June, 2009 – Editor`s Page

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From the Editor`s Desk

There is a need for the human side of the industry to raise its voice when confronted by injustice, please view…..” An insight to know better of Shipping Ministry,Government of India ” the DMET ians, prior to 1983 batch, “THE EXAMINERS”, now in Mercantile Marine Department (MMD). Ministry of Shipping.

We, from “Marine Waves Trust”, a seafarers welfare body, call upon the egoistic, “Examiners of the Mercantile Marine” belonging to the Office of the Director-General of Shipping, who harass the candidates, to look back into their own veracity, a product of DMET after a School leaving certificate, similar to entry into Fishing vessel engine driver training into CIFNET, Kochi, Chennai and visakh, acquiring trade certificate which prepares them with pre-sea training and trains them for operation and maintenance of vessels (ships) and not a competency degree or diploma of academic standards, to design or manufacture a ship.Though, “work is worship” it is universally known that maintenance job is generally handled by the low graded category, as one has to be physically tough, and not the bright intelligent IITian guys, who opt for a clean job through the JEE merit list, with higher IQ and reflexes. Though they may have slogged their way to be a Chief Engineer like others on ocean going vessels and taken up a shore job, with a stint period out at sea, they should thank god and their predecessors, having been placed as Class One Officer in GOI services without much competition, owing to the unique sea-service experience, since there is not much publicity as well, get elevated by virtue of service to Joint D.G., or Addnl. D.G., and retire in the office of the D.G.S., Ministry of Shipping, Government of India, with after service- benefits, not on the strength of any superior qualification nor long rich relevant experience at sea but doing desk-job conveying documentation, of the IMO conventions. It is obvious that a trade certificate of DMET is not a superior academic qualification for the grade/post held, in the government department of our country; hardly others in any other department of our country can dream off and hence this sorry state of affairs. Hence, the existing situation is not encouraging mariners in general, to enhance their qualification. That`s the reason; we now find under-graduates as Vice/Pro Chancellor Deans, Professors, HOD`s etc. in deemed maritime universities, while on the other hand U.G.C. insists upon PG`s qualifying the N.E.T. entry examination, for appointment as Lecturers, a mandatory criterion, for all teaching jobs in universities and colleges and specialized Doctorates, in the respective field of study, for working as H.O.D.`s / Professors. Please note: Any profession, expects its faculty to have advanced preparation in the discipline, in order to teach the most current content in the discipline.

DMET backed examiners, behave as though fallen from the sky, owing to the enormous powers vested on them and hence harass better qualified candidates owing to inferiority complex. Is this, equality of status and of opportunity; and to promote among all the fraternity, assuring the dignity of the individual and the unity of the nation enshrined in our constitution? Self, being outspoken, made medically unfit to report for duty on ship as an engineer officer, in a Govt. of India enterprise in 1994 and a fair settlement of my final settlement not made as yet by the Shipping Corporation of India, Mumbai, as on date, being a victim of injustice. During these scary days of piracy, a mariner entry DMET ian, now Joint DG of MMD states: fishermen community need to be given preference, as he now realizes, from his stint period out at sea, factor of courage required to work out at sea, much more nowadays owing to piracy menace. The real fact lies `of those misfits who left early, working out at sea`, lacks physically, mentally, or some serious domestic problem needing their presence ashore, has left the lucrative salaried (compensated for the risks and sacrifices), they initially compromised as against salary ashore, though with liberal benefits, but shore-based mariners are however much better placed comparing to other non-mariners. We all know, training Institutions have an important place in the development of professional competence, employing mentors and dedicated trainers – to promote practical knowledge and a measure of assurance that best practice is always followed. Therefore, it is high time we instill dedicated training and assessment staff, to view simultaneously seafarer`s and shipping company`s feedback and ensure that those afloat are keeping up their morale high and operating efficiently, safely etc. Career development is also becoming accepted in the shipping industry, importantly both, as it attempts to recruit and retain the best possible professionals, and to develop better talents, with improved knowledge, realizing better productivity .

Discouraging feedbacks: Mariners in the office of the Directorate General Shipping are not responding to valid exposures of defects and deficiencies. Is it not that, change not necessary deemed purposefully, egoism for neglecting, which was in bad faith? said through the editorials of “Marine Waves”? Is it, that we can see real signs of rejuvenation, by merely opening up an Indian Maritime University? While the need is for a positive, proactive and professional approach to education, training and career development, I am not very clear of DGS Notice No.11-TR(18)/2004- II dated 27th April, 2009 Re-Affiliation of Maritime Training Institutes, which states:- Affiliation of private institutes with the IMU is not mandatory. The institutes which are affiliated with other universities will continue to be recognized by DGS. Why not under the same umbrella of IMU under one fold, as a whole, for ensuring uniformity in quality of maritime education imparted, standardization of reasonable course fees and value etc. to reach out to the candidates on pure merit, who are physically and mentally fit to work on the high hard seas? Ref: May issue of “Marine Waves”. As we progress into the crucial middle of 2009, these questions keep taunting and hurting the sentiments of any good citizen, who really wished to contribute to national development.Was it not to resist and protect a section of bad elements from scrutiny over the whole affairs? Was this not a discouraging factor to those who really wanted to contribute for the national development?

