Thursday, June 18, 2020

After long wait in Colombo, seafarers to arrive in Coimbatore on Thursday

Chennai: Captain James Antony Adimai, a native of a village near Colachel in Kanyakumari district, may not easily forget the past five days that easily. The days have been like a wait for eternity even for someone like Antony, who spends a large part of his life steering ships on high seas for months.

“We normally work on four months contract at a time on high seas, with an additional month or less depending on the voyage. While there was an extension that I had agreed to, the Covid disruption around the world had made it ten months at one go on the seas. We touched shore on June 12 and were to fly home on a chartered flight scheduled for June 15. But it got cancelled at the last minute due to lack of landing clearance,” he told TOI from Colombo.

“We have all tested negative for Covid and people here are taking care of us. While we are confined to our small hotel rooms, the food is kept at the doorsteps for us to pick up. But we are not complaining, since they are taking care of us unlike Indian and Tamil Nadu government,” Antony said.

The wait is finally coming to an end, as a chartered flight (SpiceJet) carrying him and around 175 others, including 145 seafarers, will take off from Colombo on Thursday evening and will land in Coimbatore, instead of originally planned Chennai. “In addition, there are 30 Indians, mostly tourists and five fishermen, returning to India. We are taking care of their costs as part of our CSR activities,” says Sanjay Prashar, managing director, V R Maritime Services, the company that has organized the chartered flight.
18/06/20 D Govardan/Times of India
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