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Little headway on return of seafarers stranded in Mumbai

NT NETWORK

Panaji/Margao

Lack of clarity about the process adopted at Mumbai port for signing off crew members of three ships is likely to hamper the efforts to bring back Goan seafarers.

As per information, one of the ships has already left the Mumbai port after evacuating the seafarers, who are now stay put in hotels.

Since the management of the Mumbai port is not under control of the Goa government, the officials are unable to predict how long it will take to complete the medical tests of these seafarers and by when they will be able to reach Mormugao Port.

Chief Minister Pramod Sawant told media persons on Saturday that P S Reddy, IAS officer of Goa administration is in touch with ship owners and seafarers who have disembarked from cruise ship Marella Discovery and are likely to sign off by late evening.

However, the issue of making payments for medical tests of seafarers by the concerned ship companies is yet to be resolved.

As per standard operating procedures laid down by the Union Ministry of Shipping, once medical tests are conducted, seafarers have to be quarantined at Mumbai port for 14 days.

The state government has said that seafarers would be brought to the MPT port wherein they will be again kept in quarantine facility for 14 days.

The Chief Minister also stated that agents have been asked to make arrangement for paid quarantine facilities for seafarers. 

“We have asked agents and ships to pay not the seafarers for the quarantine facility,” he added.

Meanwhile, Goan Seamen’s Association of Indian (GSAI), while questioning why the process for return of seafarers is taking a long time, has urged the Chief Minister Pramod Sawant to take quick and prompt action to bring the seafarers back.

Even three days after they disembarked from Marella Discovery at the Mumbai port, 65 Goan seafarers still await news on their transfer to the state. Seafarers onboard Karnika and Angriya are also yet to be signed off their boats.

Speaking to media persons in Margao on Saturday, the association asked the government to cooperate with other departments in the country and work out a proper plan to help the seafarers. 

“For the past two months, we have been talking and cooperating with the government and listening on a day-to-day basis. The Karnika and Angriya boys are still on board and the Marella boys are still in Mumbai. The Marella Discovery members are on land but should have reached home by now. We urge the government not to wait till the May 3 to take a decision,” said GSAI spokesperson Dixon Vaz.

Concern was also raised for those who were stranded onboard ships outside India.

Anisia D’Costa, wife of a seafarer stranded onboard a ship outside India said, “We just want clarity on when our seafarers are going to return back. My husband has been on the boat for the past two months and we still don’t know and don’t have any clarity on when they’ll return. We have spoken to the CM but nothing is being done.”

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