June, 2006 – Editor`s Page

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From the Editor`s Desk

The changing times have revolutionised prospects in almost every career field that one can find today. Even the ideologies of instruction in Universities have changed from the conventional Universities. We have the Open University systems in the country, which is more learner oriented and the learner is an active participant in the teaching and learning process. Followed with interesting career options in the fields like various kinds of medias – newspapers, magazines, advertisements, radio, television, public relations etc.

Though its presence has been there since long, but of late in recent times of computer and communication age, gained momentum and the merited been able to earn their due recognition. Those of the Mariners, who were a misfit those days to be absorbed in shore jobs, but for their placement in port operations or find a place in the repair team, assigned positions in the faculty of Professional Education as Directors, Dean, Principal etc., with their poor educational background, mostly school dropouts with apprenticeship for shipboard works, followed with set paper exams and ornamental title of ship`s captain, known to all for their competence restricted to vessels operation and maintenance. Regrettable to note such of those find ways to address gathering of students of PG section, in the renowned University of Madras, with illogical comments, which would only discourage and harm the meritorious students, which is painful to note. What has UGC or the AICTE officials in our country to say on this, while they insist on NET and B.Ed. qlfn. for teaching? Its high time, mariners inducted into the department prove supremacy by virtue of their intellectual integrity, technical competence, commitment to values and fair administration in shipping, which the autonomous body UPSC; needs to assure the Indian seafarers.

Marine Professionals having link with the department, gain easy entry and they later compare themselves with the cream of national talents( IAS, IFS, IPS etc.), and at the same time compare, the earnings of the seafarers on hazardous works out at sea. What good contributions, can we expect off, by such administrators in the Dept., to instill fairness with their ill-conceived knowledge? By mere virtue of over-rated dept. service, with their poor educational background and few years of service out at sea on induction, and no additional qualification to reach the Additional. Secretary / DG level of the Govt. while in this innovative world of Knowledge Management, being empowered with authenticity of department`s approval, on behalf of the Directorate General Shipping.

While the serving floating officers/seamen (seafarers), earning foreign-exchange to the country, with risks and sacrifices, after their long separation, working out at sea, have to spend their valuable time ashore, on the mandatory courses for updates, from time to time. Have they ever paused to think of introducing distance learning courses wherever feasible? Consider pensionary benefits to seamen (officers and ratings), who have all along been pumping foreign exchange to their country, while the supporting `port services` in shipping, are better placed, owing to their getting together and raising their genuine grievances/claims, which the seafarers are handicapped.

These merits, serious attention by the policy makers, as well as the civil society at large, since the ocean of noise generated towards the genuine welfare needs of the seafarers are being neglected for long. Lack of visible policing makes this poor state of affairs. Call upon my valued, enlightened readers to share your experience, for a corruption free society,. It`s high time, a beginning is made to bring some rationality, transparency and fairness into the controversy, bringing in true “social justice” with a harmonised approach to regulations, guidelines and codes.

A study needs to be initiated quickly, to redefine `social justice` to seafarers, backed by empirical data. It is not out of place to mention here that there is no wide publicity, to attract the most qualified and merited seafarers into national shipping administration, who views seafarers welfare with emphasis on Safety, Health, Environment, Quality and Reliability. It is high time, bureaucrats – IAS officials posted in Shipping department do rely more on a consortium of qualified marine consultants similar to external audits and the urgent need to re-think on, “Mariners” inducted into National Shipping Administration, by attracting the best on merits among the available lot in our country.

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

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