December, 2006 – Editor`s Page

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From the Editor`s Desk

In today`s knowledge driven society it is imperative to constantly renew one`s domain knowledge, attitude and skill sets. This involves not only one`s professional skills that are conceptual and information based process and procedural knowhow, personal/group development and organizational development.

Much talked about capacity building for good governance, not being put into practice, as said by the Policy makers, entrusted for providing better policy making to ensure better administration to achieve fairly good service to seafarers, need to be well attended, as their time ashore with their near and dear ones, is the most valuable.

Public servants for public service need not only be equipped, but the will to work and implement the best with requisite knowledge, skills, and behavior, managing efficiently the task of governance, enhance the leadership, managerial, and administrative capabilities of the executives in government and public sector enterprises. Administrative reforms in the area of: Training, Research, Advisory and Consultancy services and Information dissemination and exchange, to reach the bottom-up expectations of the stakeholders in particular herein the seafarers. Needless to emphasize, mariners in the department need to be alive to developments taking place in the area of training technology at the global level, the policy changes at the national level, more particularly monitor the actual practices, to implement and ensure the best practices followed. Policies and its implementation need be of more responsive to seafarer`s needs and aspirations and aligned with human values. The nation needs to encourage the highest standards of professional practice.

During my sailing days, it was horrifying experience dealing with the M.M.D. Chennai, while I was then residing in Bangalore. Surprisingly, there was not a column for filling-in qualification in the requisite form but for importance to the trade apprenticeship, for consideration While, I was with organized sectors ashore prior to sailing : industries/ companies had three categories of apprentices ie. Engineering Graduate Apprentices for Executive cadre, Diploma Engineering Apprentices for the supervisory cadre and at last the Trade apprentices be groomed for semi-skilled to skilled tradesman.

To quote an incident: one of the surveyors questioned me as to what is a Mechanician`s duty, the answer was such designates are seasoned watch keepers on SCI vessels, engaged on inter island passenger vessels of the Andamans and Nicobar Islands, Laccadive Islands and Govt. of India`s research vessels carrying the nation`s scientists, they substitute engineers on who sail ocean going vessels. Mechanicians hold COC inland/seagoing or on entry with a minimum 3 year Diploma from the State Board of Technical Education. If need be SCI being a Govt. of India public sector is also obliged by surveyors to post even senior fitters (Petty Officer cadre) to substitute the mechanicians (though fitters have no knowledge on the overall ER-power plant system, to perform watch keeping ). The very same engineer surveyor, has risen to the present Chief Engineer Surveyor, Govt. of India, who then not convinced, asked, how SCI Mechanicians are posted to keep watch during sailing on a vessel with a propulsion power of more than 750 KW? Sir, you as a surveyor and SCI, should know better on this subject, was my reply. He insisted on the same and SCI Calcutta authority, Capt.Chakraborty Dy.GM Fleet Personnel, certified the same. Hence, such surveyors lacked the knowledge on industrial engineering background for time and motion study or ergonomics, on the subject of manning. If an investigation on manning is made to the ER Log Book and records of M.V.Chowra and of the famous vessel (M.V.Sentinel), which our late Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi sailed with his family and that of Big B and family, with Indian Navy escort, widely publicized, would reveal the facts. Seagoing Engine Driver Certificate of Competency holders serving in SCI on coastal vessels and those with the same COC in Moghul Line after merger with SCI, continued to be on MUI officers pay scales similar to Short sea shipping of the European countries.

The need for meaningful comparison amongst Officers/Engineers /PO`s and crew. Maritime discipline, lacks clearly laid down policy, but for loopholes to function with bias and prejudice. Men employed for a job, should be more or less equally qualified, as you would agree, where wages are unjustifiably and arbitrarily fixed, there is scope for personal bias and cause for dispute but if they were determined through systematic analysis, the chances for discontentment was/is less than negligible. During this modern scientific age H.R. function which is a specialized function, was/is neglected to date. Despite article 39 of our Indian Constitution that directs the state to formulate its policy in such a way, as to secure EQUAL PAY FOR EQUAL WORK for both men and women, while the state owned SCI Shipping Corporation of India violated, by discriminating and functioning, to their whims and fancies.

It was most regrettable that one cannot imagine to approach or see the Surveyor, who is generally backed with similar trade apprenticeship followed by COC set paper exams., (for operation and maintenance of the vessels) hence we were at the mercy of the MMD Clerks, to move our papers, to know the fate of eligibility, while stuck in new place incurring on boarding and lodging, being away from family as good as on vessel/ship, resulting in untold harassment and humiliation. If we did insist on seeing the surveyor, informs he is busy or on survey work and the clerk throws our papers across the table. There was no acknowledgement to papers submitted but at the applicants personal risk, bearing no responsibility. All with the support of such ill conceived mariners inducted into the department without much competition unlike other Class one posts, with no further enrichment of studies. Clerks were working as middlemen and therefore greasing their palms was common and unavoidable or else more harm done, for which we were wise to compromise at times. I had once asserted myself, to address the MMD as a Money Making Department, in one of my letters to the honorable Secretary, ministry of surface transport, the DGS and the Chief Engineer Surveyor, Govt. of India, during my sailing times and left Indian shipping while I was Third Engineer Officer(FG), later joined the oceangoing foreign flags, finally sailed as Chief Engineer and subsequently as Engineer Superintendent for six ISM certified vessels, prior to proceeding to UK on higher studies with scholarship.

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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