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Maritime Blogs

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Admin Sailor
Admin Sailor
<div class="cStream-Attachment-inner-custom"><div><div style="float:left; width: 130px;margin-right: 12px;float: left;color: transparent;"><a href="/…; target="_blank"><img… style="width: 200px;height: auto;" /></div><div style="width: 75%;float: left;"><div style="font-weight: bold;font-size: 18px;margin: 0 auto 2px auto;"><a href="/…; title="…; target="_blank">Madras HC acquits all crew members of US anti-piracy ship Seaman Guard Ohio - Times of India</div><div style="margin: 0 auto 8px auto;">The Madurai bench of the Madras high court on Monday acquitted all 35 crew members and guards of the US anti-piracy ship Seaman Guard Ohio from all charges of the Arms Act.</div></div></div></div>


The best guarantee of proper conditions of employment at sea is only to sign a contract drawn up in accordance with an ITF-approved collective agreement.

Failing that, here is a checklist to follow.

  • Don’t start to work on a ship without having a written contract.
  • Never sign a blank contract or a contract that binds you to any terms and conditions that are not specified or that you are not familiar with. 
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Posted by on in Maritime Blog

Some shipowners don’t take their responsibilities for their crews seriously. This can result in seafarers being abandoned in ports far from home without fuel, food, and water and without pay for months on end. 

Why are seafarers abandoned?

 Abandonment happens either because the shipowners have financial difficulties or because they can make more money by not paying the wages and the bills they owe. This may be more frequent on older ships at the end of their sea life. In some cases, the ship is worth less than the money owed to the crew and other debtors. 

 At the moment there are not as many cases as there were a few years ago, this is because the industry has been going through a boom period. If this changes and freight rates drop, the number of abandonment cases is likely to rise as some companies will find it difficult to stay in business.  

What is the ITF doing for abandoned seafarers?

The ITF is working hard to make shipowners and flag states take responsibility for the repatriation, owed wages and costs of living of abandoned seafarers. We are promoting the idea of a compulsory system of insurance that would provide a safety net for seafarers who are unfortunate enough to be abandoned. 

 When we find out about a case of seafarers being abandoned we send a report to an online database where information is collected on the problem. You can view this site by using the link on the right of the page. By doing this we try to put pressure on flag states to investigate the problem and help to solve it. 

What should you do if you are abandoned?

If your country has an embassy in the area where you are stranded, see if they can help. Contact the ITF using the link on the right of the page – if there is an ITF inspector in a port nearby they will come and advise you on what the best course of action might be. Sometimes they can help you to arrest the ship and claim back money that is owed to you. If there is no ITF inspector nearby, the ITF London office can help by trying to make contact with your company and by putting pressure on the owners and flag state.

Local unions, welfare organizations, and the local community are all possible sources of help and support. 

The ITF advises seafarers to steer clear of taking on work with a company known to be in difficulties or with a bad reputation for paying its crews or sailing sub-standard ships. 

If you have queries regarding abandoning of seafarers, drop the comment in the comments section!!

 You can even raise any query in the forum. Just log in and

Ask!!  Share!! Suggest!! At the community forum and get replies from the members of sailors-club.  

Sailors-club is a community website which tries to spread awareness in the maritime community and to help seafarers.

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The incident took place in UAE. Abandoned by their employer in leaking ships, at least 41 Indian sailors found support in form of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, who stepped in to help them following SOS. 


Reports said the sailor's hail from different parts of India. They are employees of four merchant ships in the Gulf.

The sailors who are stuck there are from Delhi, Maharashtra, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Haryana, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Jammu, Karnataka, and Kerala. The tweets pleading for rescue had earlier been sent to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Sushma Swaraj, and V. K. Singh.  





Taking to Titter, Swaraj said, "We have contacted the Captains of the two vessels, Ship owners, port authorities and the Government."

"They have essential supplies of for next two weeks. We are helping in the settlement of their dues and release of the crew," she tweeted. 







She further said in her tweet that the government has asked the mission to ensure that Indian sailors do not suffer for want of essential supplies. Abandoned by their employer in leaking ships, at least 41 Indian sailors found support from the External Affairs Minister, who stepped in to help them following a SOS. 


External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Monday said that India will help out its sailors stuck in merchant ships at Ajman in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). 






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If the ship’s officers are to deal efficiently with the problems that they are likely to encounter during her lifetime and particularly as she becomes older. As a good practice there should be two sets of such documents, one set kept intact with the master and chief and chief engineer keeping a working set.

