Reference is made to our Technical Circular No. 061/2020 dated 22nd April 2020 regarding Ministry of Home Affairs, GOI instructions in respect of Sign-on and Sign-off of Indian Seafarers at Indian Ports.
The Directorate vide DGS Order No. 12 of 2020 has now prescribed Standard Operating Procedures / Protocols (SOP) for controlled crew change for seafarer sign-on and sign-off at Indian ports as detailed below;
A. For Sign-on:
a. Ship owner / Recruitrnent and Placement Service (RPS) agency to identify Seafarer for joining a vessel.
b. Seafarer to fill up the travel and contact history for last 28 days as per Form l of DGS Order 12 of 2020 and submit it to the ship owner / RPS agency by email.
c. Ship owner / RPS agency to submit the duly filled in seafarer's travel and contact history Form to a DGS approved medical examiner, for assessment and certification of the seafarer's fitness to join ship.
d. Based on the seafarer's travel and contact history for last 28 days submitted by the ship owner / RPS agency, the medical examiner may call the seafarer for standard medical examination prescribed by DGS for certifying medical fitness of the seafarer.
e. Upon medical examiner's confirmation for processing the sign-on, the following further processes are to be completed by the Ship owner / RPS agency:
Seafarer's travel route is to be identified;
Details of the Seafarer, vehicle, and driver for the proposed travel to be uploaded on DGS website "e-pass for seafarer’s link" for generation of e-pass, if needed.
f. The downloaded e-pass is to be submitted to the local authority in the area where the seafarer resides for clearance for sign-on and for issue of a transit pass from the place of residence to the place of embarkation on the vessel.
g. The transit pass (to and fro) for such movement by road, for the seafarer and one driver, will be issued by the Government of the State / Union Territory where the seafarer resides.
h. The transit pass (to and fro) will be issued for a fixed route and with specified validity and will have to be adhered to strictly. Such transit pass would be honored / allowed by the authorities of the State / Union Territory along the transit route.
i. Ship owner / RPS agency to ensure completion of the following processes prior to sign-on:
Uploading on DGS website the requisite details of the Seafarer as per Form I / IIIA;
Vehicle to be properly sanitized and sanitizers, PPE (masks, hand gloves) kept in place for driver and seafarer;
Seafarer and driver to maintain the social distancing requirements as per MoHFW guidelines;
At the city of port of embarkation, the Seafarer is to undergo the COVID-19 test to confirm "negative" test result for COVID-I9.
The seafarer would be ready for sign-on if the Covid-l9 test is negative. Otherwise action would be taken as per guidelines of MoHFW;
Online sign-on (e-migrate) is to be done for the seafarer;
j. Till the time test results are awaited, the seafarer is to be dropped at a safe location by the car.
k. With the completion of the above formalities and negative COVID-19 test report, the seafarer would be ready for signing-on and can be placed on board.
l. Driver to drop seafarer in the port, as applicable and use the pass for return journey.
B. For Sign-off:
a. The master of a vessel, before arrival at its port of call in India, is to ascertain the state of health of each person on board the vessel and submit the Maritime Declaration of Health to the health authorities of the port and to the port authorities. In addition, the information required by the local health authorities of the port, like
temperature chart, individual health declaration, etc. are also to be provided by the master as per the directives of the health authorities of the port. Port health authorities will grant pratique to the vessel prior to berthing as per necessary health protocols.
b. Seafarer to wear necessary PPE (masks, hand gloves) on arrival.
c. Seafarer will be cleared by Immigration authority.
d. Seafarer arriving on a vessel would undergo the COVID-l9 test to confirm that he/she is negative of COVID-l9. After disembarking and till the time the seafarer reaches the facility for sample collection/ testing to be mutually decided by the Port & State Government, within port premises, it is to be ensured by the shipowner / RPS that all safety precautions as per standard health protocol are observed.
e. Till the time test reports are received, the seafarer is to be kept under quarantine facility approved by the Port and State Heath Authorities.
f. If the seafarer is tested as "positive" for COVlD-l9, he/ she will be dealt with as per the procedures laid down by MoHFW, GOI.
g. Seafarer arriving on a vessel from any foreign port within 14 days of departure from foreign port is to be kept in quarantine for a total of 14 days from the date of departure from the last foreign port at a facility approved by the Port or State authority. On completion of 14 days, he is to undergo a COVID-I9 test to confirm 'negative' test.
h. Upon a seafarer tested as "negative", the ship owner / RPS agency to ensure completion of the following processes:
Seafarer's travel route post sign-off is to be identified;
Details of the Seafarer, vehicle, and driver for the proposed travel to be uploaded on DGS website "e-pass for seafarers link" for generation of e-pass, if needed;
i. Seafarer/ Shipping company/ RPS to download the e-pass from his / her 'DGS E-governance seafarer profile', if needed.
j. The downloaded e-pass to be submitted to the Local Authority in the area where the seafarer disembarks for clearance for sign-off, for issue of a transit pass from the place of disembarkation to the place of his/ her residence.
k. The transit pass for such movement by road, for the seafarer and one driver, will be issued by local authorities of the Government of the State/ Union Territory where the seafarer disembarks.
l. The transit pass (to and fro) will be issued for a fixed route and with specified validity and will have to be adhered to strictly. Such transit pass would be honored/ allowed by the authorities of the State/ Union Territory along the transit route.
m. Ship owner / RPS agency to ensure the following for taking seafarer home:
Vehicle being used for travel is properly sanitized and PPE (masks, hand gloves) and sanitizers made available for driver and seafarer;
Driver and seafarer to maintain the social distancing requirements as per MoHFW guidelines.
This Technical Circular and the material contained in it is provided only for the purpose of supplying current information to the reader and not as an advice to be relied upon by any person. While we have taken utmost care to be as factual as possible, readers/ users are advised to verify the exact text and content of the Regulation from the original source/ issuing Authority.