CASA urges to permit ‘crew changes’ | Daily News


CASA urges to permit ‘crew changes’

The Ceylon Association of Shipping Agents (CASA) is urging authorities to permit the carrying out of crew changes in Sri Lanka based on similar conditions emulating ports such as Singapore and UAE.

The Chairman, SLPA invited CASA to a meeting where a group called the Sea Farers COOP made a presentation on the opportunity available to recruit Sri Lankan seafarers in the event foreign seafarers were permitted to sign off. It was projected to be a significant opportunity in order to enhance employment of Sri Lankans and improve foreign exchange income.

CASA pointed out that our members’ Principals too were pressing for the sign off of foreign and local seafarers and it must not only focus on replacing foreigners signing off with Sri Lankans as all Principals would not accept such a position.

Crew recruitment companies too had approached the Chairman SLPA with opportunities for Sri Lankan seafarers if sign off was permitted in Sri Lanka.

Then the SLPA Chairman suggested that we make a joint presentation to President outlining the need and the potential and seek his approval.

Avant Garde was also brought into these meetings on the basis that they too had a given a proposal to the Chairman SLPA.

CASA and Seafarers COOP prepared and made a joint presentation to President on May 18, in the presence of Chairman SLPA, DGMS, Navy Commander, DGO Navy, DGIE, MOH official’s crew recruitment company representatives. Avant Garde too was present. CASA’ position from the beginning has been that these are agent’s functions and that if required safe houses and transport could be handled by our members through CASA similar to the sea marshal operation in Galle. Avant Garde’s position at the meeting was that agents should not handle this function as the priority is health and safety of the nation and it should be handled in a controlled environment by a single party. They also averred that there would be conflict of interest and compromise of guidelines if agents were to handle the work.

The President stressed that health and safety concerns must be followed but no decision was made as to who would handle the matter.

Thereafter CASA was invited to make a presentation to the COVID Task Force on May 22. The officials present included Chairman SLPA, Army Commander, Navy Commander, DGO Navy,

Admiral Jayanath Colombage advisor to The President on maritime and international affairs, MOH, DGIE officials, Avante Garde and CASA. At this meeting CASA presented the hotels that could be used as safe houses, transport fleet and stressed once again the fact that these are functions handled by agents on behalf of Principals and that the agent is responsible for the crew member throughout his stay in the country and for repatriation according to the bond signed by the agent with the DIE.

It was indicated by the officials present that the Navy should be relieved in the long term of the responsibilities of escorting and monitoring safe houses as they have other national priorities to attend to. Avant Garde in their presentation said that they would handle the safe houses and transport in a joint venture with RALL. They also promised donating 35% of their profits to the COVID fund. No decision was made at this meeting too. Thereafter, CASA made a final proposal to SLPA Chairman for presentation to the COVID Task Force and higher officials documenting what was said in our presentations.

CASA’s proposals were on the basis of proposals received from Members (in response to our request to members ) in respect of safe houses and transport and the Chairman SLPA on May 23, requested us to identify companies that would perform the tasks which was done on the basis of the proposals received to be services on a common user basis.

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