India's Ministry of Communication has extended the period for applying of Renewal of Global Management Distress Safety System General Operator’s Certificate (GMDSS-GOC) License from three months to six months prior to its expiry.
This will enable the officers to have adequate time required to renew their GMDSS-GOC license and they will be able to sail on ships without any delay in future.
The Standard of Training and Certification of watch keeping mandates all Nautical Grade Officers to hold a valid GMDSS-GOC license issued by Ministry of Communication to operate the Communication and GMDSS equipment on board Merchant Ships.
The certificate is valid for ten years and subsequently renewed every five years.
As per the existing rules, Indian Merchant Navy Navigating officers could apply for renewal of their license only three months prior to expiry of license whereas the contract period of an officer/seafarer to work on board varies from 6-8 months.
Therefore it was difficult for them to get their license renewed in time prior to sailing and had to delay their sailing. In view of the longer employment duration and to ensure validity of GMDSS-GOC during currency of service period, Ministry of Shipping had requested Ministry of Communication for increasing the period to apply for renewal six months prior to expiry of GMDSS-GOC, which has been agreed to.