Mumbai: The involvement of some of the Maritime Training Institutes in issuance of course certificates for short term courses to seafarers without imparting proper training to them was noticed by the Directorate General of Shipping, GoI. Many of the candidates have replied to the show-cause notices and confessed the guilt and apologised for their misconduct. The process of withdrawal of approvals in respect of these institutes, blacklisting of their promoters, withdrawal of CDC and CoCs of the Principals & Course In-Charge and blocking of INDoS/e-migrate facility of seafarers are under progress. This was informed by Shri Amitabh Kumar, Director General Shipping and Additional Secretary to the Govt of India, in a press conference, here today.
Shri Kumar further informed, 3762 candidates who were alleged to have obtained certificates from the institutes without proper training were issued show-cause notices. An overwhelming majority of the candidates have either admitted to their wrong doing directly or apologised or have not responded or made any effort to defend their action, he said. Further, it was noted that the candidates involved in this fake certificate racket have not been allowed to take up any job since July 2019 and have already served punishment of nearly seven months which has caused them great financial hardship. It was also noted that most of the candidates involved were misguided by the agents, are remorseful of their conduct and are willing to redeem themselves by undergoing the training again. As such, some more leniency could be shown towards these candidates without compromising on the quality of training and discipline expected from a merchant navy employee, stated the DG, Shipping and also said, the Directorate as a responsible maritime administration, on humanitarian considerations, in consultation with Ministry of Shipping, GoI, has decided to grant one-time amnesty to the candidates, as a purely one-time measure. However, this amnesty is subject to the following:
a) The certificates indicated in the show-cause notices issued to all the 3762 candidates shall stand cancelled and the candidates will have to repeat these courses again from approved Maritime Training Institutes.
b) The period of debarment of these candidates shall be removed from 31.01.2020.
c) The candidates who have repeated the training and who have been issued fresh certificates from approved training institutes will apply for restoration of their e-migrant facility and the same shall be restored within 10 working days.
d) Candidates who have not repeated the training courses can do so within six months from 1st of February 2020 and apply for restoration of their e-migrant facility and the same shall be restored within 10 days after receipt of their application.
e) Any other seafarer who suo-moto wishes to surrender his certificate obtained wrongly to the Directorate, can do so and repeat the course(s) till 31st July 2020 without facing any debarment. This facility will not be available after 31st of July 2020 and surrender after this date will attract debarment in accordance with Merchant Shipping (CDC-cum-SID) Rules.
f) The amnesty has been granted on humanitarian considerations, and is strictly a one-time measure. The detection of similar transgressions in future will attract penalty of cancellation of CDC and debarment of up to 5 years.
g) If any candidate, who has been granted amnesty under this scheme is found involved in another misconduct or obtaining of false documents/certificates under MS Act, then he will be banned for life.
In today’s press conference, DG, Shipping also briefed about some recent incidents of kidnapping in the Gulf of Guinea. He informed that letters have been given to the Maritime Administration and Safety Agency of Nigeria seeking details of the prosecution carried out of the pirates. The Director General of Shipping has also taken up the matter at the level of Friends of Gulf of Guinea (i.e. G7++ countries) and as well as with the Secretary General of International Maritime Organisation (IMO). Notably, M.T. Nave Constellation, M.T. Duke and TSHD M.V. Ambika, which are vessels managed by Mumbai based shipping firms and having Indians on-board, were subjected to attack in and around Nigerian coastal waters in the recent past.