Maritime body MASSA today sought government intervention for allowing seafarers to disembark at ten ports, alleging no steps have been taken in this regard due to lack of immigration officers stationed there.
These ports include important maritime destinations like Ratnagari, Kochi, Karaikal, Jaigarh, Dhamra, Dighi, Revdanda, Sagar and Jakhau, the Maritime Association of Shipowners Shipmanagers and Agents (MASSA) said.
“India’s leading maritime association, MASSA has expressed its serious concern as Government of India has not taken appropriate steps so far to allow and facilitate an exit of crew change arrangements for Indian as well as foreign seafarers from about 10 prominent ports of India,” the body said in a statement.
It said about 100 cargo ships having aboard about 2,000 Indians as well as foreign seafarers visit these Indian ports in a year for cargo loading and unloading. Most seafarers are Indian nationals.
“These seafarers, even if necessary during an extreme medical emergency, face huge challenges to disembark from the vessels. In Kochi, the disembarkation of a seafarer is possible only if the vessel calls the berth and is not away anchored at an harbour off the port. We have raised this issue many times before with the Directorate General of Shipping, Government of India,” said Capt Prashant Rangnekar, chairman, MASSA.
The statement urged the government to immediately take appropriate steps and depute immigration officials at these ports, and also streamline the ports’ standard operational procedures to solve this serious problem.
“Today on the ‘Day of Seafarers’ celebrated world-wide to address seafarers’ wellbeing, we sincerely urge both, Ministry of Shipping and Ministry of External Affairs to address this grave issue in the interest of Indian seafarers,” said Capt Rangnekar.
Operational since 1947 in India, MASSA provides a platform to maritime stakeholders to interact with the government.