Apex maritime body MASSA Friday said Tata Teleservices has allowed Indian seafarers to operate their VSNL email addresses till June 15, 2019.
MASSA has been protesting against Tata Teleservices Limited's recent decision to deactivate VSNL email address with effect from April 28, 2019.
"India's apex maritime association, Maritime Association of Shipowners, Shipmanagers and Agents (MASSA) has sought an approval from Tata Teleservices Limited to allow Indian seafarers operate their VSNL email addresses till June 15, 2019. It's an exclusive privilege accorded to Indian seafarers by the TATA management in response to MASSA's protest...," MASSA said in a statement.
MASSA said Tata Teleservices had sent emails to many Mumbai-based ship manning companies that its email service will not be accessible with effect from April 28, 2019 and people will not be able to use their VSNL IDs for sending, receiving or retrieving emails starting April 28.
MASSA said it strongly objected this action by Tata to close down VSNL email account stating that it as high-handed, arbitrary and insensitive towards Indian seafarers.
Many Indian seafarers, who are sailing currently, may have given this email address for official communication to multiple statutory Indian authorities including the income tax department. For seafarers, it will be almost impossible to get a new email account whilst discharging their professional obligations on board due to lack of internet facility or lack of adequate internet-bandwidth aboard many merchant navy ships," said MASSA CEO Shiv Halbe.
He added: "Invariably, when an email account is set up, the system requires a mobile number for receiving an one-time password (OTP). If the vessel is at sea or in areas where there is poor range, it will be impossible to receive such SMS.
MASSA said following Halbe's protest-email, an official of Tata teleservices contacted him and communicated the company's willingness to host the email addresses of the effected Indian seafarers till June 15, 2019.
However, the TATA management asked MASSA to furnish the details of such email addresses latest by April 29, 2019, the statement added.
Currently, MASSA represents the interests of over 60,000 Indian seafarers (merchant navy officers) who continue to sail aboard specialised cargo ships across the globe.