For those young cadets who don’t have any immediate association with the Merchant Navy field, the time after graduation from a maritime academy can be rather confusing. With all the maritime courses and other processes required under protocol, it is justified that a fresh deck cadet would find it difficult to deal with the huge load of documentation and paperwork required after passing out.
Also, in the quest for seeking employment, deck cadets often forget to get their important documentations ready. It is therefore important that deck cadets do not ignore the necessity to keep all documentations ready, in order that they may produce them to the employer whenever required. Also, prior to seeking employment, during the visits to Mercantile Marine Department (MMD) to get a variety of work done, these documents must be kept assorted in folder at all times.
Following are the documents that are normally asked for:
1. CDC (Continuous Discharge Certificate): Perhaps the most important thing for a seafarer, this booklet must be kept handy at all times. The CDC number is always required when filling out application forms for a job, to do maritime courses, for endorsement etc.
2. INDoS (Indian Database of Seafarers): Another important document that must be carried at all times. Read more about INDos number here. Every country has their own system of maritime database and fresh deck cadets must apply for their number as soon as possible.
3. STCW (Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping) Certificates: The mandatory STCW certificates comprising of PST (Personal Survival Techniques), PSSR (Personal Safety and Social Responsibility), EFA (Elementary First Aid), FPFF (Fire Prevention and Fire Fighting). All these are mandatory courses which are to be carried out by sea going professionals.
4. Passport: The ultimate proof of identity for seafarers apart from CDC. Seafarers are advised to keep passport always with them when getting documentation related work done. Deck cadets must carry this everywhere.
5. Photographs: It is always necessary to carry a few extra copies of passport sized photographs while going for documentation.
6. Course Completion Certificate: The proof of having completed the tenure of study at college. A certificate of degree/diploma is required for all documentation processes.
7. Xth/XIIth mark sheet: These may be required for proof of age and to verify other important details.
As mentioned earlier, a few visits to the MMD is required to get a variety of necessary work done. Following are the procedures to be completed before setting sail for which, the above mentioned documents shall be required:
1. Yellow Fever Vaccination: This vaccination is required for individuals travelling to South American and African countries. The shot can be obtained from the MMD (Mercantile Marine Department) for a fee of INR 300/- (Will vary according to the country). For this, documents required are photocopies of front and back pages of the CDC and Passport. Prior booking for the vaccination has to be done from the office of the Port Health Officer. The vaccination is valid for 10 years. This can be obtained even without an offer letter from a company.
2. OTF/GTF/CTF: Depending on the vessel the cadet will be sailing on, the respective course needs to be done for the particular type of vessel (Oil/Gas/Chemical). Always check for DG approval status on the website (www.dgshipping.com) before choosing the course at an institute.
3. Dangerous Cargo Endorsement (DCE): The OTF/GTF/CTF certificate completed can be rendered invalid if it is not endorsed at the MMD. Depending on the ship the Cadet will be sailing on, the necessary certificate (OTF/GTF/CTF) should be endorsed for a fee of INR 1040/-. Remember to include each and every document mentioned in the DCE checklist. The medical certificate is a bit tricky so it is advised to go through the exact tests and checkups required for the medical certificate to be considered appropriate.
4. US Visa ( Or Any Other Visa): A letter of employment/offer is required to get a US Visa. Hence, this is the last formality that needs to be completed before setting sail. The company normally sets it up for the employee if required at all.
It is advisable to keep about 10 photocopies of each of the documents ready and assorted in a folder at all times when visiting an office, the MMD, to book a course, or any other related work. Are there any other important documents required by deck cadets? Let us know in the comments below.
You may also like to read – What is Seaman’s Service Book?
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