Local Goa News

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Seamen, families lack a redressal system support

Colva: Seamen working onboard ships are often faced with a grave crisis in the deep seas, but they and even their kin back home sorely lack a redressal mechanism or support system to turn to in distress, sources said.

A young seaman working aboard a cruise liner was allegedly sacked from his job recently based on a female colleague's verbal complaint of being touched by him. "He had no opportunity to explain himself while his wife, a foreign national was also working with him at that time," a source said.
In another case, a seaman's family in Goa received a devastating message about the death of their young son on a cruise liner on June 18, 2016.
Unlike non-resident Indians (NRIs) abroad, it is difficult for Seamen to obtain access to the Indian consulate. "NRI Cell in Goa is not equipped with the seamen data and till date, the NRI status is given only to those working in foreign lands and not in foreign waters," Goan Seamen Association of India (GSAI) president Dixon Vaz said.
The seamen contribute significantly to the country's economy, but have to fend for themselves in distress. "We don't have government support or assistance in work-related issues," a seaman said.
Elaborating further, Vaz said, "In case of loss of job, the company is not questioned by the Indian government, which should make lawyers with knowledge of maritime laws available to pursue the matter," Vaz said.
Paying of appropriate compensation to the victim's family in case of death at sea is important after a thorough investigation. GSAI has demanded setting up of a seafarer's cell wherein proper records and data are maintained. "We need to have a database like company name, registered offices, agent's office and address and various other details," Vaz said.
But, officials are all at sea about seamen and their work. "Government has the powers through its consulates and high commissioner's offices to assist us in troubled times," Vaz concluded.

TOI Goa News

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