India raises seafarer abandonment crisis at IMO; secures membership in key working group

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New Delhi, Jul 10 (PTI) India has called for effective measures to resolve the issue of seafarer abandonment and ensuring the safety of maritime workforce, an official statement said on Wednesday.

A high-level Indian delegation led by Ports, Shipping and Waterways Secretary T K Ramachandaran raised the issue at the 132nd session of the Council of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) in London.

In recognition of its continued commitment to address seafarers' issues, India secured its position as one of the eight governments representing IMO in the joint tripartite working group, it said.

"India, an elected member of the IMO Council in the category of countries with the largest interest in international seaborne trade, emphasised the urgent issue of seafarer abandonment," the statement said.

The delegation pointed out that despite efforts, there are 44 active cases involving 292 Indian seafarers, the statement added.

"India's strong stance on the need for effective measures and oversight to resolve such issues was well received," it said.

According to the statement, India reiterated its proposal for the South Asian Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Maritime Transport (SACE-SMarT).

This group is dedicated to identifying and tackling seafarers' issues and the human element in maritime operations. Other proposed members include the Philippines, Thailand, Liberia, Panama, Greece, the US, and France, it added.

Ramachandaran said, "India remains deeply committed to addressing the issue of seafarer abandonment and ensuring the safety and welfare of our maritime workforce." According to the statement, the Indian delegation also addressed concerns over disruptions in the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, and adjoining areas, which have been impacting shipping and trade logistics.

Highlighting India's commitment to maritime safety and security, the delegation cited two significant incidents where the Indian Navy successfully intervened.

"These included the rescue of a Marshall Island-flagged crude oil carrier, MV Marlyn Luanda, and the interception of the vessel MV Ruen off the coast of Somalia, ensuring the safety of crew members and handling piracy threats effectively," it said.

India's participation in the IMO Council session underscores dedication to international maritime cooperation and innovation.

The 132nd session of the IMO Council, which commenced on July 8, will continue till July 12, addressing various critical issues and proposals for the future of global maritime operations. PTI BKS SGC TRB

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