Two prominent groups of ship managers are trying to set up a crew rotation system to bring Indian sailors back to and from foreign ports as shipping companies continue to struggle to make crew changes appropriate to the foreigner.
The three special charter flights for sea tickets, which have taken off over the past fifteen weeks from Bangalore, Chennai and Mumbai to Colombo and Doha, have returned mostly empty. This forced sailors and their families to lash out at the government for refusing crews who left the ships to return home.
The Association of Representatives of Shipowners and Managers of Foreign Ships (FOSMA) and the Maritime Association of Shipowners, Managers and Agents of Ships (MASSA) will conduct charter flights using Indigo aircraft in the Delhi-Doha-Delhi sector on the 3 , 7, 11 and 15.
“Today we flew an Indigo flight from Delhi to Doha carrying 121 sailors. It will drop sailors in Doha and return empty. In Doha, these sailors will board a commercial flight and join ships in the United States, United Kingdom, Europe, Brazil, South Korea and Japan. We have arranged another Indigo flight on June 7th which will also go from Delhi to Doha and the sailors who went there today would have reached their ships somewhere by Thursday and they would be relieving some people on board there. These relieved people will come to Doha on June 7 and board our flight back to Delhi, ”said Captain Shiv Halbe, Managing Director of MASSA. Activity area.
“We have to set up a rotation system, someone will go and someone will come back. I sincerely hope this will work, ”said Halbe.
In fact, Halbe said the Indigo flight on June 7 (which would fly both ways) with a capacity of 170 seats “was overflowing” with sailors, prompting FOSMA / MASSA to consider chartering a larger plane.
FOSMA and MASSA represent up to 80 percent of Indian seafarers working on foreign flag vessels owned or managed by entities such as Teekay Tankers, Scorpio Tankers, V Ships, Wallem, Fleet Management and Anglo Eastern.
“We really hope it will fall into place. To be honest, this is the first time that we have not only thought of sending sailors but also bringing sailors back in a rotation, which is called closed loop, ”he said.
“It’s to protect our jobs. As soon as the world sees that the Indian sailors can come out and come back, they will start to look at us seriously. That’s the logic behind it, ”added Halbe.
“Globally, more than 12,000 Indian sailors aboard various vessels are currently waiting for their assistance,” said Captain Sankalp Shukla, director of Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement (India) Pvt Ltd.
Crew changes have been and continue to be extremely difficult for the entire industry due to the global pandemic, Shukla said.
“To date, we have managed limited crew changes in some European ports, China, Hong Kong, Australia, Mexico, India, United Arab Emirates and Iceland, but in most cases, crew changes were limited to nationals of these countries. . Due to the suspension of international flights to India and various port restrictions, we have not been able to relieve any of our (Indian) sailors on ships that do not call at Indian ports, ”said Shukla, adding that his company manages a pool of over 4,250 Indian sailors.
Given the restrictions, how do FOSMA and MASSA manage to replace Indian crews with Indian crews in overseas ports?
“It is the care that we have taken, that these countries or ports will allow an Indian to embark on board and disembark on board,” he said.
The biggest challenge, Halbe noted, is that when Sailors go on duty for 4 to 8 months, he has to return at the end of the tour. So there should be a continuous rotation system. And this is where the problem is that the powers that be in Delhi do not accept, understand or realize that sailors cannot stay aboard ships forever, they are stressed because they do not. cannot continue working forever, ”he said. added.