days ago, in context with this business of different letters
pertaining to service onboard Indian flag ships.
1) The "articles of agreement" which is the official document that
will hold for all legal purposes. This is between the shipowner, the
Master and you and is what is the document required under the Merchant
2) The "appointment / agreement", call it what you want, between
somebody else and you. Usually a "manning agent" who is working under
the same MSA but under the RPS Rules which were issued by DGS!!!
To: The DG Shipping, Govt. of India, Jahaz Bhavam, Mumbai.
cc: The Nautical Advisor,Govt. of India, Jahaz Bhava, Mumbai.
dtd:- 21st September 2011
Greetings & Jai Hind!!
As you may be aware, seafarers joining Indian flag ships typically
sign atleast two documents, if not more, pertaining to their
conditions of emplotyment on board, wages, terms and conditions,
taxation,benefits, insurance covers, and other related elements.
1) Articles of employment as seafarer, an official legal document
issued by the Government of India, and signed by the seafarer, Master
and shipowner. Wages shown here are to be atleast as per IMB/MUI
agreement. There is nothing that prevents higher wages or benefits
being paid to seafarers in this.
2) Another "agreement" or "contract" signed with the RPS agent which
is totally at variance with the above. Wages shown here are different
from MUI, and contradict the basic tenets of the MSA, the laws of the
country, the taxation issues,IMB/ MUI agreement, as well as any form of
natural justice. In addition, this appears to be intensely one-sided
against the seafarer, and is reportedly also filed with the office of
the DG Shipping - especially when performed by RPS Agents.
In the first instance, I would like to know if the office of the DG
Shipping is aware that such dual agreements are now almost an accepted
fact of life, apparently endorsed by the office of the DG Shipping,
Government of India, by reasons of common practice over the last few
In the second instance, I would like to know what the office of the DG
Shipping proposes to do about this, since it appears to be a rather
untenable and unsustainable practice, not covered under any part of
the Merchant Shipping Act as well as against all basic laws pertaining
to employment as well as other related factors therein, which I shall
be glad to outline if you so desire.
I look forward to your early reponse on this subject, and thank you
for your kind co-operation.
Sincerely . . .
Obviously, the DGS has not responded, it willtake an RTI to get them
to respond. But meanwhile, from onboard an Indian flag vessel, the
sub-standard work conditions and total sweatshop attitude continues to
prevail. Salary cuts are arbitary, working conditions terrible, and
there appears to be a fear generated atmosphere onboard which was
never there before.
I know much more on what ails Indian shipping now - and only wish it
was made compusory for ALL peope ashore in shipping, especially in
government as well as IRS, MMD, teaching, Port State Control and
similar, to go to sea for 3-6 months every five years.
On Indian flag ships.
THAT would really wake them up.
In my case, the bedbugs on board this ship have woken me up, I am out
in 5-6 days. That, and the crummy company on board - the ChEng, with
hardly 2 weeks under his belt, is moving on too.