These ports include key maritime destinations like Ratnagari, Kochi, Karaikal, Jaigarh, Dhamra, Dighi, Revdanda, Sagar and Jakhau, according to MASSA, who expressed its serious concern as the government has not taken appropriate steps so far to allow and facilitate an exit of crew change arrangements for Indian as well as foreign seafarers from these ports.
Approximately 100 cargo ships carrying about 2,000 Indians and foreign seafarers visit these Indian ports in a year for cargo loading and unloading. However, even in cases of medical emergency, face huge challenges to disembark from ships. Capt Prashant Rangnekar, chairman, MASSA, explained:
In Kochi, the disembarkation of a seafarer is possible only if the vessel calls the berth and is not away anchored at an harbour off the port. We have raised this issue many times before with the Directorate General of Shipping, Government of India.
The statement urged the government to immediately take appropriate steps and depute immigration officials at these ports, and also streamline the ports' standard operational procedures to solve this problem.