Nautical Institute (NI) Cochin felicitated MASSA and FOSMA for their efforts towards easing the dilemma of the seafarers regarding the signing off, during the pandemic, thus helping them to unite with their families during the lockdown.
NI, a professional Institute that works closely with the IMO, has been running a campaign during this pandemic to recognize the work of all those who have contributed in aiding the seafarers during these trying times.
Nautical Institute (which is has its footprints in over 70 countries and is expected to have about 1000 members soon) to express its gratitude awarded “Certificate of Appreciation” to Capt. Prashant Rangnekar & Team MASSA and Dr. Sanjay Bhavnani & Team FOSMA for their huge efforts in aiding the seafarers to get back to their families during the crisis created by the pandemic.
It may be mentioned that MASSA and FOSMA have also helped seafarers who were on leave to join the ships so that they could continue their employment. FOSMA and MASSA are two pillars of the Indian shipping which have been doing an excellent job over the last few months and a lot of seafarers have benefited from both these Associations.
Capt Vinod Naveen, Associate Fellow of Nautical Institute (AFNI), NI-India-SW was thankful to the guests for being present at the event, held on August 29, 2020.
Mr. Deepak Shetty, Former Secretary & Director General of shipping, GOI, said he has fond memories of his association with FOSMA and MASSA during his tenure as DGS. He thanked the Nautical Institute, specially Capt. Vinod Navin for inviting him. He recalled how his journey had started with the civil service in the National Maritime and the flag administration, which goes popularly as the Director General of Shipping. He spoke about his association with maritime stakeholders.
Reminiscing about some of his experiences with MASSA and FOSMA, during his tenure as DG Shipping, he stated that The MLC was at the nascent stages of being ratified in India so he had a lot of dialogues with FOSMA and MASSA regarding it. It eventually culminated when India ratified this in August 2013. He also recalled an extraordinary crisis where foreign flag ships had been hijacked by Somali pirates that had Indian seafarers onboard. 52 of them were rescued and their relief and rehabilitation was helped by FOSMA and MASSA.
He also remembered the time when the government wanted employment opportunities for shipping staff who were unemployed, FOSMA & MASSA came forward to provide training slots to many trainees and cadets and gave around 118 slots for their venture.
He cited the time when 14 merchant shipping rules were repealed with the help of FOSMA and MASSA. He stated, “FOSMA and MASSA also helped with the Admiralty Act that was in the Supreme Court for around 23 years and was finally passed in the year 2015.”
Appreciating functioning of MASSA and FOSMA he said they are extremely responsive and responsible in terms of their approach. He further added, “They are vibrant forthcoming transparent and very frank in their deliberations.”
Captain P. S. Barve, former Nautical Adivisor to Government of India said, that though he was not actively involved, he was aware of what was happening during the pandemic and how the seafarers are facing difficulties for their sign on & sign off. He understood that the seafarers had to deal with a lot of issues and discomfort during this time. He spoke about how the shipping industry and the government helped the seafarers to keep the economy running. He said that he has very close association with both FOSMA and MASSA and how the institutes have grown with him and he has grown with them. He thanked NI for acknowledging the good initiative of MASSA and FOSMA.
Mr. Prashant Rangnekar, Chairman of MASSA informed about the efforts and challenges faced by MASSA. He also expressed his condolences for Capt. H Subramanian who passed away during this pandemic.
Pointing to the proactive role played by MASSA he said MASSA has graduated from a secretariat of members to a driver of business in the last few years.
He cited the incidence of the flights that were cancelled during the pandemic and how MASSA kept officers informed about developments within the country as well as abroad so that everyone is aware of the status of the crew change. This helped to respond to clients and provide detailed information to seafarers.
He disclosed that MASSA and FOSMA held meetings with ministries as well as Director General of Shipping to explain the issues and the need for crew relief and other arrangements that were needed. “Initially,” he said, “crew change in the Indian ports commenced and MASSA and FOSMA assisted members and the industry at large by compiling a matrix of crew change issue in our country. This matrix was shared with the administration who would iron out all the problems.” MASSA and FOSMA also assisted the administration in drafting the first SOP on crew change, which was appreciated by everyone, he added.
He said that once the ministry gave permissions for charter flights MASSA and FOSMA came together to facilitate air charters and their only focus was crew relief. In June 3800 passengers were carried by flights. In July 38 flights with more than 8830 seafarers were transported. The high point was on July 10th when 3 flights were arranged on a single day and total of 700 seafarers travelled.
MASSA and FOSMA with the help of Hong Kong based leading management company pioneered chartering of flights to Hong Kong which initially seemed impossible. MASSA and FOSMA transported 15,000 seafarers on 15th of August as well.
Capt. Prashant thanked Mr. Amitabh Kumar, Director General of Shipping for the support that was given during these tough times and also mentioned Capt. Daniel Joseph for his contributions. He also appreciated the support extended by the Indian embassy in Doha.
Dr. Sanjay Bhavnani, Chairman of FOSMA thanked NI for recognising the efforts of the Association. He said it was around the last week of May, that it became evident that the lockdown was having an increasing impact on the global economy and especially on Maritime industry, as the seafarers were facing issues related to their release as some of them were overdue.
He narrated how FOSMA decided to utilize its reach and industry coverage to facilitate the travel of the seafarers from and to India.
He explained how FOSMA formed a core committee comprising of its directors and partnered with MASSA and its directors so that they could apply for necessary approvals for the seafarers during this time. He also lauded the support and help that was given by the Ministry of Shipping and the Ministry of External Affairs.
Capt. G. K. Georgie, Chairman, CMMI-Kochi, Capt. P. S. Barve, Former Nautical Advisor, GOI, and Mr. Deepak Shetty, Former Secretary & Director General of Shipping, GOI offered their felicitation to the teams of FOSMA and MASSA.
Earlier Capt. Jose K T, Fellow of Nautical Institute (FNI), Founder president, NI-India-SW, gave the welcome address. Introduction of Nautical Institute was given by Ms. Jillian C Jackson, FNI, President, NI-London.
Mr Duncan Mckelvie, FNI, VP, NI-London informed about the activities of the Nautical Institute.
Capt. S Halbe, CEO, MASSA and Capt. Mahesh Yadav FOSMA, Director (Training) informed how under the guidance of DGS, Mr. Amitabh Kumar and Capt. Daniel Joseph 1,00,000 crew change was made possible. They also highlighted the challenges faced while coordinating with different department of GOI, and the Actions taken at Global level to make crew change in Indian and International ports.
The event concluded with a Vote of thanks by Capt. Rajesh Nambiar, AFNI, Secretary, CMMI-Kochi.