Home ministry issues SOP to streamline change of crew at Indian ports

During transportation, social distancing and other hygiene norms would have to be followed by the vehicle transporting the seafarer to the destination
The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on Monday issued Standard Operating Procedure (SoP) to streamline sign-on/sign-off of Indian Seafarers at Indian Ports for merchant shipping vessels.  

In the case of signing-on to the ship, the ship owner or the Recruitment and Placement Service (RPS) agency will identify the Indian seafarers for joining a vessel.

Alongside, the seafarers will intimate their travel and contact history for last 28 days to the ship owner or the RPS agency by email, as per procedure laid down by Director General of Shipping (DGS).

Following this, the seafarer would be examined by a DGS-approved medical examiner, as per prescribed guidelines.

Post examination, the local authority in the area where the seafarer resides would be intimated about his clearance for sign-on and for issue of a transit pass from the place of residence to the place of embarkation on the shipping vessel, said the notification.

A transit pass for the seafarer and one driver for movement by road will issued by the Government of the State/Union Territory where the seafarer resides. This pass will issued for fixed route with time validity specified.

During transportation, social distancing and other hygiene norms would have to be followed by the vehicle transporting the seafarer to the destination.

At the port of embarkation, the seafarer shall be tested for Covid-19 and would be ready for sign-on only if the Covid-19 test is negative, failing which, action as per guidelines of Ministry of Health and Family Welfare would be taken.

Alongside, a similar procedure has been chalked out at the time of signing-off from the vessel, which has arrived on any of Indian ports where the master of the vessel will be providing all the needed details of the seafarers looking to disembark to port authorities.

However, from the time the seafarer undergoes the Covid-19 test to until the time test reports of the individual are received the seafarer would be kept in the quarantine facility by the Port or State Heath Authorities.

Here too, a transit pass would be provided with specified route for a particular time line to ensure safe transportation of the seafearer. 


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