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Indian vessels to employ foreign seamen

Mumbai: The Indian government has approved the employment of up to two foreign nationals on board Indian flag vessels, in an attempt to meet the shortage of qualified seamen on board domestic vessels. It has also allowed Indian seafarers trained in maritime institutions in Australia, Hong Kong and Singapore to be employed on domestic carriers. The announcement was made by Shipping Minister T R Baalu in new Delhi this week, after a meeting with representatives of the Directorate-General of Shipping industry captains, and nautical advisors.

Baalu added that the government had invoked Section 88BB of the Merchant Shipping Act, which imposes a three year bond on domestic seafarers upon completion of their certificate of competence. This move is expected to prevent Indian seamen from abandoning domestic companies for more lucrative employment abroad.  [09/01/07]

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