February, 2009 – Editor`s Page

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From the Editor`s Desk

It`s high time, ” we realize our resources, introduce appropriate policies.” All that we require is a shared vision of what is today, in the international maritime scenario and what best we could do to leap ahead successfully, with scientifically backed-up policies and needed support of the realized geniuses. Why should we accept the continuance of deficiencies and defects in the system, without corrective remedial action, neglecting the valid feedbacks? E.g. CDC scam, failure of introduced INDoS 8 years ago – the important database of Indian seafarers (said in my editorial Jan.2009) etc.

Critically appraising the existing system of policies and procedures in our national maritime administration, mariners inducted are not committed, sincerely, seriously nor efficiently, though they are well placed in shore-employment, attached to higher echelons of society, although with their poor academic background, risen with trade apprenticeship background, with C O C (Certificate of Competency) which is exclusively for operation and management of ships. It is unfair and unreasonable for shorebased mariners to compare the salary of active seafarers out at sea on ships article, who are living with high risks and sacrifices.

Distraction caused to mariners on shore-based jobs, by unfairly viewing and comparing salary earned by seafarers on ship`s article, with high risks and sacrifices. Hence, there is no transparency but for built in loopholes, to make their own end. Only those who have a sincere vision with a burning desire to excel can go about steadfastly. Information and communication technology had definitely encouraged us all and made things easy for the right thinking personnel, towards research and development.

Considering safety and health of seafarers, as a primary welfare measure, the challenge to policymakers is to ensure, instilling fair and best practices, in policy and procedures. While merchant navy is the second line of defence, earning foreign-exchange to the country. It should be a common concern for national maritime administrations (DGS) and both INSA (Indian National Ship-owners Association) and the relevant officers and rating unions. As said in my earlier issues of the prevailing UNFAIR Pay-scales, in the name of nonpromotional categories, while during the same time period, a floating staff engineer thrown out of service, like a fish out of water, from a government of India enterprise (SCI), this injustice for no fault of his, but for his medical disability, blood-pressure (H.T.), in 1994, was neither awarded the due medical disability compensation nor VRS nor a fair final settlement of accounts till to date, since he was a whistle-blower. It should have caught the eyes of the shipping administration, home ministry and department of administrative reforms. Where is fairness and justice to the citizen of India, unless a person is influenced?

News of Fake CDC`s (Continuous Discharge Certificate), in the Bombay open market is not new to the old timers in shipping, this has been happening. CDC, being an identification and a mandatory document, for a seaman to sail. It is issued by the Shipping Ministry through the Directorate-General of Shipping, to those who have cleared the pre-sea and STCW course examinations from an authorized institution of the directorate general shipping. Bombay- Police have always been efficient to track fake CDC`s, from 1980`s in the open market, as far as I know, hence now and then fake CDC`s are on the news, particularly surrounding the “Jahaz Bhavan” at Walchand Hirachand Marg, wherein housed the office of the DGS (directorate general of shipping), e.g. opposite GPO, where the off the shelves STCW Course certificates and CDC`s were made available for a price, primarily for those seeking employment in gulf countries. Seamen with a CDC and a passport, along with an official letter from the shipping company, can travel abroad or enter the country without a visa. Although the forged CDCs, were largely being used by unqualified men to secure jobs on ships, the fact that it also allows entry and exit without a visa, has now set alarm bells ringing at national security angle, owing to the wide spread terrorists known these days. It is therefore high time, cross reference to entry of CDC, INDOS and passport numbers of seafarers are documented, for affective control of seafarer`s movement in and out of the country, also to arriving at realistic statistical figures of Indian sailors leaving and returning back to their country. It would also curtail illegal entry of intruders into our country and also restrict criminals from fleeing from our country, restrict the fake CDCs as well. Hence, it is high time CDC norms are tightened, in our national and international interest, since it is taken in a lighter vein by our national shipping administration, for over almost three long decades of this subjective exposure, without corrective or remedial measures. (view old subjective press releases, in this issue on page 9)

Besides, Why? this free issue of CDC, to those who just undergo short-term course in the name of GMDSS, a course without much publicity? Is it, to please a section of the society who are influenced and not meeting the pre-requisites of normal entry requirement? This is another loophole for securing CDC and taking placement in other trades. Why should this category be exempted from Pre-Sea training? Is this for an inborn sea-training category of personnel? Furthermore, our Shipping Directorate declaring 1500 CDC`s been issued during the year 2005-2007, under the category of “Purser” which explicit corruption within, since the figure is unrealistic, while this category is restricted to passenger vessels while in India, hardly few passenger vessels engaged in A&N. and lakshadweep islands All this corruption with connivance of those within MMD. It is surprising, that a 3 year diploma from the State Board of Technical Education is not considered for entry into GMDSS Course while 10 + 2 is considered. As a matter of fact, Diploma – EEE, should have been considered much superior than 10+2, for GMDSS course particularly while pursuing for higher technical studies. Failing to consider such candidates for GMDSS admission is a grave injustice. Security measures have not been taken into consideration, considering reference co-relating local ration-card, local police verification, passport etc. “Marine Waves” emphasizes “Seafarers to be groomed very well during training period ” to carry the good image of our nation, overseas.

Develop Or Die: Sustainable development has become the mantra of the 21st century. No other concept has had such a profound impact on corporate and institutional decision-making, forcing governments to change policies and companies to rethink how they do business. This new series tackles the challenges now facing Asia; how to develop countries` economies while at the same time handling the growing pressure from the West to protect the environment. BBC World News. 06-02-2009.

Dr. Chandran Peechulli,
Ex.Chief Engineer(Marine), G.M.(Tech) Crossworld Shipping.
Managing Editor & Publisher-“MARINE WAVES” International Maritime Newsletter.

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