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India allows foreign seafarers to sign off at its ports

India allows foreign seafarers to sign off at its ports
Sam Chambers 20 July 2020

India’s directorate general of shipping ruled on Friday to allow foreign seafarers to sign off at Indian ports and then to take flights out of the country.

The ruling relates to cargo ships, not cruise vessels.

“This move will not only help India in meeting its international obligation to facilitate movement of ship crew, but would also create job opportunities for Indian seafarers awaiting to join a vessel,” Satinder Pal Singh, a joint secretary in the shipping ministry said.

Indian seafarers have been able to sign off at local ports since late April.

Despite the news, the global crew change tracker collated by port agent Inchcape Shipping Services lists just 17 countries – not including India – as fully open for crew changes.

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.