Vizhinjam minor port witnesses historic crew change

The first ever crew change hosted by the existing Vizhinjam minor port, off Thiruvananthapuram, was completed in six hours after large container vessel Ever Globe called in, and all off-signers (seafarers signing off from duty) were ashore, ending days of long-drawn drama and suspense.

This could help Vizhinjam, which lies closest to international shipping route off the West Coast, to mark itself out as a major destination for crew change. The Covid-19 situation is making many liners call at Indian ports, promising precious revenue for the latter.

MV Ever Globe arrived at the existing Vizhinjam minor port delayed beyond the expected time of arrival of 7 am for the scheduled crew change but nobody is complaining, said an elated Captain AM Riyas, General Secretary of the Thiruvananthapuram Mariners’ Forum.

Best news for seafarers

Riyas told BusinessLine the crew change is the best thing to happen for home-bound seafarers, tens of thousands of whom are stranded out in the open seas since not many vessels can hope to call in several countries due to Covid-19 restrictions.

“On-signers (crew scheduled to board the vessel) were ferried to the ship by two vessels of the Marine Enforcement. At least 15 new crew members signed on into the ship while 14 signed off,” Riyas said after witnessing the arrival of Ever Globe that called in just 2-3 miles (3-6 km) from the shore.

And this short distance from the port is the single biggest attraction that Vizhinjam offers to large vessels sailing in the international (East to West) shipping route. Shipping involves a lot of money and shipping companies stand to gain big by sailing into calling in at Vizhinjam and saving time and money.

Maritime economies

The delay in the arrival of the vessel is normal since the vessel has to first report itself to the port and record the arrival time before getting itself cleared, which involves some paper work. The handover of on-signers itself takes some two hours before the off-signers can disembark.

Prevailing sea conditions at Vizhinjam were mixed with swells and not much ‘sea.’ The ‘sea’ is a description of the wind waves raised by the wind in the immediate neighbourhood of the place at the time of observation. ‘Swell’ is a description of the ocean waves that are not raised by the local wind.

According to Riyas, all major and successful economies of the world are also flourishing maritime economies. “Or just look at the European nations or those in the East and Far-East such as China, South Korea, and. India is the lone country with long shores that has failed to tap fully into the potential,” he added.
Source: The Hindu Business Line

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