It is known a requirement for as-built drawings to kept up-to-date and retained on board with copies kept by owner ashore.

For efficient use, the plans are best stored in an indexed filing system and folded as originally supplied, with their titles visible. It is useful to maintain a book in which the removal and return of plans are recorded to assist in the tracing of missing plans. Plans should be checked quarterly against the index and missing plans located or renewed.

Occasionally the vertical scale of a plan is different from the horizontal scale: this is important to remember especially if the measurements are required to be taken from a plan. A triangular scale rule which can be used to read dimensions at six different common plan scales is a useful item of equipment.

Framed copies of some of the most important plans are likely to be displayed in accommodation, in offices and control rooms. They are likely to fade and become unreadable over a period of years and should be replaced when it happens.

Copies of plans can often be supplied for the price by the builders, even many years after the ship was built. 


There are hundreds of plans and drawings one may find on the ship, but the most important ones are detailed below:

1.      General Arrangement Plan: The GA plan quotes the ship’s main dimensions and class notations. Generally, in this plan the entire ship is shown in elevation and two transverse cross-section are provided (one in midships and the other in a way of a transverse bulkheads).The GA plan shows and names all the ship’s main features and provide some principal dimensions. It is a plan which provides a quick general appreciation of the ship including the layout of the bridge, the accommodation, store rooms, and machinery spaces.  It shows the location of holds, tanks, storerooms, cabins, main items of machinery and equipment, and the position and heights of masts, antennae, and radar masts. The GA plan is a useful source of general information about the ship and can be used for measuring distances from one point to another point of the ship.

 2.      Tank and stability Plan: It is a comprehensive source of the practical information needed to plan the loading of cargoes. Following are the features of this plan:

  • Principal particulars and equipment are listed
  • Dimensions, capacities, and details of bunker and ballast tanks and cargo holds are shown.
  • Full draught and deadweight scale, with readings for a range of seawater densities and for displacement, moment to change for trim 1 cm (MCTC) and tons/cm immersion are shown.
  • Details as safe working load and maximum operating radius of cranes or derricks can be found.
  • Loading and freeboard information in more accurate values can be obtained from Ship’s stability tables.
  • A number of elevation and plan views, focusing on structural details and dimensions can be found.
  • List of hazardous cargo which a ship is certified to carry can be found.

3.      Cargo washing and drainage system plan: The plan shows the arrangement of permanent piping in each hold to provide the water and air for the system, and the details of the collecting tanks to contain the used hold washing water. Details of the washing and stripping equipment are given as well.

4.      Docking plan: It provides useful information when drydocking the vessel. It provides measurements needed by the drydock personnel to position the blocks and sides (bilge shore). Apart from that, it provides other information as well, such as docking draught and trim, air draught, hull paint areas, weights aboard to achieve docking trim, grades of steel used in specified areas and position of bottom plugs, echo sounder and log, draught sensors. The docking plan is the useful alternative to the GA plan and the capacity plan when measurements are required.

5.      Midship section:  This records ship’s main dimensions and class notations and her design criteria. The construction details and scantlings are shown at various positions along the vessel’s length and around her transverse cross-section. The structural details of the duct keel, double bottoms, bilge keel, side tanks, topside tanks, pipe ducts and hatch coamings can be seen as well.

6.      Shell expansion plan: These plans are essential for describing the locations of damage to the ship’s shell and connections to the shell. This plan shows the boundaries of the shell plates and thickness of each plate in millimeters.

  • Recent bulk carriers built to IACS common structural rules show net scantlings, on which strength calculations are based, as well as gross scantlings which include corrosion addition plus owner’s addition, when applicable. In other words, a minimum and maximum are shown for each plate thickness.
  • The frames, floors, girders, longitudinal, bilge keels and stringers which make contact with shell plates are also shown.
  • The locations of other features such as sea chests and anchor pods are also shown.
  • Frame numbering appears at the bottom and top of the plan, counting forward and aft, from zero at after perpendicular(at the rudder stock)
  • The limits of each cargo hold are also shown at the top of the plan.
  • Generally, a convention is adopted for naming or numbering the strakes of the platings, with A, B, C etc starboard or port from the midships(where the greatest number of strakes are found) and A being the keel plate.

7.      Mooring Arrangement plans: This shows the layout of mooring equipment on the forecastle, main deck, and poop deck.  The equipment requirements for Class and the ship’s actual outfit of mooring lines are stated and fairleads, Panama chocks, bollards and other mooring furniture are specified.

