46 more seafarers to arrive today

Panjim: Forty-six Goan seafarers out of 79 Indians landed at Mumbai airport on Friday morning, after spending nearly 50 days in a hotel in South Africa. The Goan seafarers will arrive in Goa by road on Saturday morning, and will be subsequently tested for COVID-19.

Goan Seamen Association of India (GSAI) said the seafarers were stranded after disembarking from MSC cruises ship ‘MSC Orchestra’ in Durban. The Indians flew on South African airlines from Johannesburg, which landed in Mumbai after a stopover in Delhi.

“The South African airline was a special flight that came to India to take its citizens. The seafarers were in constant touch with us to bring them back to Goa. Out of the 79 Indian seafarers, 46 are Goans and are on their way to Goa via road,” GSIA president Dixon Vaz told Herald.

On Thursday, the Goa government arranged two Volvo KTC buses to bring the Goan seafarers to their homeland. The buses had been dispatched on Thursday.

Exemptions for certain OCI categories

Overseas Citizens of India (OCI) can heave a sigh of relief as the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has relaxed restrictions on visa and travel for some. An office memorandum permits certain categories of OCI cardholders stranded abroad to come to India.

Categories of OCI exempted from restrictions include minor children born to Indian nationals abroad and holding OCI cards, those who wish to come to India on account of family emergencies like death in family, couples where one spouse is an OCI cardholder and the other is an Indian national and have a permanent residence in India, and university students (not legally minors) but whose parents are Indian citizens living in India. [H]