Ship managers’ group to repatriate Indians stranded in Doha on crew special flights

P Manoj Mumbai | Updated on June 25, 2020 Published on June 25, 2020

Two prominent ship managers’ groups have offered to repatriate Indian nationals stranded in Doha for free on the return trip of chartered flights run by them to bring back Indian seafarers.

The Foreign Ship-owners Representatives and Ship Managers Association (FOSMA) and the Maritime Association of Shipowners, Ship Managers and Agents (MASSA) jointly ran two chartered flights on Thursday from Delhi and Mumbai to Doha carrying 414 Indian seafarers.

At Doha, these seafarers will embark on a commercial flight and proceed to join ships in various locations across the globe. On the return trip, one flight will carry 212 seafarers while the other will move 109 crew.

“We have 100 odd seats vacant on one flight. So, we have offered the Indian Embassy in Doha that they could use them to bring back stranded Indian citizens from Doha free of cost,” Captain Shiv Halbe, Chief Executive Officer, MASSA, told BusinessLine.

Accordingly, 101 stranded Indian nationals flew from Doha on one of the flights to India on Thursday, he said.

Halbe said the members of FOSMA and MASSA have agreed to bear the cost of flying Indian nationals stranded in Doha to India, including airport taxes and their meals on board.

“We have offered to the Indian Embassy in Doha that on every chartered flight that we run from now on, we will be able to offer some 20 seats free of cost to bring back stranded Indians to utilise the resources fully,” Halbe said.

These stranded Indians were working in Doha as labourers, house help and drivers, but have lost their jobs and have no money to return home, he said.

“Today is the Day of the Seafarer and we are happy to do this as a humanitarian gesture,” Halbe added.

FOSMA and MASSA have lined up two more flights on the Delhi-Doha-Delhi sector and one flight on the Mumbai-Doha-Mumbai sector by July 1.

Between themselves, FOSMA and MASSA account for about 80 per cent of the Indian seafarers working on foreign flag ships owned or managed by entities such as Teekay Tankers, Scorpio Tankers, V Ships, Wallem, Fleet Management and Anglo Eastern.

Published on June 25, 2020
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