Mumbai, April 23 (IANS) A total of 145 Indian crew members of a cruise ship ‘Marella Discovery’ finally disembarked at Mumbai Port after spending more than six weeks at sea, officials said here on Thursday.
On March 7, the cruise ship disembarked all its passengers at Laem Chabang port in Thailand in view of the outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic.
Later, it set sail for Mumbai where it reached on April 14, but the Indian crew members were not allowed to leave the ship in view of the national lockdown clamped here.
Following intervention by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray who spoke with Union Minister of State for Shipping Mansukh Mandaviya on Wednesday, 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 disembarking at the International Cruise Terminal here amidst cheers and tears, all the crew members were subjected to Covid-19 tests and later sent to quarantine for which the BMC made available facilities.
A majority of them hail from Mumbai, Thane, Palghar, Goa, Telangana and other parts of India, but they will be able to return home only after their medical reports are received.
The development will pave the way for an estimated 40,000 sailors stuck on different ships to return the land, an official said.
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 dropping the Indian crewmen on board at Mumbai, the ‘Marella Discovery’ will sail on to Norway.