Nearly 3,000 Indian seafarers from Holland America Line, Princess Cruises and Seabourn ships are back with their families after being successfully signed off from their vessels, guided through all COVID-19 procedures and safely delivered to their hometowns by GAC India.
The crew members included those who had disembarked the cruise company vessels in Colombo, Sri Lanka, and Manila, Philippines, before being repatriated on chartered flights to Mumbai, Goa and Delhi. The GAC India team also took care of 138 off-signers and one on-signer for a cruise ship in Cochin.
Rakesh Nair, Holland America Group & Costa’s Head of Crew Lifecycle Business Support & Operations, praised GAC’s coordination of the repatriation exercise: “Excellent relations with nodal officers and other government officials ensured a speedy clearance of our crew at the airport. We have received positive feedback and compliments about your stellar work from our crew. This is true testament of the work that the GAC team has done in bringing our crew back home.”
Crew members disembarking from a cruise ship in Cochin
Agreeing, Ravi Pavade, Regional Manager, Port Operations – Western Europe, Africa, Middle East, Indian Ocean, U.S (LA to SFO) of Holland America Group says: “Thanks to the seamless execution by the GAC teams, our crew members have returned safely to their hometowns and are reunited with their families.
“Besides the teams on the ground, I know there are many others in GAC who have worked behind the scenes to ensure the safe and prompt repatriation of our nearly 3,000 crew members. This is no small feat, but you have once again proven that you have the capacity and capability to handle projects of such scale.”
The massive crew change project is still underway and GAC India Director Anil K. Menon says it is a true test of the company’s astuteness, coordination skills and teamwork; A test they have passed.
“Our teams led by Jayadevan Nair in Mumbai, Joseph Moras in Goa, Jaya Shekar in Delhi and Sajinath M G in Cochin have had to react and respond quickly to evolving situations on the ground. With over 70% of the crew arriving in Mumbai, it was especially challenging for our team in Mumbai,” he adds. “Besides coordinating closely with one another, the teams have worked closely with the crewing company and the relevant authorities to bring the seafarers home safely without unnecessary delays.
Crew members arriving at Mumbai International Airport
“We thank these cruise brands for the confidence and trust they placed in us.”
GAC worked with the crewing agent to handle end-to-end arrangements for the crew, including ‘Meet & Greet’ upon their arrival in India, arranging accommodation for mandatory quarantine, organising COVID-19 tests, obtaining approvals and departure permissions from the relevant State authorities and making all transfer arrangements including those for their journey home.
GAC India also obtained special clearance from the State nodal offices, district and other relevant authorities to enable two crew members who had to leave for their homes immediately to attend to emergencies without undergoing quarantine. They were moved securely and safely in strict compliance with stipulated guidelines.