About 57,000 passengers, crew onboard ships mostly from China not allowed to disembark

New Delhi: Taking all precautions to contain the spread of coronavirus, the government has not allowed to disembark about 57,000 crew and passengers onboard 1,769 ships, mostly from China, an official said on Thursday.

All these crew and passengers underwent thermal scanning, as per the WHO guidelines, the official added.

“Adhering to all precautions and laid-down protocols to prevent any further spread of COVID-19, cargo was handled at Ports. No shore passes or daily passes were issued to these 56,727 crew and passengers on board 1,769 vessels reaching Indian Ports till April 21,” the official told PTI.

The 1,769 ships reached the Indian ports with cargo between January 27 and April 21. Of these, as many as 1,401 ships reached major ports and were allowed anchoring at designated places for loading/unloading of export-import cargo.

Of the 56,727 crew and passengers onboard these ships, 49,750 reached the major ports, the official said.

India has 12 major ports — Deendayal (erstwhile Kandla), Mumbai, JNPT, Marmugao, New Mangalore, Cochin, Chennai, Kamarajar (earlier Ennore), V O Chidambarnar, Visakhapatnam, Paradip and Kolkata (including Haldia) that handled nearly 705 million tonnes (MT) cargo in 2019-20.

For maintaining smooth operations across ports, the shipping ministry has initiated a number of steps that include waiving of rentals.

The government has asked all major ports to ensure that no penalties, demurrage, charges, fee, rentals are levied on any port user (traders, shipping lines, concessionaires, licensees etc) for any delay in berthing or loading/unloading operations or evacuation of cargo caused by the reasons attributable to lockdown measures from March 22.

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