India: Crew sign off from ships arriving from UK to undergo Covid RT-PCR testing
The Directorate General of Shipping (D G Shipping) has included vessels arriving from ports in the United Kingdom in the extra Covid testing rules stipulated for crew signing off from ships arriving from ports of infected countries within the 14-days mandatory quarantine period.
On December 17, the D G Shipping lifted the 14-days mandatory quarantine period stipulated for ships arriving from ports of Covid-19 infected countries after maritime trade complained that this was delaying the berthing of vessels with a cascading effect on the container logistics chain.
While removing the 14-days quarantine rule, the D G Shipping, however, stipulated additional Covid testing requirements for crew disembarking from vessels arriving at Indian ports from ports of Covid infected countries before the quarantine period.
Accordingly, shipping companies or their agents had to make arrangements for RT-PCR testing of all such crew disembarking from such vessels in coordination with concerned port and health authorities.
Besides, such crew member shall test negative by RT-PCR for Covid-I9 before disembarking from the ship.
The new requirements had led to concerns among the shipping community that it would raise the cost of undertaking crew change at Indian ports as the testing was to be done on the vessel itself.
It is now clarified that the requirements of RT-PCR test in DGS order is only in respect of vessels calling from ports in China, the D G Shipping said in an order issued on December 24.
“It is also clarified that RT-PCR test would be conducted as per the standard operating procedure (SOP) for controlled crew change issued by the Directorate after disembarkation and not onboard the vessels,” the order said.
The above instructions will also be applicable for vessels calling from ports of United Kingdom within a period of 14 days in view of the threat posed by new variant virus reported in that country, the DG Shipping added.
Source: The Hindu Business Line