Over the last couple of day an image of a notification purportedly by the Mercantile Marine Department, India made the rounds on Whatsapp titled ‘Age Limitation in Merchant Ships’, wherein it was mentioned that most of the injuries/accidents/deaths onboard happened to seafarers above the age of 50 yrs and as such there would be a block on seafarers above the age of 50 yrs from sailing with effect from 20.02.2018.
If one looks closely at the letter, one would notice many discrepancies.
- It is not dated.
- It does not have a reference number.
- There are too many grammatical errors.
The Mercantile Marine Department reacted swiftly to inform the seafaring community that the above-purported letter was fake and that the signature and the stamp of the Registrar of Indian Ships, Capt. K.P. Jayakumar Principal Officer (I/C) was also forged. They have issued a notice on the fake letter.
At a time when the shipping industry is facing a crisis of sorts with a surplus of sailors for some ranks and a shortage in other ranks, fake notifications like this only do more to lower the morale of seafarers.
Readers are requested to verify the authenticity of such letters which can be done on the MMD website www.mmd.gov.in which lists the circulars and notices issued by the MMD, and the policy decisions of the Directorate are uploaded on the website www.dgshipping.gov.in.