At least 150 PNSC personnel reportedly stranded on cargo ships internationally
Families of stranded personnel appeal to Federal Ministry of Coastal Affairs to ensure repatriation at the earliest
KARACHI: At least 150 Pakistani crew members aboard the Pakistan National Shipping Corporation's (PNSC) cargo ships have been stranded on ships in different parts of the world amid the pandemic.
According to Express News, the crew is not being allowed to land at the ports in the respective countries. Officials said they are in contact with the Pakistan Navy.
The families of the naval personnel have appealed to the Federal Ministry of Coastal Affairs to ensure the repatriation of the stranded navy personnel as soon as possible.
The repatriation of the PNSC personnel has been delayed due to the affected flight schedules.
Many countries have called their staff back as the number of Covid-19 cases continue to increase worldwide. However, staff members of the Pakistan national flag carrier have not been notified.
Contracts of many crew members have expired and payments have not been made for months.
20,000 more stranded citizens to return by next week
The stranded crew was stationed on PNSC bulk cargo MV Malakand, Hyderabad, Sibi, Multan and Chitral bound for various routes for maritime trade.
MV Malakand is presently on its way to Brazil from Indonesia, whereas MV Multan has been stationed in Colombo since May 18. Similarly, the crew on MV Hyderabad has been deployed on the ship since 14 months, whereas MV Chitral's crew has been on the ship for about 11 months.
Earlier this week, the government issued a new schedule of special flights which would be operated until June 10 to bring back more than 20,000 Pakistanis who are stranded around the world because of coronavirus-induced restrictions on air travel.
Special Assistant to Prime Minister on National Security Dr Moeed Yusuf said the government would further increase the number of inbound passengers per week through expediting the testing process for Covid-19 at the airports.
In a tweet, Yusuf said the government planned to repatriate 20,000 passengers by June 10, up from approximately 10,000 in the previous phase. “Passengers will be tested on arrival and sent home for self-isolation without having to wait for test results,” he added.