Specific provisions relating to Seamen and Apprentices

Specific provisions relating to Seamen and Apprentices

           CHAPTER 18

Specific provisions in regard to the engagement, discharge and related matters pertaining to seamen are contained in Part VII – Seamen and Apprentices of the Merchant Shipping Act, 1958. The list of Mercantile Marine Department Circulars issued in connection with the shipping Office work is appended to at Annex 9.


  • Registration and Requisition of Employment of Seamen.

    The Seamen are required to be registered with the Director, Seamen's Employment Office under Section 95 of the Merchant Shipping Act, 1958.Seamen's employment offices were set up at Mumbai and Calcutta by the Government of India under Section 25 A of the Indian Merchant Shipping Act, 1923 (Corresponding Section 12 of the Merchant Shipping Act, 1958) in the years 1954 and 1955 respectively. The Government has also notified the Seamen's Employment Office Rules for Mumbai and Calcutta for the regulation and employment of Seamen and functioning of these offices. Under the Seamen's Employment Office Rules, the Government have set up Seamen's Employment Boards separately for foreign going and home trade sectors of seamen at Mumbai and Calcutta to advise the Director of these Seamen's Employment Offices.

  • Duties of Ship's personnel

    The Master is in command and is the overall-in-charge of the ship (Section 3(22) of the Merchant Shipping Act, 1958). Which is divided into three department viz. Navigating, Engineering and Saloon. The Navigating Branch looks after navigation, safety, loading / discharging of cargo and maintenance of ship and safety of persons and crew. Engineering Branch is responsible for operating and maintenance of ships main and auxiliary machinery, Deck Machinery, Refrigeration Machinery and Electrical Equipment. The Saloon Departments looks after the ship's catering arrangements.

  • Wages and Service Conditions

    The wages and survive condition of the Ships personnel are determined through Bilateral Negotiating Machinery between the representative of the ship owners and the representatives of the recognized Unions of Seafarers.The wage agreements are periodically reviewed and are generally in force for a period of two years.The Shipping Masters of the Govt. Shipping Offices at Mumbai and Calcutta are empowered to monitor the wages and service conditions of the seamen which includes attending to the payment of overtime, inconvenience allowance, shorthand wages, delivery of mail in time, boat service at ports and forwarding of monthly allotments to the nominees of the seamen during the voyages. The Shipping Masters are also custodian of personnel effects and wages of the deceased and hospitalized seamen. He also refers the seamen to the nominated hospitals for treatment under the scheme for free medical treatment for "off articled seamen". The seamen patients under treatment are supplied with necessary medicines and other surgical accessories. etc.

  • Disputes

    Disputes between ship owners and Seafarer are generally settled by mutual discussion between the representatives of the Ship owners and the disputing party or through representatives of the recognized Trade Unions of the Seafarers.

  • Discipline

    Sections 190 to 211 of the Merchant Shipping Act, 1958 deal with the provisions as discipline on board the ships. In case of officers normally a report is made to the Director General of Shipping for breach of discipline on board the ship. (Refer MMD Circular No. 17 of 1929).So far as Seamen are concerned, Masters are authorized to impose fines under provisions of Articles of Agreement or give adverse reports about the seamen's conduct or ability during the voyage (Section 120 of Merchant Shipping Act, 1958) which has to be endorsed by the Shipping Master at the time of discharge. The amount of fine is deducted from the wages of the seamen and paid to Shipping Master who credits to Government account (Section 202 of Merchant Shipping Act, 1958). In case the seamen have been adversely reported against by the Master about his ability or conduct, Shipping Master refers the case to Director, Seamen's Employment Office for further necessary action under Seamen's Employment Rules. Under these Rules, a Disciplinary Sub-Committee of the Seamen's Employment Board is set up which is a Tri-Partite Sub-Committee consisting of representatives of the Government, Ship owners and Seamen. This Tripartite Committee considers the case of the defaulting seaman who is afforded all reasonable opportunities to defend himself. The committee thereafter recommends if necessary, imposition of appropriate punishment. The Director, Seamen's Employment Office is the competent Disciplinary Authority to consider and decide the case taking into account the recommendation of the Disciplinary Sub-Committee and pass necessary orders. Appeal against the decision of the Director, Seamen's Employment Office lies with the Director General of Shipping who is the Appellate Authority under the Seamen's Employment Office Rules.

  • Distressed Seamen:

    Sections 161 to 167 of the Merchant Shipping Act, 1958 deal with the cases of distressed seamen. Government have issued necessary rules viz. Merchant Shipping (Distressed seamen) Rules, 1960 on the subject. Distressed seamen are taken charge of by the Shipping Master/Consular Officers and they are maintained by them until such time they are repatriated to their Proper Return Port. Expenses incurred in connection with their clothing, boarding and lodging and repatriation are charged to the Shipping Company except in the case of "excepted expenses" which the ship owners are entitled to recover from the seamen concerned.

  • Repatriation of Seamen:

    Under Section 121 of the Merchant Shipping Act, 1958, the Master of the vessel shall not discharge the seamen before the expiry of the period of Agreement except under the circumstances beyond his control. The discharge has to be made before the Proper Authority. In case the seaman is left behind at the port other than the port of Engagement, the cost of repatriation and maintenance has to be borne by the ship owners concerned vide section 161 of the Merchant Shipping Act, 1958 and Merchant Shipping (Distressed Seamen) Rules, 1960.

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