Concerned over recent cases by individuals who try to deceive and exploit unsuspecting seafarer’s family members, the Directorate General of Shipping, Ministry of ports, shipping and waterways of India, has issued an urgent advisory on May 9 for Indian seafarers and their family members “to avoid falling prey to deceitful schemes.

The Directorate General of Shipping (DGS), referring to numerous cases that came to light, where unknown individuals by telecalls, WhatsApp messages and emails etc., have contacted the family members of seafarers, alleging that their seafarers’ working on ships have been involved in serious illegal activities such as smuggling, narcotics, theft, rape and murder etc. and have demanded money for their release or assistance, has urged all Indian seafarers and their families to be vigilant.

“It has come to this Directorate attention that there have been incidents involving individuals falsely claiming to be associated with seafarers’ onboard vessels or pretending to be as from law enforcing authorities such as Customs, State Police Departments, Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), Immigration Officials and Govt. officials from Ministry etc., and soliciting money from their family members under fraudulent pretences,” the advisory signed by Capt. (Dr.) Daniel J Joseph, Dy. Director General of Shipping (Crew) said.

Furthermore, the DGS strongly advises all family members of seafarers to exercise extreme caution and vigilant while receiving such calls or emails as it is crucial to ascertain the exact details of such caller, message or email sender and NOT to entertain these requests and refrain from transferring money to unknown individuals without proper verifications.

“These claims are generally false and are designed to deceive and exploit unsuspecting family members,” the DGS said.

The Directorate General of Shipping emphasized the importance of exercising extreme caution in the event of receiving such calls or emails, mentioning that the family members of seafarers “are urged to be cautious and immediately inform the matter to the concerned nodal official of the Recruitment and Placement Services (RPS) agency or the ship-owners representatives through which the seafarer has been employed contractually onboard vessel.”

“The RPS agencies / ship-owners are here by directed to immediately take up the concerned matter by alerting the concerned law enforcing authorities to prevent further victimization and ensure the safety, security of our seafarers and their family members,” reads the DGS advisory.