Every year, numerous Indian seafarers join merchant shipping through crewing agencies not registered with the Directorate General of Shipping, despite the fact it is mandatory for all agencies to obtain a Recruitment and Placement Services Licence (RPSL) from the Government of India.

These agencies pose a number of serious risks to seafarers – abandonment on vessels outside India, unpaid wages, prison time from working on board ships carrying illegal cargo, and sea time not counted by the Directorate General of Shipping, to name a few

ISWAN says.

These difficulties affect the seafarers, but also their families, who can find themselves financially at risk without a reliable income.

ISWAN’s new video has been released as part of its campaign against unregistered crewing agencies in India, which was launched in January 2018.

The video features a seafarer who joined a vessel through an unregistered crewing agency and spent 22 months at sea when the crew was abandoned by the ship owner. Six months into the voyage, the crew found themselves with a shortage of fuel, food and drinking water and had to rely on passing vessels for provisions.

Also interviewed are two seafarers who completed their pre-sea training with a maritime institute not approved by the Directorate General of Shipping. Both were then deceived by fraudulent crewing agencies who charged them to find work at sea.

The Indian Government has cancelled a number of licences of non-complying agencies and launched an e-migrate system, which has reduced the number of seafarers leaving the country through such agencies. However, some registered manning agents have been found to have links with illicit agents.

A number of Indian seafarers are being deceived by these unregistered agencies into paying for jobs at sea. Our new video highlights this problem. ISWAN is working with a range of partners in India to stamp out this illegal practice that cruelly exploits seafarers

ISWAN’s Executive Director, Roger Harris, comments,

The full list of registered agencies can be found on the Directorate General of Shipping website.