After weeks of organising and coordination with various authorities from the two countries, Executive Ship Management has chartered the first direct flight from India to Singapore for its seafarers.
The Singapore-based company joined with MPA Singapore and the Indian High Commission in Singapore for this initiative and successfully assisted other ship managers for crew changeover.
The Executive Ship Management chartered maiden direct flight carrying Indian seafarers, safely landed at the Changi airport today (Friday). The flight on its return journey picked up over 70 stranded Indians along with off signing seafarers on their return home.
The seafarers were warmly greeted on their arrival by CEO Mr. B.S. Teeka and Deputy CEO Sikha Singh of the Executive Group along with the senior officials of MPA, Singapore – Chief Executive Quah Lee Hoon, Assistant Chief Executive (Operations) M Segar. Senior Director (Transformation) Tan Hoe Soon and Director of Marine Goh Chung Hun also lent support with their presence.
With growing frustrations and concerns of well-being of the seafarers unable to sign off due to global travel restrictions and lack of commercial flights, ship managers around the world are facing a daunting task for crew change. ESM initiated this chartered flight project from India to Singapore and generously offered the opportunity to nine other ship managers for their crew changes in Singapore.
The effort received very kind assistance and guidance from MPA, Singapore, Indian High Commission in Singapore as well as the DG shipping of Govt of India and relevant ministries from both the countries.
It was indeed an extraordinary story of teamwork among government agencies of two countries, Maritime and Port Authority (MPA) of Singapore and the Indian High Commission in Singapore and the management team of ESM says it is hugely indebted to all these agencies for making this happen in spite of the strict COVID restrictions in place in the respective countries.
“Well-being of our seafarers is indeed at the heart of what we do”, said Ms. Sikha Singh, Deputy CEO, Executive Group & ESM.
The success of the initiative however still doesn’t make the process of flight charters any less challenging as there are continued challenges for worldwide crew changes till the opening of the regular airline network. Or until all stakeholders including the ship owners, the charterers, various government and approving authorities take it up in their priority list. Nevertheless, this is a first step and ESM hopes to raise awareness for the authorities to take action in creating a fast-track and preferential safe passage for seafarers to return home at the end of their call of duty.
“It’s a time to unite and share our resources to add value to our ship owners and other stakeholders so that we can find a working solution to the vexed problem of crew change during this challenging time “, said Mr. B.S. Teeka, CEO of the Executive Group of companies, of which ESM is a member.