Mumbai: In a shocking development, the Directorate-General of Shipping (DGS) has detected a fraud in which a whopping 3,762 Merchant Navy personnel were issued fake qualification certificates with the involvement of some Maritime Training Institutes (MTIs), a top Indian shipping official said here on Friday.
DGS Amitabh Kumar said that the MTIs issued the certificates for short-term courses to the sea-farers without imparting proper training to them.
After these cases were detected, the DGS issued show-cause notices to all the candidates and a majority of them have admitted to their guilt and even apologised, while some have ignored the DGS' missives.
"The process of cancelling the approvals of the MTIs, blacklisting their promoters, withdrawing CDC and CoCs of the principals and course in-charges, blocking the INDoS/e-migrate facility of the sea-farers is under progress," said Kumar.
These candidates with fake qualifications have not been permitted to take up any shipping jobs since July 2019, which has caused them great financial distress.
Kumar said most of the candidates were misguided by the agents and have expressed willingness to undergo fresh training.
"Accordingly, on humanitarian considerations, in consultancy with Ministry of Shipping and without compromising on the quality of training/discipline for Merchant Navy employees, the DGS has decided to grant 'one-time amnesty' with conditions to the candidates," Kumar said.
Among these will be cancellation of the notices issued to all the 3,762 candidates who must undergo fresh training from approved MTIs facilitating their period of debarment to be lifted from January 31, 2020.
Those candidates who have already repeated the training and have been issued fresh certificates from approved MTIs can apply for restoration of their e-migrant facility which will be done within 10 working days.
The other candidates can go for repeat training through approved MTIs within six months from February 1 and apply for restoration of e-migrant facility which will be done within 10 days.
Other sea-farers who wish to suo moto surrender their wrongly obtained certificates to the DGS can do so and repeat their relevant course/s till July 31, 2020, but surrender at a later date would attract debarment as per the Merchant Shipping Rules.
If similar violations are noticed in future, it will attract penalty of cancellation of the CDC and debarment up to five years. If any candidate under the amnesty scheme is found involved in any other misconduct or obtaining fake certificates/documents, he will be banned for life, Kumar warned.