Crew change of Indian seafarers through the VO Chidambaranar port at Thoothukudi has crossed the 200 mark to touch 202. The sign-on and sign-off of Indian crew through the port commenced on April 29 and, so far, 88 crew members have signed on and 114 crew have signed off on 32 occasions, said a press release from the port.
Covid tests and quarantine of crew were organised before sign-on and sign-off as per the standard operating procedure (SOP).
Due to Covid restrictions, a large number of seafarers had to extend their service on board ships after spending many months at sea. They could not be replaced after completion of service period on board the ships. They need to be changed with a new set of seafarers to ensure compliance with the International Maritime Regulations to ensure safe ship operations, well-being of the crew and prevention of fatigue.
To facilitate and regulate crew change for seafarers, the Ministry of Home Affairs had issued an SOP on April 21 to permit the movement of persons to sign on and sign off at Indian ports.
The DG (Shipping), Ministry of Shipping, had prescribed a detailed SOP and protocol with regard to sign-on and sign-off to be followed for controlled crew change of Indian seafarers at Indian ports and anchorages.
At the Chennai port, an LNG tanker — British Listener (UK flag ship) — arrived from Singapore to the port’s anchorage on June 12 and carried out Sign on/off by disembarking 22 Indian crew and embarking 24. The vessel sailed on June 15 for Port of Yeosu, South Korea, said the release.
Source: The Hindu Business Line