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DG Shipping warns seafarers recruitment agents against taking money to give jobs

India’s maritime administration, the Director General of Shipping (DG Shipping) has advised seafarers recruitment and placement agents and shipping companies to refrain from taking money for employment as it was unlawful under the country’s maritime law.

Acting on complaints that seafarers were forced to pay money to RPSL (Recruitment and Placement of Seafarers License) agents and shipping companies for getting employment on board merchant ships, the DG Shipping has issued a circular seeking to end such unlawful practices.

Section 97 of India’s Merchant Shipping Act, 1958, mandates that a person or company or organisation, including a union purporting to represent the interests of seafarers, shall not demand or receive, either directly or indirectly, from any seafarer or person seeking employment as seaman or any person on his behalf, any remuneration, donation or fees or compulsory subscription of any kind attributable from such seafarer or a person’s employment as seaman, other than the fees authorised by the Act.

“In order to ensure compliance of the above provisions of the Merchant Shipping Act by all concerned, the Indian ship owning companies and RPSL companies shall display a notice at a prominent place on their premises with immediate effect,” Subhash Barguzer, a deputy director general of shipping (crew) wrote in a February 13 circular.

The notice to be displayed warns that “Section 97 of the Merchant Shipping Act, 1958 prohibits demand of any remuneration directly or indirectly from the seafarers for providing employment”.

“lf any person, company, organization or union in this office or otherwise, demands or receive any money/remuneration, from any seafarer or person seeking employment as seafarer, he can complain to the deputy director general/ assistant director general of shipping (crew branch) in the Mumbai head office of the Directorate General of Shipping”.

“Such complaints can also made to the jurisdictional seamen’s employment office located in Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata.”

Last October, the DG Shipping decided to grade the performance of seafarers recruitment and manning agents through an external agency.

This was in continuation of the steps taken by the DG Shipping against maritime training institutes, faculty and seafarers over quality issues.

Accordingly, a comprehensive inspection programme (CIP) of the approved Recruitment and Placement of Seafarers License (RPSL) holders will be conducted annually by one of the eight ship classification societies authorised by the DG Shipping, including the Indian Register of Shipping, Lloyd’s Register Group Ltd, Bureau Veritas, American Bureau of Shipping, Nippon Kaiji Kyokai, Korean Register of Shipping. RINA Services S P A and DNV GL A S.

Some 412 DG Shipping approved RPSL agents are currently operating in India.
Source: The Hindu Business Line

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