The Directorate-General of Shipping has debarred over 300 seafarers from sailing for one year for securing qualification certificates without attending classes.
India’s maritime administration issued show cause notices to 3,762 seafarers on September 28 who it believes secured the bogus certificates issued by at least four institutes without attending classes and receiving training, reported on October 20.
Each of these candidates/seafarers was asked to reply to the notices within 15 days (with data) of the issuance and to submit evidence to show if he had attended the said course in the Institute.
“DGS has received around 1,300 replies, out of which final order has been passed on 263 candidates who gave clear reply of having obtained certificate without attending classes fully,” Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Shipping Mansukh Mandaviya told the Lok Sabha on Thursday.
He was replying to a written question raised by five MPs — Ratansinh Magansinh Rathod, Vinayak Raut, AKP Chinraj, Shrirang Appa Barne and Hemant Sriram Patil — which was based on the earlier report.
“It came to the notice (of the DGS) that some of the Maritime Training Institutes (MTI) have issued course certificate(s) to candidates without their actual attendance and without imparting the required training. In certain cases, signatures of the Course In-charge and Principal/Head of the Institute have been scanned on the certificates and not physically signed,” the Minister told Parliament.
Mandaviya said that the courses in which such irregularities were noticed were identified and the candidates enrolled in such courses have been prevented to travel using e-migrate system, pending verification of authenticity of certificates.
The DGS has reissued the show cause notice letters to candidates who had not responded to the earlier notices.
“Since most of the candidates have not replied, the DGS has said this is the last opportunity,” said a Ministry official.
Shutting down institutes
The DGS also issued show cause notices to four maritime training institutes (MTI) which were involved in issuance of the fake certificates.
Out of the four maritime training institutes, one — MTI (Aryavart Maritime Institute, Ropar, Punjab) — closed down voluntarily after a surprise inspection by the DGS. The remaining three institutes on which the show cause notices were issued have been denied access to conduct any DGS approved maritime modular courses, Mandaviya stated.
A Ministry official said that the DGS has issued a letter today (December 6) for shutting down Bravo Maritime Academy in Mumbai, while the closure letter for Pragati Marine College, also in Mumbai, will be issued on Monday.
A decision on the closure of Puducherry-based Marine Officers’ Training Academy (MOTA) would take time, he stated.