8.      Life-saving equipment: This plan provides an inventory of the ship’s life-saving equipment and shows where the equipment is located.

9.      Natural ventilation plan:

  • This plan despite its name shows all the ship’s ventilation, both natural and mechanical.
  • The statutory requirements with which the ventilators comply are listed and fittings such as spark arresting screens are specified.
  • On ships with more elaborate hold ventilation systems, the plan will show the location of hold ventilation cowls, of ventilator trunks and of ventilator flaps for opening or closing the trunks.
  • If ventilator fans are fitted it will show their positions and capacity. The plan should show a number of air changes per hour which can be achieved in each hold, when empty if fans are running.
  • This plan is of greatest importance when fire develops in cargo.

10.  Ballast/stripping system plan: This plan details the pumping of ballast and bilges of the ship. It details the ballast lines, ballast stripping lines, engine room crossover lines, etc. The plan for ballast/stripping is often useful when difficulties with ballast are met or when an unusual ballasting or deballasting is planned.

 11.  Fire and safety plan: The plan tabulates all the ship’s fire and safety equipment, features and fittings and shows where they are to be found. Copies of ship’s fire and safety plan will be located in a number of prominent positions throughout the ship. On a longitudinal profile of the ship, supplemented by plan views of every deck, the position of every item of firefighting equipment will be shown. The plan also lists each item of equipment with brief details of sizes and types of hoses, hydrants, fire extinguishers, fire doors, firemen’s outfits, breathing apparatus, safety lockers, lifebuoys and attachments, lifeboats, liferafts, ladders, emergency lighting, remote machinery stops and so on. Colour coding of these plans makes them easier to read, and the symbols used must be internationally recognized.

12.  Fuel oil service plan: This plan illustrates the system linking fuel oil storage tanks to settling, service, drain and sludge tanks and to the ship’s main and auxiliary machinery.

13.  Air, sounding and filling pipes plan: This plan shows the position of air and sounding pipes and labels each one of them. The sounding pipes are generally located over the deepest part of the tank and air pipes are located in the highest point of the tank. This plan also shows a list of air, sounding and filling pipes.

 14.  The general arrangement of hatch covers: These plans shows the positions of the vessel’s hatch covers in plan and elevation and provide detailed drawings of wheels, stoppers, bottom hinges and so on.

15.  Sealing plan of Hatch covers: The plan identifies and names the appropriate rubber/neoprene seal for each position on the hatch covers and gives guidance on fitting and fixing them.

 16.  Fire protection plans:  These plans detail the fire protection systems in cargo spaces and are generally separate plans and booklets to describe the system. Typically these systems, which normally protects the machinery spaces and cargo holds are of fixed CO2 smothering type. Typically this pipe-work is also used to extract the air sample from holds to be used in the fire detection system. Full plans of the system should be available and may need to be consulted when damage is being repaired or when the system is being tested. In addition, instructions for operating the system to be used in the event of the fire is also posted in the C02 bottle room and in fire control station. 


Sailors-club is a community website which tries to spread awareness in the maritime community and to help seafarers.


If you want us to publish some topic of your interest or if you have any query/ suggestion, do mail to us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


you can Whatsapp us at +91 8793174233



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The Polar Code is adopted by resolution MSC.385(94). The Polar Code applies to the areas around Antarctica, south of latitude 60°S and around the Arctic. In principle, these are the waters north of latitude 60°N with the exemptions off the coast of Iceland and northern Scandinavia as well as parts of Russia.

Vessels sailing in cold conditions are affected by the Polar Code which enters into force on 1st January 2017. Ship owners already preparing for the new code will realize that besides technical requirements also operational aspects have to be considered. One of them is appropriate training for the crew. 

A detailed definition is given in SOLAS regulations XIV/1.2 and XIV/1.3.

Does the Polar Code allow substituting certificate holders with other personnel?

Yes, this is mentioned in Chapter 12.3.2 of the Polar Code: “the administration may allow the use of a person(s) other than the master, chief mate or officers […]” under certain conditions. These conditions require that the other person is qualified as nautical officer according to STCW (reg. II/2, section A-II/2). Therefore, only qualified nautical officers may substitute the requirements. Furthermore, it is required that enough persons on board must hold an appropriate certificate in order to cover all watches.

