23-03-2016

I Really Do Not Want Another Palash to Struggle Like This: Payal Balsetwar

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Father of Palash told Capt. Sanjay Prashar (Managing Director, V R Maritime) "I just want to see my son Palash one last time. Nothing can compensate loss of my son. Young Cadets should not come back as dead bodies and I will work for that with Government, Industry and Citizens."

Payal Balsetwar, Sister of Palash told Capt. Sanjay Prashar “We should really fight for this. I really don’t want another Palash to struggle like this.”

The tragic death of Cadet Palash Balsetwar has shook everyone in the shipping industry. It has again woken up all the stakeholders. There are dubious and unscrupulous  agents who are cheating young officers and seafarers and are responsible for sending them on unsafe vessels. They are not registered with Directorate General of Shipping. In an unfortunate incident on the night of 15th March, Cadet Palsh, onboard MV Mashhour, IMO 8628107 Iran Flag vessel (32 years old Ship) died as he was unable to abandon the vessel, unlike other six seafarers.

Parents are now await transportation of their son's body from Iran. Government is working round the clock. 

Commissioner of Police IPS Amitesh Kumar has gone full force on the three Agents namely Hemant from Nasik, Sanjeev & Vikas Kadam of Sea Rank Ship Management of Fort- Mumbai (Non Licensed Company who sent Cadet Palsh on Ship) by issuing Search Warrant basis FIR lodged in Aurangabad by the Family.

Capt. Sanjay Prashar has been trying to draw the attention on the evil practices of Non RPSL Companies for quite some time and raising this issue not only within the industry but also with the ministry.  Capt Sanjay says “We  plead to have a mechanism where Indian Seafarers join ships legitimately. Small town people despite all social media are unaware of risks associated with employment of Seafarers.”

In a letter written to the ministry , Capt Sanjay Prashar has submitted his findings and suggested corrective actions as below:

Risks at Sea and Act of God are part of Seafarer's life. It's acceptance of this fact that we submit some of the findings as below:

1. Non RPSL Companies operate through advertisements in Newspapers , facebook and charge Moneyaroung 3 to 5 Lakh. Sometime the agents vanish after taking Money.

2. Commissioner of Police Aurangabad has taken FIR against non RPSL companies and acted swiftly. This is first time such a thing has happened. Appreciate IPS Amitesh Kumar's clean act.

3. PMO, MEA, Ministry of Shipping, CM Office in direct touch with bereaved Family.

4. Many other incidents have come to light basis Media highlighting this specific incident such as 

a) Cadet Rakesh who is still in Iran , a co-Seafarer of Palash is still waiting to come back to India.  

b) Missing OS Ranjit Singh from another Iranian Ship, 10 Feb 2016.

c) Sept 2015: Three Indian Seafarers (1st timers) arrested in Spain

d) No Death Compensation to Family of Late Capt Ramesh Singh

e) Oct 2015: Seaman Kalpesh Shinde arrested in Greece from Oct 2015.

Above is only handful. There needs to more openness at DG Shipping sharing issues of concern and look into Justice being deliver to Sailors and families who are suffering due to past legacy of the system.

DG Shipping may consider as action plan:

1. DGS Order 4 of 2015 (attached): Advisory Board / Think Tank to DG Shipping should take this on agenda and look into what new process to be put in place for NON RPSL Companies operations.

2. Immigration Check Point at Seaport / Airport: All countries in the world have a defined process for Seafarers to exit from Country. Such as SECD in Myanmar, POEA in Philippines, Shipping Master in Sri Lanka and Pakistan etc. Why can't Form IIIA sign on or Letter of RPSL company be criteria to exit final check point at Ports (Sea / Air) be implemented.

3. Some of the Maritime Training Training Institutes are the breeding ground for Illegitimate Non RPS Agents. Suggest a Chapter on Risks associated with wrongful employment of Seafarers be introduced. Syllabus be thought by committee originating from DGS Order 4 of 2015. MLC 2006 is part of syllabus and more real information should be imparted to students.

4.  RPSL Gazette Published on 16 Feb 2016, clause 4 states that no Employment of Seafarers if company doesn't have RPSL. Make effective implementation of same.

5. Vigilance Dept can see through all FB pages, Advertisements in Newspapers and have direct intelligence coverage to swoop on the illegal business now exceeding INR 600 Crores and more than 50 Seafarers every year ending up either in Jail or as Dead Bodies. As stated earlier most of these joining are in Iran, Malaysia, Greece companies, Nigeria and Indonesia.

6. Any company operating as Ministry of Corporate Affairs, CIN (Company Identification Number) should be displayed on Letter head. Thus how come non RPSL Companies can open shops and work when so many checks and balances are available,. Most of the companies are in Fort, New Mumbai, Punjab and Chennai. Pls look into this aspect for effective implementation of process.

7. There are 358 RPSL companies. RPSL Audit may be required to make it effective by quarterly e- Audit. Form IIIA is great process and same should be further strengthened by more workshops knowing issues at Company level and feedback from end Users including Seafarers.

Capt Sanjay Prashar concludes by saying “We want to make India a maritime hub with our proud Seafarers.”

 

Source: TST Newsdesk

Special thanks to Capt Sanjay Prashar for providing us with important inputs and his initiative against unscrupulous manning agents

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