On Monday evening, the Ministry of Home Affairs issued guidelines on embarkation and disembarkation of seafarer — allowing Indian sailors to return home from ports and vessels stranded at deep sea.
According to officials, a second protocol will be issued by early morning by the Directorate General of Shipping, on the manner in which the ships have to move across ports.
This also brings to conclusion a long set of negotiations between several states and the central government.
The first three vessels expected to see sailors disembark are cruise Liner Karnika, and vessels Marella Discovery and Angria at a port in Mumbai.
Speaking to the media at a late-night press meet, Chief Minister Pramod Sawant said, “We are trying our best to make arrangements to get them safely. This is a culmination of days of talks between our government and the Centre. For now, we are informed that 93 Goans in Karnika, 66 in Marella Discovery and around 20 in Angria are expected to sign off early morning. We are still waiting to figure out if they can be brought here by sea or road.”
Sawant added that a team of doctors have left for the port in Goa to check if a makeshift testing facility can be set up. The MHA guidelines say that testing is crucial and will be the first step before signing in or signing off from a shipping vessel. If, while returning, a sailor is found positive, the protocol gets very strict.
“In Goa, we are looking to send them to the Covid-19 hospital if they turn positive and if negative, to a quarantine facility of the state,” Sawant added.
In the next few weeks, many vessels are supposed to send the crew back to India, with 8,000 expected to return to Goa alone.
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