Govt of India: Establish Complaint Portal and Protocols to Protect Seafarers in Distress

Govt of India: Establish Complaint Portal and Protocols to Protect Seafarers in Distress

6 March 2022
Petition to
Director General (Shipping and Shipping Regulator of India,)
Signatures: 42,097Next Goal: 50,000
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Why this petition matters

Started by Anchal Malik

If someone had spoken up sooner, my brother would have been with us today

I lost my brother Shivam Malik on 1st October 2021 under mysterious circumstances on the merchant navy ship he was working on. The company claimed it was death by suicide, when the postmortem clearly pointed to strangulation. To make matters worse for our grieving family, the company made it difficult for us to receive his body and personal belongings. The reason we were harassed and exploited is that the current system makes it easy for the shipping companies to do so. There is no online complaint portal in place for sailors/seafarers in distress to turn to. Their cries go unheard. There are no guidelines or protocols to hold the company or the ship’s captain accountable either. Sign my petition to change this and save lives.

My family will never be the same. Shivam was closest to me, he was my best friend. We have shared everything about each other. He was happy and focused on his life, he was the only son of my parents and the favourite kid of each family member. There was no financial, economic, or any kind of pressure on him.

We’ve been asking the Government to help us and are still waiting for a fair investigation. Unable to rest I decided to dig deeper. What I found shocked me even more.

The company my brother worked for has a long history of vanishing officers onboard, medical negligence, and hiding facts of the death onboard. If we had known this beforehand, we wouldn’t let my brother work for them. Shivam would be with us today. I also found that there are many other loopholes in the system. When seafarers like my brother face any kind of issue, there is no one to help them. If someone had spoken up sooner, the situation could have been fixed and Shivam would be with us today.

I don’t want any family to lose their Shivam. I don’t want any sister to lose her brother. This petition is my way to ensure that we fix the system. Sign my petition.

Did you know that every year several seafarers go missing from multiple companies all over the country? I am in touch with some families who have lost their loved ones and the major problem is; the irresponsible and unprofessional behaviour of the company.

And the majority of victims are the lower-level crews like cooks, seamen, and other helpers. Their family are not aware of laws, rules, and even emailing. They get fooled easily and we as citizens of India should help them.

I’ve been able to identify four major problems that all the seafarers and the families of missing seafarers are facing:

#Problem 1 If a crew member tries to complain about the harassment onboard the company ignores it and in case some mishappening occurs the company tries to save the captain. Whenever a seafarer tries to file a complaint in the D.G.Shipping; he or she has to either send an email or visit the D.G. Shipping office. They get no complaint number and in some cases no response on the email too. This is the reason that we need a proper complaint portal where seafarers can upload images, videos, or audio recordings.

#Problem 2 Another issue we are facing is; the irresponsible behavior of some companies and some captains. The captain is the master of the ship, a person who is responsible for the operations and employees under him/her. If a person goes missing onboard then that captain should be held responsible.

#Problem 3 The third problem that most of the families are facing right now is; they don't know how to get the belongings of their husband, son, or brother. The company never takes the responsibility of returning the belongings; the family has to contact the local police, the investigation agencies, and other people in that foreign country to get everything back.

#Problem 4 The most important problem; companies ask the family of the missing person to sign a waiver form that they will not file a case against the company, they will not go to media or social media in exchange for the compensation. Compensation is the right of that person’s family but companies behave like they are giving that money as a favor.

Through my petition to the Government of India, the Shipping Ministry, and the Director General of Shipping, I am raising 2 requests:

1. There should be a direct portal for complaint registration on the D.G.Shipping website. This will make it easier to file complaints, track their status. If any seafarer goes missing there should be a proper investigation of the case instead of just ruling out the judgment directly.
2. There should be clear guidelines and protocols in place for cases where a seafarer dies or goes missing. This must include:
- Holding the company responsible and mandating it to document, secure and handover the person’s belongings to their family
-Doing away with the waiver which prevents families from filing a case, talking to media and social media
Many young men in India are attracted by the prospects of a job in the merchant navy. My only objective is to make the merchant navy a safe career for them. Please help us to spread the word and help all the seafarers in our country!! If we can save even one life through this campaign it will help me honour my brother’s memory.

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Signatures: 42,097Next Goal: 50,000
Support now