The directorate general of shipping (DG Shipping), the country’s maritime regulator, plans to detain Indian ships found violating the minimum safe manning document (MSMD) norms prescribed by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) and recover the wages saved by the ship owners during the period of such violation.

The master, owner, operator, agent or charterer may also be prosecuted for the infringement, it has proposed.

The move follows information received by the D G Shipping that vessels have been found operating without the requisite manning in violation of the MSMD issued to the vessels.

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Safe manning refers to the number of qualified and experienced seafarers necessary for the safety and security of the ship, crew, passengers, cargo and property and for the protection of the marine environment. Accordingly, ships are issued with a Minimum Safe Manning Document (MSMD) under the provisions of the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea, 1974.

As a deterrent, Indian vessels found violating the MSMD requirement shall be detained for at least one month.


The DG Shipping said that the violation of statutory requirement should not result in the company benefiting from the violation. “Accordingly, the wages saved during the period of violation of MSMD requirement shall be paid to the government based on the highest scale of the particular grade per the Indian National Shipowners Association (INSA)-the Maritime Union of India (MUI) agreement. In addition, payment of two times amount saved by not employing the seafarers per the MSMD shall also be paid as deterrent against future violation,” the DG Shipping said in a notice seeking stakeholder comments on the issue.

Further, vessels will need to pay ₹8,00,000 pertaining to ships found to be operating without safety pollution prevention certificates of DG Shipping for each violation.

“A ship which is not manned as per the MSMD issued to the vessel adversely affects the safety, security, safe navigation, operations at sea/port, prevention of human injury or loss of life, the avoidance of damage to the marine environment and to property, and the welfare and health of seafarers through the avoidance of fatigue,” the DG Shipping said.