India welcomes today the largest ever boxships to call at the country.
However, the trio of 20,000 teu ships are not on any fixed service; they’re headed to Cochin port to change crew.
The 20,388 teu Ever Given and the 20,170 teu sister ships MOL Tribute and MOL Tradition – all managed by Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement – have diverted to Cochin, increasingly India’s crew change port, today, giving locals a glimpse of so-called megamaxes for the first time.
There are currently more than 50,000 Indian seafarers stranded at sea, working beyond their contract lengths, thanks to travel restrictions put in place following the spread of coronavirus around the world.
Cochin’s southerly location and its deepwater port makes it an attractive destination for crew change diversions as ships do not have to head too far off course from their normal routes to get there. India has developed standard operating procedures for crew changes of Indian seafarers in local waters during the pandemic but is still grappling with how to repatriate the thousands of crew overseas.