In a move that will come as a relief to hundreds of seafarers in the state, the Directorate General of Shipping has issued a one-time ‘amnesty’ scheme for seafarers who had submitted forged certificates to obtain Indian continuous discharge certificates (CDC).
The order, passed by Director General of Shipping and Additional Secretary of the Government of India Amitabh Kumar on Thursday, says that 3,762 persons had been identified in the country as having submitted forged certificates but the show-cause notice to each stands cancelled as part of the one-time scheme.
Taking into account the financial condition of these candidates, their ignorance which made them victims of manipulations of unscrupulous agents, their genuine remorse and willingness to undergo the training again, the DG Shipping has issued measures under the scheme.
“Show-cause notice issued to all 3,762 candidates shall stand cancelled and the candidates will have to repeat the courses again from approved training institutes,” said Kumar in the order, while adding that the period of debarment would be reduced and removed from January 31, 2020.
The one-time measure also allows the candidates, who have repeated the training and who have been issued fresh certificates from approved training institutes, to apply for restoration of their emigrant facility assuring it would be restored within 10 working days.
Candidates who had not repeated the training courses could
do so within six months from February 1, 2020 and apply for restoration of
their emigrant facility while “any other seafarer who wished to surrender his
certificate obtained wrongly to the Directorate, can do so and repeat the
course(s) till July 31, 2020 without facing any debarment,” says the
DG Shipping said they had also begun the process of blacklisting at least five maritime training institutes for issuing certificates of short-term courses to seafarers without imparting proper training to them.
“The process of withdrawal of approvals in respect of these institutes, blacklisting of their promoters, withdrawal of CDC and CoCs (certificate of competency) of the principals and course in-charge has been initiated and orders for closure of these three such institutes have already been issued, while proceedings in the remaining cases are at final stages of completion,” said Kumar in the order.
In its detailed order, DG shipping also informed that it had conducted an analysis of the entire situation and found that many of the candidates had been misguided by unscrupulous unauthorised agents or the training institutes and their faculty adding that the scheme was as a purely one-time humanitarian gesture.
The order has come as a relief to many Goan seafarers who were in fear of being debarred for a period of five years under the Merchant Shipping Act, 1958 over forged certificates of training courses.
Benaulim MLA Churchill Alemao, speaking to the seafarers, through a video being circulated on social media, also informed of the DG Shipping’s notice. “I urge seafarers who had forged STCW certificates because of which CDC was not given, to clear their names using the scheme offered by DG Shipping,” he said.