D-G Shipping steps in to check instances of seafarers jumping ship

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Indian seafarers working on board cruise ships are jumping ship – a term used to imply abandoning the ship and disappearing – during halts at ports in the US, forcing the country’s maritime administration to crack down on such incidents.

Acting on complaints received from Recruitment and Placement Services companies, citing instances of seafarers jumping ship, the Director-General of Shipping has decided to block the privileges given to seafarers in its e-governance system and such seafarers would not be allowed to use the e-migrant system.

Such cases will be referred to the Ministry of External Affairs for cancellation of the seafarer’s passport, and the seafarer’s continuous discharge certificate (CDC) would be cancelled within 24 hours of the receipt of a formal complaint from the employer or the approved Recruitment and Placement Services Company, accompanied by a formal complaint filed with the local police authorities, the Directorate-General of Shipping said in an August 1 circular.

Seafarers jumping ship, typically work in the hospitality services sector. “They take employment on cruise ships and when the ship halts at ports in the US, they go out on shore leave and don’t report back to the ship -- they just disappear,” said Subhash Barguzar, a Deputy Director-General of Shipping.

“We do not have information about the whereabouts of these seafarers, where they disappear,” he said, adding that the “main motive in such cases appears to be to find a job elsewhere and stay on in that country”.

"This is a criminal act and due to this unscrupulous behaviour of a small number of seafarers, the job prospects for lndian seafarers on cruise ships are being adversely affected,” the DGS wrote in the August 1 circular.

Barguzar said the DGS has “come across quite a large number of such cases, maybe a few hundred” based on complaints received from manning agents, and the maritime administration has taken action in “a few cases”.

“The US is a big country, a big economy. Prospects are good there, so they (seafarers) find it a good place to live in. You know there is a great rush for US visas,” Barguzar added.

Source: The Hindu Business Line

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