The government has eased rules for issuing a so-called Continuous Discharge Certificate (CDC)-cum-Seafarers’ Identity Document, removing the hurdles for those intending to work on ships but faced hurdles in obtaining the certificate.

Without a CDC, a person is not eligible to work on ships. If an Indian national of 18 years, holding an Indian passport and a Class 10 pass certificate, completes the five basic STCW safety courses spread over two weeks, he is entitled to apply for a CDC.

The International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW), 1978, sets qualification standards for masters, officers and general-purpose ratings on seagoing merchant ships.

The new rules on issuing CDC took effect on January 14.

Job scene

The move will benefit thousands of Indians looking to work on board cruise liners as bartenders, house-keeping staff and laundrymen, and also in other ships in various capacities.

“Why should anyone come in their way of getting a job. They found it very difficult to get an Indian CDC because of the rigid rules and regulations. Hence, they took CDC from foreign entities. In this process, they were fleeced by agents and sub-agents. Besides, Indian nationals holding Indian passports but having a foreign CDC were looked upon with suspicion by immigration authorities. All that will stop now. There is no need for anybody to go outside, just have these five basic safety courses and become eligible to apply for an Indian CDC,” says Capt MC Yadav, Director (maritime education and training), FOSMA Maritime Institute and Research Organisation.

The five basic courses include personal survival techniques or proficiency in survival craft and rescue boards; fire prevention and fire-fighting or advance fire-fighting; elementary first aid or medical first aid or medical care; personal safety and social responsibility and security training for seafarers with designated security duties or ship security officer.

“It’s a feel-good factor,” said Abdulgani Serang, general secretary-cum-treasurer of the National Union of Seafarers of India (NUSI).

Maritime industry executives, though, say that the simplification of rules on issuing CDC does not mean that its holder is entitled to a job.

“Obtaining a CDC is not a right to a job just as having a passport is not a right to travel,” said an executive with a Mumbai-based maritime training institute.

“The sooner it is realised by the public, the better it is,” he said, asking not to be named.

“A person should do whatever is needed for getting a job,” he added.