The ship crew change, which was taking place periodically at Chennai port, has got struck following the stringent Covid standard protocol that is in place at Chennai port.
RT-PCR negative tests are mandatory for a crew change in vessels and this has led to inordinate delay in effecting the changes with new crew replacing old ones. In a ship, an officer serves for four to six months while sailors work for around nine to ten months.
The crew change exercise, according to senior Chennai port officials is getting delayed due to the stringent Covid standard protocol in place.
Shipping companies are strict that negative RT-PCR certificate and two doses of vaccine are mandatorily required for a sailor or an officer to get back into a ship are crew change. If the RT-PCR test is positive, the concerned employee has to undertake mandatory quarantine.
With crew changes getting delayed, shipping companies are forcing the officers to serve for up to ten months while the sailors are working for as much time as they can.
A senior officer of a shipping company, on condition of anonymity, told IANS: "Around 22 per cent of the crew who were joining back have tested positive and this has led to a peculiar situation wherein leave is not sanctioned for the existing crew. The shipping industry is facing a tough situation now and we are hoping that this will pass over without causing much damage."
However, Chennai port officials said that they were enforcing strict Covid protocol measures and the standard operating procedure round the clock. The officials said that the seafarers have to abide by certain protocols and procedures once they leave home till they reach the ship and inside the ships also they have to abide by strict protocols.
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