What is — Seaman Book or CDC ?

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Seaman’s Book or CDC (Continuous Discharge Certificate) is a document issued by D.G. Shipping stating that the person is a seafarer as per the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification, and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW). Different Nationality seafarers have a CDC equivalent document issued by their Ministry of shipping. A Merchant Mariner Credentials is issued by the USA, Seaman Service Book issued by the Government of Pakistan. Every Indian Seafarer is supposed to carry this document with himself during his service on board a ship. The CDC is a legal document recording the individual’s seagoing experience. Every ship’s Master has to sign this document when the seafarer boards a ship and disembarks a ship validating his experience. The record of entries on CDC mentions Name of the ship, Offical number and tonnage of the ship, Date of Joining and port name, Date of disembarking and port name, Rank of Seafarer, Description of Voyage undertaken by the vessel.

Eligibility for CDC:-

  • Applicant must be Indian Citizen
  • Age limit
(i)For Deck, Engine, and Catering (Saloon) rating trainees-between 18 and 25 years of age
(ii)For  Utility HandBetween 18 and 40 years
(iii)For Petty Officers (Carpenter, Chief Steward, Electrician, Fitter, Machinist, Pumpman, Refrigeration Mechanic, Computer Operator, Mechanic (Motor Vehicle), Automobile Engineering  , Pipe Fitter, Motor Mechanic, Diesel Mechanic, General Mechanic, Maintenance Mechanic, Mechanic( Tool Engineering), Welder,  Electric Arc Welder,  Turner, Boiler Attendant,  Electronic Mechanic)Between 18 and 40 years of age



(iv)For ex-Naval ratingsUp to 45 years of age
(v)For non-certificated Officers such as Purser/Ship’s clerk, Electrical officer, and Electronic OfficerBetween 18 and 40 years.
  • Educational qualification
(i)For Deck, Engine, and Catering(Saloon) TraineesXth standard passed
(ii)For Utility HandsVIII standard passed
(iii)For Petty OfficerXth Std. passed with respective trade certificate from ITI (National Trade Certificate)(NTC) or National Apprenticeship Certificate (NAC) or Diploma Certificates approved by the National Council for Vocational Training (NCVT) or All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE). The minimum duration of the courses from any one of the above institutes shall be two years.
(iv)For Purser/Ship’s clerkA graduate with knowledge of accountancy and computer operation.
(v)For Electrical and Electronic
A Diploma or Degree in respective Branch from a Government recognized Polytechnic or recognized University
  • Applicant must be medically fit with Medical certificate For Medical fitness, the applicants should possess a certificate in the prescribed form issued in Annexures “E” and “F” of the Merchant Shipping (Medical Examination) Rules, 2000, to the effect that he is medically fit to be employed onboard ships. This simply means that Medical certificate must be obtained from a DG shipping Approved Medical Examiner.
  • The applicant for CDC must have completed following basic familiarisation courses from an approved training institute and hold a certificate to that effect.
  1. Elementary First Aid/Medical First Aid/Medical Care
  2. Fire Prevention and Fire Fighting/ Advanced Fire Fighting
  3. Personal Survival Techniques/ Proficiency in Survival Craft and Rescue Boats
  4. Personal Safety and Social Responsibility.
  5. Security Training for Seafarers with Designated Security Duties/ Ship Security Officer.


All the above courses are combined together into 1 single Course as

  1. Basic STCW Safety Training
  • Applicant must not be less than 18 years of age
  • Applicant must have cleared Class X.

The above eligibility criteria is quoted from DG shipping Website and the available Indian Official Gazette released at the time when this article was posted.

A CDC issued normally has a validity of 10 years from its date of issue and may be renewed after expiration or 6 months prior to the expiration date when requested by, for another 10 years. If the CDC of a seafarer is expiring during the voyage, then the validity of the CDC is till the duration of the voyage. Caution to the seafarer, it’s not just a company’s duty to inform you about your expiring documents, as a matter of fact, a seafarer prior signing his contract must make sure all his certificates have validity not less than 6 months.

Do you wish to apply for a new CDC? Is your CDC about to expire or expired already? Are you worried about the procedure for applying for new CDC? Should you apply for a Replacement CDC or Renew CDC? My next article will help you with the procedure for applying to either a CDC renewal or CDC replacement.

Let’s discuss more in comments down below

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Ashutosh Ghate
A Passionate Marine Engineer with over a decade of experience. Newly developed skills of web designing and blogging. Here to share my knowledge and experience.
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