India: DG Shipping extends validity of seafarers certificates by six months
The Director General of Shipping (DG Shipping) has extended the validity of seafarers’ certificates that were expiring between March 23 and October 01, 2020 by six months in a relief to crew working on board ships amidst a three-week lockdown.
“Now after taking stock and assessing the emerging Covid-l9 situation, the Directorate hereby extends the expiry date of all STCW certificates (includes the training certificates i.e. certificates required under Chapter VI of the STCW) and associated endorsements issued by the Directorate General of Shipping (DGS) which are expiring between 23 March and 1 October 2020 (both dates inclusive), for a period of six months from the expiry date printed/typed on the relevant certificate (Certificate of Competency (COC)/Certificate of Equivalency(COE)/Certificate of Proficiency (COP),” Amitabh Kumar, Director General of Shipping, wrote in a April 3 order.
“However, all those seafarers who meet the eligibility requirements for revalidation may make an application after the lifting of the lockdown period, to the Mercantile Marine Department for revalidation of their certificate of COC/COP/COE,” Kumar said.
Further, whenever the revalidation of the expired certificate is to be carried out, the new validity shall be issued for a period of five years from the original certificate expiry date.
“There is no need to approach the DGS for any confirmation email of extension but may retain a copy of this order onboard for the guidance of officials should it be required,” he added.
The above extension is in the view of the prevailing extraordinary circumstances of the worldwide spread of Covid-I9 and the country wide lockdown.
In a March 23 order, the DG Shipping had allowed extension of the validity of COC/COP/COE issued to all those seafarers for a limited period of one month. This extension was applicable to all those who were sailing onboard Indian flagged vessels and also Indian seafarers who were sailing on foreign Flag ships at the time of issue of the Order by a period of one month only and without any preconditions or submissions of request for the same
The extension was granted considering that many seafarers due for sign off from ships are unable to do so due to the current situation created by Covid and that their COC/COP/COE may be expiring and that they should not be forced to unnecessarily sail on vessels on the pretext of non-availability of seafarers or sign-off opportunity.
Source: The Hindu Business Line