Last week 4 Indian Seafarers who were stranded in Iraq returned to India after intervention by PGE Mr M C Luther and Indian Embassy in Iraq. Many seafarers have applied for help in Malaysia , Iran and Dubai. The family of seafarers and International Maritime Federation has informed that PGE and Ministry of External Affairs are extending all the help. This help is much needed to facilitate the safe return of such seafarers stranded in different parts of the globe.
As per some media reports nearly 400 students have been cheated to the tune of INR 8 Crores in the name of Merchant Navy placement at NOIDA.
Capt. Sanjay Prashar, Managing Director, VR Maritime Services Pvt Ltd, has very actively taken up the noble cause of helping such searfarers. He has been in the news for actively fighting against the unauthorised placement agencies.
In a letter written to the office of Directorate General of Shipping and all the stakeholders of the industry, Capt Prashar writes, and we quote:
- I have made help group on whatsapp for Stranded Seafarers in Iran, Malaysia and UAE. The numbers and queries are increasing day by day. I estimate more than 20,000 Seafarers (Freshers) are employed through illegal agents and this is basically Human Trafficking. This is ON from 2006 and we seek immediate action on implementation of E-Migrant program. This will cut the roots of Non DG Approved Maritime Training Institutes who sell fake dreams. This will dampen the grey market business of Non Approved Agents who sell Death and cheat Indian youth in the name of Merchant Navy.
- Insurance of most of these odd 20,000 Seafarers doesn't exist , thus all Death reported in press for young Seafarers through such agents never states how dignity of Seafarer is compromised.
- The rot is so much set in that more than 1000 Crores in cash changes hands for employment of these Seafarers. If one employment is after 2 have been cheated, then this racket zooms to INR 3000 Crores per year.
- Indian Seaman book after recognizing seatime of 24 months from such agents is farce. DG should cancel this circular. As times have changed, Indian Seaman book is no guarantee of Job. It's a valuable document and issuance of same should be online basis new job scenarios.
- Compensation for loss of Life of Late Deck Cadet Paalsh is still a nightmare process and family continues to suffer after doing the last rites in April 2016. Earlier also deaths have been reported in Iran. We have all the dossier against Indian agents who sell death to Indian Seafarers. Facebook is full of such enticing advertisements and no advertising standards have been established by ASCI (Advertising Standard Council of India). We believe it's time for us to clean the mess as Merchant Navy profession ruefully takes a hit for wrong reasons.
- Recently Indian Seafarers in / around Iran are known to be getting enticed in smuggling. This is dangerous. There are more than 5 cases known to us where Indian Seafarers are languishing in Jail. Typical Case of Kuwait where our Seafarers are in Jail for last 3 years is example for suitable action.
We request you to have time bound action plan.
a) Ministry of Shipping has one of the best Feedback system and we request for Grievance redressal system which has time bound redressal.
b) E-Migrant program be used for Seafarers.
c) Malaysia, Iran, Dubai, PG, Cyprus are hotbeds for Illegal Trafficking of Seafarers. Jaipur, Lucknow and Kerala Airports seem to be the route. FRRO must be sensitized.
d) Action be taken against Non DG Approved Institute for selling fake dreams and illegal agents for selling death to Seafarers.
e) RPS Agencies as well as Seafarers to be encouraged to buy Pravasi Bhartiya Plus Bima Yogna.
In a telephonic conversation with The Shipping Tribune, Capt Prashar said, “Such evil practices have been in practice for quite some time but they are being unearthed now and we will continue war against such illicit operators who are cheating seafarers”.
Source: TST Newsdesk