- ‘Market slump puts seafarers in trouble’
‘Market slump puts seafarers in trouble’
With various cargo vessels being arrested by the Admiralty courts for failing to address the needs of seafarers such as payment of wages, the ongoing economic slump may cause such cases to increase in the future, Captain L K Panda, nautical advisor to the central government, said here on Tuesday. He said one vessel has been arrested at Goa, another at Chennai and few others at Mumbai by the Admiralty court in the recent past.
Speaking to the mediapersons during his visit to the city on Tuesday, Panda said that the economic slowdown could lead to issues among seafarers and vessel owners as the latter are constrained in mobilising revenue resources.
“As a maritime administration, we are advising seafarers to join only those ships for which recruitment is done by the Recruitment and Placement of Seafarer Licences ( RPSL) agencies as they are accountable to the directorate general (DG) of shipping,” he said, adding, “DG shipping continuously interacts with the owners to settle the dues and gives them advice. DG shipping also addresses distressed seafarers, who have not been paid wages and not given the due provisions on the ship.”
Referring to the two incidents of abandoned motor vessels ‘Pavit’ and ‘Wisdom’ straying unhindered into Indian waters and running aground on Indian shores in the past, he said, “After these incidents, a security council has been formed at the Centre and a secured network has been formed. Since then, we haven’t seen any cases of abandonment.”
Participating in the inaugural ceremony of the expert mission training programme by Tokyo and Indian Ocean memorandum of understandings (MoUs) in association with the directorate general of shipping, he said the programme is to train port state control officers (PSCOs) so that they can go and inspect foreign flagged vessels and ensure they are seaworthy and safe to come into the ports.
He said 21 PSCOs from Maldives, Oman, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania and India, are participating in the two-week programme, who will be trained by experts from Australia, New Zealand and Japan.
“Though international maritime organisations have many regulations, some countries don’t follow them
. When ships of those countries come to the port, there is always a danger. This programme will help PSCOs detect and deter such ships from coming to our ports,” he added. Senior port state control officer Ajithkumar Sukumaran said that PSCOs are widely accepted as the most effective mechanism to prevent substandard ships from entering into ports and leading to a catastrophe. “Instead of waiting for a disaster to happen, it is only prudent to stop them,” he said.
Citing the cases of MV Pavit and MV Wisdom, he said that an unseaworthy ship is a calculated risk and financial gamble based on unprofessional and unethical means adopted by someone sitting somewhere remote, which should not be allowed to enter the country’s waters.
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