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A revelation about seafarers’ experiences

A deep dig into the challenges Indian seafarers face while searching for employment

Both Gujarat Maritime University (GMU) and the International Seafarers’ Welfare and Assistance Network (ISWAN) have launched a joint research project to identify the challenges Indian seafarers face while job hunting.

Addressing the persistent imbalance
India is one of the major seafarer supplier countries. Unfortunately, challenges resulted in declining interests from aspiring crew. Additionally, ISWAN reported receiving a disturbing number of cases involving seafarers battling rogue agents and suffering extreme trauma on the job.

This research will examine any potential gaps in the current Merchant Shipping Act, 19581 identified by the findings, and recommend suitable amendments to the legislation to address them. The research will also develop a comprehensive Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) to help stakeholders initiate actions against any errant agents.

Professor S. Shanthakumar, GMU’s Director of School of Maritime Law, Policy and Administration said: “Seafarers are instrumental in ensuring swift movements of ships and cargo from one place to another. India prides itself as one of the largest seafarers supplying nations in the world. Despite their contribution to the economy, these unsung heroes had to face many difficulties while getting placed onboard vessels.

“GMU is pleased to partner with ISWAN to conduct further research on the topic to understand the key challenges a seafarer undergoes during the recruitment process before joining a vessel. The study intends to examine the lacunae in the current legal system, and suggest suitable amendments to remedy the situation.”

Chirag Bahri, ISWAN’s Director of Regions added, “Rogue agents left seafarers stranded, or in custody in a foreign land on various charges of illicit crime onboard an unseaworthy vessel. These impacted not only the future career prospects of the seafarers, but also their family’s mental, physical and financial health. We are pleased to work with GMU, whose expertise on the subject will be very useful towards further advocating the outcome with the relevant stakeholders.

This survey openly invited former seafarers to disclose their experiences anonymously. The findings will be collated and used for identifying gaps in the Merchant Shipping Act (as amended), subsequently used to prompt stakeholders to take appropriate actions as required.

Crewing Online News Team
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