Indian Seafarers Stranded At International Waters Due To Covid-19 Pandemic To Be Evacuated

Indian Seafarers Stranded At International Waters Due To Covid-19 Pandemic To Be EvacuatedA cargo ship carrying containers stops at Qingdao Port - representative image . (VCG/VCG via Getty Images)

Assuring quick evacuation of the stranded Indian seafarers at the international waters, Shipping Minister Mansukh Mandaviya yesterday (28 April) underlined detailed action plan in close coordination with various stakeholders.

Acknowledging the importance of seafarers for the smooth supply chain movement, Mandaviya also highlighted the challenges being faced by the seafarers and appreciated their work in this crucial and testing times.

Addressing the emerging problem due to COVID-19 pandemic, government also declared Rs 50 lakh compensation for the port employees/workers in case of loss of life due to the contagion.

All port employees including contractual labourers employed directly by the port and other contractual employees are covered by the announcement, according to a senior Ministry official.

In an interaction through video conference with the ship liners, shipping companies, maritime associations and seafarers unions Mandaviya took stock of the situation regarding the change of crew at Indian ports and Indian seafarers working as well as stranded in the international waters.

While seeking details of Indian seafarers stranded abroad, Shipping Minister directed the concerned authorities to draw out the future evacuation plan and assured the various seafarers associations for quick evacuation of the stranded Indian seafarers whenever the situation becomes favourable.

Mandaviya also directed the officials of the Ministry of Shipping for easing out the process of the sign on and sign off the seafarers at the Indian ports.

The participants of the video conference include representatives of the associations like Indian National Ship Owners’ Association (INSA), Maritime Association of Nationwide Shipping Agencies – India (MANSA), National Union of Seafarers of India (NUSI), Indian Maritime Foundation (IMF), Maritime Union of India (MUI), and the Maritime Association of Ship Owners Ship managers and Agents(MASSA).

Catering to the growing demand, monetary compensation was declared to cover the risk of life due to COVID-19 contamination while discharging the port related duty.

Port Chairman is the competent authority for the settling claims/ disbursement of the compensation/Ex-Gratia and verifying authority for the cause of death from COVID-19. This compensation is applicable only for the pandemic of COVID-19 and shall be in force up to30.09.2020, subject to review thereafter.