Why don`t such egoistic. MMD Surveyors be committed and morally responsible for all the Indian vessels detained overseas for technical reasons? As an examiner of MMD, in the grade of Joint D.G., who stoops so low, to ask all the maritime institutions and companies to stop sponsoring or promoting “Marine Waves” for any advertisements? What a heartless, sinful and cheap act? If he a true professional, should have been competent to answer/justify for all the expositions made through the editorial content of “Marine Waves”, which is itself a clear case of incompetence/ `Abuse of powers`. It`s high time they are stripped of unwanted excessive powers, which they don`t deserve with any regret for their karma. They carry more grumbling abuses and curses, for harassing and humiliating innocent candidates appearing for Viva Voce of MEO Class IV, MMD Exam., after their 4 year B.E. (Marine Engineering Degree), followed which the stipulated seaservice, for an entry level exam. Parents/Guardians expect their wards to turn out as professionals in pre-determined time, having availed Educational Bank Loan for Professional Degree Course, paying large sum of fees, i.e. for the extensive period of their study and thereafter the stipulated initial period of their sea-service, for eligibility to appear for the Certificate of Competency. In reality, failure of candidates should be expected to be barely negligible (minimum), or else be justified, for the candidate to be convinced, of where their weakness lies for improvement. Otherwise, there is certainly some lacunae elsewhere. Engineering qualification is not a thing of simply acquiring informative knowledge. It requires continuous and intensive practice and training during the educational programs. Examiners, of MMD, has to be a role model, need to be theoretically and practically sound. Experience alone do not cover overall branch of engineering but limited to cover only the areas in which they happen to work. Inexperienced faculty often think in terms of their own teaching when the emphasis should be on student learning – a critical distinction.

Please note:there are many who holds similar Certificate of Competency (COC), in private institutions, companies, etc. with job in-security, who have acquired higher qualifications or kept abreast with the times on their subject, with long rich relevant experience, they behave like gentleman, since they have worked-out on their toes for many reasons, to keep up to the competitiveness of the ever competing world of business. For e.g. How many Captains can be compared to Captain Vivekananda, who kept marching to progress from NIPM, to AMET and to VELs, with a specialized institutional management-outlook, hardly smiles, a true disciplinarian, veteran, real marine-professional, interacting with national shipping administration, shipping companies, international relations with maritime colleges overseas, co-institutes, student-parent-tutor relations, etc., a true disciplinarian, to groom the budding officers to be fully committed and responsible officers, for their own, to the nation and to the world at large, whereas the person who followed, brought a strategy of picking award from abroad to exhibit as a marketing strategy (attracting candidates for admission and for placement), since he couldn`t improve the established quality of training imparted but for viewing only in the commercial angle.

We also find (Mariners) tutors, hopping from one employment to the other and that`s why, I was advocating the induction of tutors in maritime institutions, to be those who have the real teaching aptitude, who could stick and specialise. Inexperienced faculty often think in terms of their own teaching when the emphasis should be on student learning – a critical distinction. Certificate Of Competency alone cannot be rested, as the only factor, DMET ian thinks in a short-sighted manner, to determine the suitability for teaching but for restricting to the demonstration of skills in operation and maintenance. Is there a check by the national shipping administration, monitoring the faculty list as to whether they really and physically exist? But for meeting DGS requirement norms, in documentation only? What is required is a fair, reasonable and just regulatory approval of mechanism deployed. Administration should promote good governance and that it should be citizen-centric.

As a social activist, responsible member of “Marine Waves Trust”, corporate member of Chennai Press Club, viewing seafarers welfare, it is my endeavour to make a wider coverage with the deepest analysis and the sharpest insights of areas, where the seafarers are made to suffer, by exposing the loopholes and concealed facts, viewing and producing solutions, for timely corrective actions, which is my priority since the seafarers live with risks and sacrifices, on ocean-going vessels doing hazardous jobs out on the deep seas. Being in the world shipping trade, they earn substantial foreign-exchange to their country of origin. What does the country give back to them(seafarers), in welfare or compensation of return? Secularism alone is nothing while compromising with quality of administration, which is not good for a sovereign democratic republic country, that of ours.

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

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