NEW DELHI:Even sailing in the high seas is not spared from corruption as expired pyrotechnics, an illuminating distress signal used for sending SOS by the ships in imminent danger, are supplied to ships and survival crafts, compromising the safety of seafarers. .
Indian Maritime regulator, the Directorate General (DG) of Shipping, has noted that dates of expiry on Pyrotechnics are tampered to promote such malpractices. It is important to note that 95 per cent of country’s trade is via sea.
Taking note of the startling disclosure, DG shipping observed that expired pyrotechnics which were intended for use on onboard ships and survival crafts are being misused fraudulently, by way of tampering with the dates of expiry. “Moreover it was reported that such illegal activities are being practiced by the life raft service stations and suppliers of pyrotechnics...the recently reported incidences have again raised serious concerns of the Directorate towards the safety of seafarers,” it said.
A Vessel, ‘Dubai Princess’, attacked by Somali pirates had fired rocket parachute pyrotechnic to send distress signal. The parachute when activated launches flare at the height of around 300 meter with slow decent providing maximum time for nearby ships to notice the signal for help.
The regulator has warned stringent action against supplier further adding that if found guilty of an offence, the defaulters may be prosecuted under relevant laws and could face imprisonment up to six months.
It has also directed that the pyrotechnics should not be disposed at sea and the disposal of time-expired pyrotechnics is the responsibility of manufacturers, suppliers and the life raft service stations. The note has put the onus on surveyors of the mercantile marine departments to ensure genuineness of the pyrotechnics and fraud when inspections are conducted. Besides, they have been directed to corroborate the records of supply, servicing of life rafts against the record of disposal to prevent any instances of such malpractices.