Press Information Bureau
Government of India
Ministry of Shipping
03-September-2012 17:24 IST
Safety and Welfare of Seafarers
The following initiatives have been taken by Government to ensure the safety and welfare of the seafarers:-

(i) An Inter-Ministerial Group of Officers (IMGO) has been set up to deal with hostage situation arising out of the hijacking of merchant vessels with Indian crew on board. India is also an active participant in the International Maritime Organization, Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia (CGPCS) and other international fora.

(ii) The owners and flag administration of the hijacked vessels are contacted through Indian Missions abroad to ensure that they take suitable steps for the safety and early release of the hostages.

(iii) Guidelines have been issued for deployment of armed security guards on board Indian flag Merchant Ships. The Indian ship owners are, accordingly, free to deploy armed security guards.

(iv) Naval escort is provided to the ships in the Gulf of Aden. Besides, there are naval ships of different countries patrolling in the piracy affected area, which coordinate with each other through various multi-national and bilateral initiatives so as to combat the menace of piracy. The Indian Navy is providing enhanced vigil in the Indian EEZ and westward upto 65 degree east longitude.

(v) Sailing vessels have been banned from plying in waters south or west of the line joining Salalah and Male.

The above information was given by the Union Minister of Shipping, Shri G.K. Vasan in a written reply to a question in Lok Sabha today.

MG/AS – PQ4– usq 3547