This means that only one person alone cannot substitute several missing certificates. There have to be enough persons to cover all watches, keeping in mind the minimum hours of rest at all times. Two special requirements apply in addition to the above. When operating in waters other than open waters or bergy waters, the master, chief mate and officers in charge of a navigational watch on passenger ships and tankers shall meet the applicable basic training requirements.

When operating in waters with an ice concentration of more than 2/10, all nautical officers including the master on cargo ships other than tankers shall meet the applicable basic training requirements. Even having hired in additional persons to satisfy the requirements for training does not relieve the master or officer of the navigational watch from their duties and obligations for the safety of the ship.

What does the Polar Code define regarding manning and training?

This is answered in Chapter 12 of Part I-A Safety Measures. For the details for the qualification the Polar Code refers to Chapter V of the Convention and Code on Standards of Training, Certification, and Watchkeeping (STCW). The Polar Code sets the framework for the application who, when and where needs to have which qualification. As the normal condition, it is required that the navigational watch officers, including the master, have received sufficient training and following this have a basic or advanced certificate of proficiency.

The requirements are separated into the ship types and the local conditions they sail in. Depending if it is a tanker, a passenger ship or another ship type and depending if the ship sails in ice-free conditions (not any kind of ice is present), in “open waters” (defined as navigable water in which sea ice is less than 1/10) or in “other waters” (waters others than ice free or open waters) they have different requirements for training.

The easiest is the ice-free condition where no certificate is required for anybody. In “open waters” only tanker and passenger ship’s navigational officers on operational and management level need a basic training and the appropriate certificate. When any ship enters “other waters” any navigational officer must have received basic training and hold the related certificate while masters and chief mates must have received advanced training and holding the related certificate.


Who needs to do which training?


Following the Regulation V/4 there are two main trainings defined: The basic and the advanced training. The basic training is applicable for masters, chief mates and officers in charge of a navigational watch on ships operating in polar waters. They have to do an approved basic training course in order to apply for a Certificate of Proficiency (CoP). The advanced training is applicable for masters and chief mates on ships operating in polar waters.


They have to have a basic certificate, at least two months of approved seagoing service in the deck department at management level or while performing watchkeeping duties at the operational level and of course completed the advanced training course. At intervals not exceeding five years every master or officer shall establish continued professional competence. As for other competencies, this could be done by approved seagoing service or an approved course or other means approved by the administration.




 What does STCW require the seafarer to do?

As defined in the Polar Code STCW sets the details of what should be trained. Therefore, STCW will be amended with a new regulation V/4 on “mandatory minimum requirements for the training and qualifications of masters and deck officers on ships operating in polar waters” which is expected for entry into force on 1st July 2018 according to circular letter No 3641.

Are there transitional provisions?

If you are already an experienced sailor STCW has included transitional provisions for the first two years after the entry into force which will be then until 1st July 2020. Nautical officers may apply for the basic certificate according to these transitional provisions if they have approved seagoing service on board a ship operating in polar waters or equivalent approved seagoing service for a period of at least three months in total during the preceding five years; or have successfully completed a training course meeting the training guidance established by the organization for ships operating in polar waters. This guidance is laid down in section B-V/g of the STCW Code.

For the advanced certificate seafarers may apply according to the transitional provisions if they have approved seagoing service on board a ship operating in polar waters or equivalent approved seagoing service for a period of at least three months in total during the preceding five years; or successfully completed a training course meeting the training guidance established by the organization for ships operating in polar waters (sec B-V/g) and having completed approved seagoing service on board a ship operating in polar waters or equivalent approved seagoing service, for a period of at least two months in total during the preceding five years.

How to handle the two entry into force dates?

As the amendments to STCW enter into force only one and a half year after the Polar Code enters into force it is strongly recommended to consult the flag state if they aim for early implementation of the STCW amendments and local port authorities to discuss a solution which is accepted. For the flag state, it may be considered that they refer to the transitional provisions in order to issue certificates at least to existing seafarers.

Maybe they have approved also training in compliance with the future regulation V/4 or with the guidance given in section B-V/g. It is recommended to follow up the outcome of the next IMO meetings in case additional guidance might be provided. An overview of latest statutory technical and regulatory news can be found. 



Sailors-club is a community website which tries to spread awareness in the maritime community and to help seafarers. 

If you want us to publish some topic of your interest or if you have any query/ suggestion, do mail to us at   This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  


you can Whatsapp us at +91 8793174233





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Golden Bollard 2017


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