Mumbai, April 22 (IANS) Spelling glad tidings for thousands of Indian crewmen of cruise ships and other sailors stranded on different vessels, the Centre has given the green signal permitting them to land at the Mumbai port, an official said here on Wednesday.
Following the intervention by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, who spoke with the Union Minister of State for Shipping Mansukh Mandaviya, and the way is now paved for an estimated 40,000 sailors stuck on different ships to return to the land.
Starting Thursday, 146 sailors stuck on a huge cruise ship ‘Marella Discovery' are expected to touch land, followed by others, said an official spokesperson.
“They will undergo a full medical checkup and be quarantined at a building made available to them for isolation, besides following all other protocols of the Covid-19 pandemic,” said the official.
The ‘Marella Discovery' cruise ship was scheduled to sail to Kochi, New Mangalore, Goa and then Mumbai from April 2-6.
However, after the Covid-19 outbreak globally, all the passengers on the cruise ship disembarked at Laem Chabang, Thailand, on March 7.
After it arrived in Kochi on April 12, the crew was denied permission to disembark and they continued sailing to reach Mumbai on April 14.
Since then, the crew awaited the permission to disembark though none on board has been infected.
After Thackeray was apprised of their plight, a team of top officials, including Principal Secretary in Chief Ministers Office (CMO) Vikas Kharge, Additional Chief Secretary to CMO Ashish Kumar Singh and Mumbai Port Trust Chairman Sanjay Bhatia followed up the issue with the Centre.
Late on Sunday, the Ministry of Home Affairs issued orders on the SOPs for sign-on and sign-off for the Indian seafarers at the Indian Ports.
After dropping the Indian crewmen on board at Mumbai, the ‘Marella Discovery' will sail to Norway.