August, 2009 – Editor`s Page

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From the Editor`s Desk

“Knowledge is of two kinds. We know a subject ourselves, or we know where we can find information on it.”……….Samuel Johnson, English Author, Critic, & Lexicographer (1709~1784).

“Innovation changes knowledge into wealth”. We need to understand and recognize that Goddess Saraswati and Lakshmi, should co-exist in this age of the business world. ….Dr. Chandran Peechulli

We, the present day professionals, need to oversee our subject comprehensively to look beyond, longer and better vision with a good mission, for necessary research and development avenues as a challenge. As a maritime nation, “INDIA”, should- we not maintain high quality and strength of its sea/marine-power? Also, we need to continue improving it, taking into consideration the enormous man-power, in consideration of the nation`s population. Even a layman taking a quick scan of the past monthly editorial contents, of the “Marine Waves”, would soon realize that the Indian shipping industry is not in good shape. Don`t we hear stories of corruption in the Indian ports, maritime administration and in the Indian Shipping industry as a whole, i.e., Un-regulated course fees, varying illogical faculty standards in academic/ professional value concepts, disparities and discrimination in institutional wages paid in academic/professional maritime institutions causing disgruntlement resulting in disturbed mindset amongst teaching staff, resulting in poor teaching performance, shipping-companies having laid-up vessels, new building delays, cancellations, Ship-owners hard hit by current economic meltdown realities and hence shipping companies are also in financial troubles. Therefore, It`s high time the ship-owners realize to cut-down the cost of the shore-management staff, with lean skeleton staff as done in the production/service area(offshore rigs and on fleet-ships, with squeezed manning). Limit their salary with those of others who are working ashore, instead of illogically comparing the salary of those working with occupational hazards of high risks and sacrifices, out on the deep seas.

“Marine Waves” strongly supports, “The International Transport Workers Federation” which tries to seek wage rises and other essential improvements for seafarers, under the International Bargaining Forum, consideration of a worthy cause in support and welfare of the seafarers, for their risks and sacrifices undertaken, working in one of the most hazardous profession and keeping the world trade through shipping alive and active. The recent rounds of negotiations in Singapore were described as “very difficult” by both employer and union representatives. ITF is truly realistic, in pushing for an increase in benefits and salaries given to the state of the industry? One can say that the union`s role is not to roll over and agree with everything ship-owners and managers want, but demands should be tempered with annealing and hardening to the needs of the industry and business environment. What is needed in these wage negotiations is a realistic view of the current climate from all sides i.e. 360 degrees angle of vision, with the aim of ensuring as many seafarers employed, with fair conditions, as possible. It is but stupidity and unfair for one employed ashore, to compare the salary/ wages to that of the seafarers who work out on the deep seas in dangerous working conditions, with sacrifices from human life undertaking exceptionally risks, of high occupational hazards in life.

The obvious reason being, seafarers inability to-get-together and express their genuine grievances for re-dressal. Marine Waves, requests its readers to widen their thoughts of their real life experience, document the same by sharing with others for improvement, towards seafarer`s welfare and development. Never be distracted from unwanted elements but to concentrate on knowledge, in the line of our professional thinking. “INNOVATION changes knowledge into wealth”. We need to understand and recognize that Goddess Saraswati and Lakshmi should co-exist, for quality of output, in this business world.

The Directorate General of Shipping in India, being responsible for establishing and maintaining operational standards, hastily rushed into establishing of maritime training and educational facilities, with the poor background of mariners, who are passed out apprentices from the DMET and those from the Training Ship Dufferin, Rajendra, Chanakya, those without teaching or academic credibility, not alienating and collaborating with relevant established institutional experiences, resulting in mushrooming of many maritime institutes in 1990`s without the proper infra structure, on a trial and error basis, instead of proper foresight, planning and execution, with the result, off the shelf certificates in open market, CDC and STCW certificates. Hence the government and private sector in shipping has taken-off without the required support for a more global-oriented maritime education. Today, the world is looking upon “India” as a place of achievement, a source of intellectual capacity and a driver for global growth, in the visionary of the I.T. Sector. Hence, we all have reasons to expect our nation “INDIA” to be world`s class one, maritime man-power exporter, while Philippines is currently driving the economy of their country, where their nationals (seafarers) are said to be remitting over $4 billion to their home annually. “In the face of all the opportunities and prospects, however we are faced with the challenge of building the necessary human capital, at least for the maritime sector, with man power playing a significant role consistently.

The global shortage of seafarers has tremendously caused concern to International Maritime Organisation (IMO) and hence began a “go to sea” campaign last year, to attract entrants to the shipping industry. The campaign is still on and it is not yet clear, as to how far it can influence the choice of the youths globally who are physically and mentally fit, to take up challenging career at sea, considering e.g. the prevailing lacunae in our own national shipping administration, (mariners in the national shipping administration as examiners, fail candidates who successfully pass out from D G Approved Maritime Colleges/Institutions. Viewing the percentage of failures and number of attempts in MMD, (feedback from such trained candidates, speaks loud of the transparent situation), which being the main bottle-neck. Situation also speaks, as though these MMD Examiners have fallen from the sky. GREATER transparency is what the Indian citizen expects these days, after the RTI Act came into force. The same cry for less secrecy, greater transparency to better working performance efficiency in the Mercantile Marine Department of DGS, which is a fair and just demand in maritime circles, left active seafarer candidates fuming. `Lack of professional ethics” in Viva Voce.

Don`t we not have to be concerned and worried, for not utilizing the available potential of our physically and mentally fit Indian youths, to churn them into trained and able seafarers, developing a robust pool of Indian seafarers (officers and ratings), to serve overseas, out on the oceans of the world, with resultant increase in foreign-exchange, filling the national exchequer, also view seafarers welfare, who take the good image of our nation. Protect and help the retired needy seafarers, who are neglected in their basic needs during their old age, while taking care of the rural un-employed. Retired seafarers are those who have brought in considerable foreign-exchange to our country, hence the government or philanthropists to consider old age homes for the senior citizen seafarers, as a welfare measure. This is mindful of the essence of the human element in any endeavor. This will also ensure that politicians and the general public, are better informed of shipping`s great value and by promoting among people a career at sea through special emphasis`s on the variety of opportunities it offers in the short, medium and long term.

“Marine Waves Trust” is focused upon doing justice to the voiceless seamen, more particularly to those working on foreign-going service conditions, which delivers higher economic benefits, unlike other areas of discipline where they reflect regional self-interest in opposition to a global approach. Provide seamen-all those working at sea(officers and ratings),employees of shipping companies placed onboard, with an environment of respect, integrity, achievement and fun for performing their works onboard excellently, in quality and services, learning continuously with updates and growing ambitiously along with the company, in order to serve the customers and the world community at large, in the shipping trade i.e. maintain an environment that will foster teamwork and provide for continuous improvement thereby achieving “Total Quality” in all the activities onboard. Processes within the power plant (E.R.) are energy efficient and their environmental impact reduced, without compromising the safe functioning of the vessel. Shall therefore ensure, that their employees are appropriately trained and motivated, to apply this policy in their daily work in line with Environmental Management Programs.

Dr. Chandran Peechulli,
Ph.D; MBA; D.Sc; FIE(India), PgDIMS(UK), PgTED; FIIPE; MSEI; MSNAME(USA),
Ex.Chief Engineer(Marine), G.M.(Tech) Crossworld Shipping.
Managing Editor & Publisher-“MARINE WAVES” International Maritime Newsletter.

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