A landmark Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between the Indian Navy (IN) and the Directorate General (DG) of Shipping on June 20 to facilitate the transition of Indian Navy personnel – both serving and retired – into the Merchant Navy.

Through this MoU, DG Shipping has envisioned certification of IN personnel in accordance with the International STCW (Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers) conventions. This will help fulfil the prime minister’s vision of expanding the Indian presence and shares in global seafarers. The MoU is also in line with the central government’s focus on the maritime domain including the blue economy as the optimal utilisation of skilled and trained human resources.

The DG Shipping issued the detailed procedures to bring the transition into effect through a DGS order 17 of 2022. The order duly acknowledges the naval sea service and advanced training undergone by the IN personnel and covers almost all the officers’ and sailors’ cadres of the IN, both in the nautical as well as technical domain.

The scheme would require the naval personnel to acquire a certificate of competence – which is recognised globally – after undergoing relevant bridging courses and examinations and a minimum merchant ship sea service in certain cases as mandated by STCW provisions. This would aid IN personnel in a smooth transition to various designations on-board merchant ships, both in India as well as in shipping companies across the globe.

The transition schemes, which have been formulated after due diligence and taking into consideration a host of factors including international regulations, have introduced various provisions which offer a direct transition to IN personnel even up to the apex ranks in the Merchant Navy.

Indian Navy personnel who have adequate experience in the navy would now be able to join directly as masters on foreign-going ships on the nautical side and up to the rank of chief engineer in the engineering domain.