March, 2006 – Editor`s Page

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From the Editor`s Desk

All public service departments of the ministries associated with the seafarers need to view seafarers hard working life and isolated living of sacrifice, for the world trade, with a human touch, bringing in considerable foreign exchange to their country. View the genuine needs of Seafarer`s Welfare, giving top priority and concession to seafarers, owing to their living and working out in the deep seas, in hazardous working conditions, separated from their close and near dear ones, sacrificing their good part of their human life and earning considerable foreign-exchange to their country of origin. Considering” Jawani phir na aayegi ” compensation of one`s sea life.

Seafarers on return from ship, while on their hard-earned leave, needs to update the mandatory maritime courses as per IMO / State regulations and conventions from time to time, without viewing the valuable time of seafarers ashore without consideration of what can be substituted as distance learning. Beyond the domestic chores keeping check to the expiry of motor driving license, passport renewal and miscellaneous services, transactions with the electricity board, water and sewerage board departments, payment of house and water tax etc. etc. at times bearing the penalty for no fault of his/her(while at sea). Non timely payment or renewal needs to be also leniently viewed in a logical and pragmatic manner. Its high time the after service benefits, introduced reasonably.

Seafarers are men who believe in self confidence; they need be mentally and physically fit and strong, active, alert, non lethargic community whom we rest upon, for the world trade. If every men and women in this world believe in helping themselves, similar to the seafarers, by making time more productive on quick turnaround vessels, the whole world could be peaceful and happy with prosperity. While, seafarers are honest citizens, deprived of their legitimate dues, privileges, facilities and benefits which the shore-based employees enjoy, owing to seafarers not being able to unite together and voice their genuine grievances, unlike shore -based employees, able to easily unite, demand and achieve whatever they put forth, thus their demands are never neglected, which is owing to formation of a real union of members, hence the real strength of their unity speaks. Seafarer`s genuine needs are being neglected, grievances undressed, despite being exposed through the media, “Marine Waves” even after the promulgation of the “Right to Information Act”. The imperative need of a watchdog, to address the genuine needs of seafarers, towards their welfare by government machinery and / or the non-government organizations.

I am paused to think, as to why the foreign funds in the name and account head of “Seafarer`s welfare” more particularly during this twenty-first century and the advent of computers, continues to be routed through Christian missionaries, by the International Committee of Seafarers Welfare, U K; which is more likely to give room for abuse and misappropriation, more particularly while the seafarers are a conglomeration of different caste, creed and religion. One should learn to express respect for all faiths, in a fair and just manner. Such unfair practice of disparity and unwanted discrimination widens the differences between the religious groups causing conflicts within, thereby ruining the peace and prosperity of the human beings, in their living and working life conditions.

Seafarers are also deprived of their citizen`s voting rights, their non-presence to elect their own representatives to be heard, owing to their serving on the deep seas of the oceans. Even the minority section of the Anglo Indians, represented separately in the parliament, though they are available in the normal stream of general public, but for the seamen/seafarers spend most part of their life away on the deep seas, earning bread for their dependants and foreign exchange to the country. Under the circumstances the normal stream of public representatives neglects “seafarers` welfare”,since they count only on votes, to which they exist.

“National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA)” guarantees employment, free hospitalization, ex-gratia payment for death or permanent disability in the rural sector while Seafarers in the permanent role of S C I, a government of India enterprise, expected to be an organised public sector, wherein outspoken floating officer thrown out of employment without an y disability compensation nor VRS facility, as afforded by other public sectors of the same government, hence placed like a fish out of water without compensation, which is for noault of theirs, but for their ageing health problems. What seafarers really need, is fairness and transparency in dealings, sense of belonging and oneness, to put in their best, to achieve the best results, in their performance on hazardous works out at sea.

Its high time, the government machinery views the social security of the seafarers without further delay, while Merchant Navy termed as the second line of defence.

National Shipping Administrators have a real role to play in instilling fairness and just placement of wage scales to floating staff(officers and ratings), overseeing the same, instead of INSA (capitalists) blindly yielding , to the pressures of the self styled union representatives only. Resulting in, individual seafarers who voiced their genuine grievances have been victimized, by virtue of neglect by their employers (shipping company). Shipping Ministry needs to encourage and obtain the realistic feedback of out at sea affairs, living and working conditions in regard to safety and security), through an open forum, similar in line with the general even those killed are not exposed but concealed. Increasing evidence of innocent seafarers being exploited of their basic rights and privileges, should show concern to the shipping ministry of the respective governments to which the seafarers belong, causing concern even to the international community of seafarers.

Dr. Chandran Peechulli,
Ex.Chief Engineer(Marine), G.M.(Tech) Crossworld Shipping.
Managing Editor & Publisher-“MARINE WAVES” International Maritime Newsletter. * view highlights and back issues of editorial contents, to convince you all about what “Marine Waves” does to the society`s well-being, as a member of the Humanist Party of India.

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