Terms for foreign sefarers being finalised

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Mumbai, Oct 30 (UNI) To overcome the shortfall of seafarers, the Union Government is in the process of finalising the terms and conditions for hiring foreign sailors in the fleet with Indian flag, A K Mahapatra secretary in the Shipping Ministry, said today.

''The terms and conditions are being examined,'' Mr Mahapatra said on the sidelines of the opening day of the three-day 'Third India Shipping Summit 2007', held here.

When asked whether the government had set any timeframe for the process, he replied in negative, saying ''no timeframe has been fixed.'' Industry sources maintain that India needs at least 500 seafarers, mainly engineers, to meet the shortfall.

Under the existing rules, off-shore seafarers cannot take up a job at the Indian ships as the mandatory Continues Discharge Certificate (CDC), which allows seafarers on-board assignments, is issued only to the Indian nationals.

''Terms and conditions are fine, but the problem is that the government wants the hiring process on the lines of the foreign pilots, who are hired on a case-to-case basis,'' said an industry insider.

According to him, such conditions are difficult to work in the case of marine officers, as they would need a quick security and administrative clearance.

''We completely agree with the security concerns, but we feel that the administrative procedure should not take longer time,'' he added.

UNI

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