Ports around the world are now closing their doors to Indian crew and boats. India is one of the world’s largest maritime suppliers. However, the second COVID-19 wave has created cruel restrictions on Indian crews, which has sent shipping companies to search for substitution.
The second wave of COVID-19 continues to rise in the region, and Indian seafarers find themselves in tough circumstances. As the pandemic spreads, almost every international port has put Indian seafarers on a no-hire list. Imports and exports from India have not yet been choked, but the trade in India, particularly containerized industries, would be badly affected if the situation does not improve in the following 2-3 months.
Several maritime hubs like Singapore, Fujairah of UAE, the United Kingdom, the United States, and so on have now barred vessels from India and banned crew changes from India. Ships whose last visit was to India are also restricted from entry.
The apprehension of the triple mutant strain COVID-19 has affected countries and as a result, Filipino and Indonesian seafarers are now preferred over Indians.
In the meantime, this may be the beginning of a downward spiral for Indian seafarers, as they are likely to lose job prospects. While amidst the global pandemic, the shipping industry showed no evidence of slowing down. In 2020 it created more than 25,000 job opportunities. However, job prospects for Indian seafarers look dim in the coming months.
However, it would not impact the medical and pharmaceutical freight sectors.
The majority of medical equipment is being transported by foreign vessels which do not need Indian crew deployment.
In the meantime, business analysts have been urging Indian seamen to quickly vaccinate, highlighting that this is now the only option.
The Indian shipping companies remain the only source of hope for the seafarers as Indian flagged vessels have no other option but to have an Indian crew.
Source : Maritime-News