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Is the crew change crisis hurting the brand image of Indian seafarers?

Soaring crew change costs in India are discouraging ship owners and managers from carrying out this task as seafarers pile up pressure to be relieved after spending time at sea much beyond their contract period.

Crew change is turning out to be an expensive affair in India in these times

“Crew change is turning out to be an expensive affair in India in these times,” said the Indian Captain of an oil tanker now sailing towards China, who has completed eight months on board. This is double the time typically allotted for a ship’s master. Most of the crew on the ship are on extended contracts. As it sailed for a fortnight in international waters close to India en-route to destination, Cochin port was the best option for the ship owner to drop off the crew. But, the crew was told that change was not possible at Cochin due to the exorbitant crew change costs. As the crew change crisis hit the global shipping industry, agents providing the services are seen charging as much as $100,000 dollars to cash in on the situation.

J M Baxi & Co carry out first crew changes at Paradip and Dhamra ports

J M Baxi & Co carried out crew changes at Paradip Port Trust and Dhamra port recently, the first on India’s eastern coast in the wake of the pandemic, the company said on Tuesday. The crew change was carried out first on the ship M V Sunlight Express (nine each sign off and sign on) according to a standard operating procedure issued by the Central government-owned port trust to deal with such task. A Covid-19 testing centre for the crew was set up inside the port while a private hotel was picked to function as a quarantine centre for the seafarers. As per the process, the crew was signed off from the ship, the Covid-19 sample was taken and the crew were accommodated in the designated hotel till the test results were received. The crew is allowed to go home if the test results are negative after getting permission/ travel permits from all port/ governmental authorities.

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