NO: DELENG / 2017 / 70663
official media partner of national maritime foundation
GSAI writes to shipping ministry, Mr. Frank Vegas throws light on the letter.
By Sea and Coast | 04/04/2021

GSAI writes to Shipping Minister, letter aims at making shipping a more desireable occupation

On April 5th, 1919 a history was created when SS Loyalty, the first ship of The Scindia Steam Navigation Company Ltd journeyed to the United Kingdom. This event marked the revival of India as a global maritime superpower and is truly an occurrence of inscribing India’s name on intercontinental commerce and global trade. Since 1964, April 5th is observed as the National Maritime Day of India.

India now provides 9.35% of the global seafarers and ranks third in the list of the large seafarers supplying the nation to the world maritime industry. However, there have been undermined efforts to realize the seafaring workforce as the key asset for the nation. To the surprise, COVID 19 Pandemic wreaked havoc upon the maritime industry and global supply chain which pushed the world to realize seafarers as key workers.

Goan Seamen Association of India, a non-profit organization based in Margao, Goa has been an active liaison between the efforts and the realization of seafarers as a key asset. GSAI has successfully organized various drives aimed at the benefits of seafarers;

requesting vaccines for seafarers on a priority basis, organizing medical camps and blood donation drives, etc. to name a few. Adding to it, GSAI on the occasion of National Maritime Day wrote to respected Shri Mansukh Mandaviya, Honorable Minister for Shipping, Ports, and Waterways highlighting the urgent needs to be addressed for the betterment of the Indian Maritime Community and push the shipping to emerge as one of the most desired professions with desired working conditions, perks, and placement in the society.

The letter highlighted:

●     Shorter Contract Period for Seafarers (Ratings) 7Months +/- 1 month - This point highlighted the need for a shorter contract period for seafarers (rating) which would place them at a better mental standing to continue with seafaring and moreover it would motivate them to work at sea more with social balance in their life.

●     The second point brought out the need for ‘Free 2GB internet connection for the seafarers at sea’ to furnish a better motivating environment to the seafarers on-board being in touch with their loved ones on a regular basis.

●     The third pointed necessary highlighted furnishing of flight tickets to the home town for seafarers after sign-off.

●     The schedule and working hours at sea have always been the problem. GSAI wrote in the letter to consider double overtime when working on Sundays and holidays to ensure a better working environment and reward the hardworking crew for their efforts. However, it would also probe the management and restrict them to violate the normal working hours rules, GSAI added.

●     Further, GSAI stressed the need of making medical plans for the seafarers more transparent. It is the duty of the organizations to ensure the well-being of their staff and their loved ones and awareness should be created regarding the same, GSAI highlighted.

●     The letter demanded a Seafarer Relation Officer to be appointed by every RPSL company, acting as a single point of contact to voice the grievances.

●     Every year thousands of Marine Engineers and Deck Cadets from different MTIs in India. Most of them are recruited on foreign going vessels with foreign shipping organizations. GSAI, mentioning this point, stressed the need of bridging the gap between the supply and demand of Maritime Graduates in order to ensure a proper return on the investment of time, skills, and money of the graduates.

To bring these into subtle reality, GSAI ensured wide circulation of this letter aimed at making shipping a more favorable profession across many organizations and bodies of the Indian Maritime industry which included DG Shipping, NUSI, Maritime Union of India, Government of Goa, FOSMA, IMF, MASSA, ITF, IMO, ILO-UK, National Shipping Board, and India National Shipowners Association.

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