The Director-General of Shipping, the chief regulatory body of the Indian government, in a new order, extended the validity of seafarers’ Competency(COC) and Proficiency (COP) certificates till 31st December 2021.
In DGS Order Number 16 of 2020, all COCs and COPs for seafarers, including the training certificate or refresher training, as specified in the STCW convention issued by DG Shipping which has expired or is expiring on or before December 31, 2020, shall be deemed to be revalidated till December.
Indian seafarers account for an enormous 10% of the global seafaring workforce, making it the third-largest country to account for the global chunk.
“The actions that are being taken worldwide and within India resulting from the outbreak present a serious challenge to the Directorate to allow the continued training of seafarers, revalidate certificates, including medical certificates, ” as quoted from DG Shipping officials.
The ineptitude in re-validation of the certificates would have deterred the opportunities of seafarers getting employment on ships.
The outbreak has vastly affected ship-to-shore dealings, including crew changes and in retaining the validity of the certificates of seafarers.
Abdulgani Serang, General Secretary of the National Union of Seafarers of India (NUSI) was quick to interject, “This will save thousands of jobs for Indian seafarers,”
However, the interim revalidation of certificates is only for allowing seafarers who have existing certificates which have expired and not for issuance of new certificates.