Validity of seafarers certificates extended till December 31/ Representational Image
Validity of seafarers certificates extended till December 31/ Representational Image

The Directorate General of Shipping has extended the validity of seafarers' certificate of competency (COC)/certificate of proficiency (COP) till December 31, 2021, in the wake of renewal difficulties due to the second wave of COVID-19. But many seafarers took to Twitter stating this is half done task.

Minister of State for Ports, Shipping and Waterways Mansukh Mandaviya took to microblogging site to talk about it.

These seafarers suggested the Directorate General of Shipping should issue a circular for STCW courses certificate with 18 months validity. One Twitter user pointed out that institutions are asking seafarers to travel for practicals if they need the certificates, only because the ministry has not issued a notification.

STCW stands for Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping. The main aim of STCW training certification is to set an internationally accepted standard set of safety measures that can be implemented by seafarers all over the world to handle any situation.

Another Twitter user pointed out the need for inoculation of the seafarers before travelling.

Commenting on the extension of COC/COP, Mandaviya said in a tweet that India's seafarers can now join the ships easily.

The Directorate General of Shipping deals with implementation of shipping policy and legislation under the Merchant Shipping Act, 1958.

In an order issued on April 28, the DG Shipping announced the onset of COVID-19 measures, including the closure of Maritime Training Institutes (MTI), to protect and safeguard seafarer and associated people working in the MTI from getting infected from the virus.

"The Directorate...extends all seafarer certificate of competency (COC)/certificate of proficiency (COP) till December 31, 2021, or one contract, whichever is later and irrespective of whether a seafarer has availed extension under any previous order/SOP or is ashore or on board the ship at the time of issue of this order, subject to...conditions," the order said.

The decision has been taken in consideration of the urgency in which the seafarers are required to man the ships to continue transportation of goods and people and that they need to be in possession of valid COCs or COPs, it added.

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