India’s Directorate-General of Shipping has declared a one-off amnesty scheme for 3,762 seafarers it has found obtained fake certificates from five training institutes without completing the necessary training. The news was described in the Hindu Business Line newspaper as “the biggest fake certificate scam yet” in the country’s maritime training sector.
The government had barred these seafarers from working from last July but has now allowed them to take new courses at approved training institutes to restart their careers.
The directorate-general has said that any other seafarer who has a fake certificate can hand them in before the end of July and will not face disbarment so long as they then take new courses. Seafarers not adhering to the amnesty and found to have fake certificates face a five-year disbarment.
The government has said it will look to close down any training institute handing out fake certificates.
“The fake certificate racket was a big setback for us, that the certificate issued by the Indian system was below the quality and standard for which the country was renowned. So, it was critical for us to clamp down on this at an early stage itself and it was in the interest of the seafarers,” a spokesperson for the directorate-general told the Hindu Business Line.
India is the second largest supplier of seafarers to the global merchant fleet after the Philippines.