports,” said Captain Rajesh Unni, CEO, Synergy Marine Group.
18/05/20 P Manoj/Business Line
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