Members of ISWAN India’s Programme Steering Group met in Mumbai on 7 June to discuss the programme’s latest activities to promote the welfare of Indian seafarers and their families.
The meeting was chaired by ISWAN Trustee Michael Pinto, Former Secretary at the Directorate General of Shipping, Government of India (DGS). ISWAN Trustees Deepak Shetty and Dr Suresh Idnani attended, along with senior representatives from:
• Directorate General of Shipping (DGS)
• Indian National Shipowners' Association (INSA)
• Maritime Association of Shipowners, Ship Managers and Agents (MASSA)
• Foreign Owners Representatives and Ship Managers Association (FOSMA)
• National Union of Seafarers of India (NUSI)
• Forward Seamen's Union of India (FSUI)
• Maritime Union of India (MUI)
• Company of Master Mariners of India (CMMI)
• Women's International Shipping & Trading Association (WISTA) India
• Sailors’ Society
• Mission to Seafarers
Chirag Bahri, ISWAN’s Regional Director, presented the work report and informed members that ISWAN India’s work programme has received a grant for the next three years. Members were invited to suggest and give guidance on ways to implement the programme in India.
The steering group discussed ISWAN’s ongoing campaign against non-registered manning agents. Members stressed the importance of raising awareness among seafarers and their families about the effects of joining ships through fly-by-night agents.
Members also discussed the incidents of piracy off West Africa affecting Indian seafarers. They stressed that seafarers should not be complacent while transiting through piracy prone areas, and should be briefed on coping in captivity and how to deal with such incidents in case they are kidnapped.
Finally, the steering group deliberated over how to raise awareness of mental wellbeing among seafarers while on board, and how best seafarers can look after the health of fellow crew members on board as well as their own.
ISWAN India is following up with the Ministry of Shipping to encourage Indian ports to establish Port Welfare Committees, which is a requirement under the Maritime Labour Convention, 2006.
The programme is grateful to INSA, which hosted the meeting, for its support. ISWAN thanks all the members for sharing their valuable time and guiding the programme to assist distressed seafarers and their families, and thanks the funders for their immense support.