March, 2009 – Editor`s Page

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From the Editor`s Desk

“It is not enough for journalists, to see themselves as mere messengers, without understanding the hidden agendas of the message and myths that surround it” .. …… John Pilger.

Ref:T.O.I. Dt.22-01-2009,Page 2, Chennai edition The media has started playing dirty, by blindly carrying voices rather than verifying with the authorities concerned. Shortages are not account of reason said in the Times of India, by Arun Ram / TNN, but for lack of good foresight, planning and execution. Please read editorial of MARINE WAVES, January 2009 issue, which explicit, to convince one and all, of the poor state of performance efficiency amongst the inducted mariners into our national maritime administration, which I have been exposing since April 2001. It is the sickness of those, who volunteered to take up shore (land) employment, make crocodile tears by comparing the salary of the active seafarers, working out with all hardships out at sea. Seafarer`s health: Seafarers, are among the most isolated demographic working groups in the world, in relation to access to medical care while, both in emergency situations and for primary health care. On a large, slow vessel in the middle of the pacific, a seafarer may be several days away from quality medical services. Seafarers life are `as being in prison`, isolated`, `lonely` as a `sacrifice`, all this by the seafarers, to provide support and enable better living conditions and opportunities for their loved ones. Seafarers at sea, are for their family and not for themselves, who can tolerate harsh working conditions, the all too apparent risk to life and limbs as well as the emotional strain experienced owing to being away from home (near and dear ones of their life) for long periods at a time. More particularly owing to squeezed manning by the incompetent, to please the ship owners, which is not based on” Time and Motion study” – an Industrial Engineering subject.

Times of India newspaper has its own reputation, built over the ages, unlike other local neighbourhood newspaper. It should not fall so cheap to distract valued-readers, by publishing false image of any section of people without knowing the facts of reality. It is a crime. I do not know as to how much has the Chennai Pilots, paid to TIMES OF INDIA Chennai, to bring out the said half page glamorous content in Page 2, of the main newspaper, dated the 22nd Jan. 2009. High time, TOI gave their collective thoughts, to verify the facts with authority concerned, before publishing the same, in the future. “Stick to professional and moral ethics, exposing the truth and reality, which needs the right transparent vision and ideals, if to keep-up with the sanctity of journalism and to retain a respected media in society”. However, life is how one makes it, as an opportunity as well, to study and learn with the diversed group, from all around the world enriching one`s experience, opening to a world of new productive ideas, with a life of alertness and activeness.

Besides, the risk and sacrifices in a seafarer`s life, the additional fear of piracy, scaring them of attacks, disturbing the framework of their minds, during their working and living conditions out at sea is more demoralizing, viewing uncertain attacks by pirates. Under such predicament situations in a seafarer`s life, I can`t imagine as to how heartless it would be, for any mariner working ashore, to compare their shore-based wages with those of the seafarers working dangerously on the deep seas. Any human soul, with a quest for humanness in human-beings, would consider seafarer`s hard life at sea, become enlightened to act towards their welfare, rather than compare their shore-based wages with active mariners. I call upon the shore-based employees to have a comprehensive insight and understanding of the present shipping industry, compared to our past seafaring life, considering present days quick- turnaround of vessels with least port stay, current restrictions that are varied and increased, in the ongoing international regulations. Besides, during their hard-earned leave period, expected to attend to mandatory conventional courses, revalidation courses etc. in force from time to time, furthermore ensuring the timely renewal of their personal CDC and Passport, Motor Vehicle Driving License, Family Ration Card, Voter Election Card, etc.

If continued comparison is made by the shore-based staff to achieve wages of sea-going staff, the shortages of seafarers would drastically increase, as already a distress signal for shipping, seafarers are leaving their sea careers, owing to increased piracy attacks and increased hardships, while their counterparts ashore with family life are comfortably placed. In Singapore, with much larger focus on shore-based careers, both the authorities and industry are trying to reach out to young people through various programmes. Crew shortage remains a daunting and worrying prospect. The Philippines is a major supplier of crew to world shipping and the manning industry in the Philippines, according to a report, has urged ship-owners to work with it on a national basis to develop seafarers for the future, the way Japanese ship-owners have done now for many years. According to a report in Lloyds List, the representative bodies from the manning industry in the Philippines, are going out to the villages, to explain to teenagers, the benefits of a career in the maritime industry.

The International Maritime Organisation Secretary-General, Mr Efthimios Mitropoulos, said recently that his organization proposed to launch a worldwide campaign to bolster the image of the shipping industry.

The Working Life of Mariners ashore, are totally different and need to be regulated only on the strength of their qualification, the length of rich experience, their special skill, hardship, responsibility held etc. The quality and dedication of their commitment level, varying from person to person etc. Hence, should not be compared with the earnings of seafarer`s article wages, which is quite unfair. Be considered for perks on their present day work-duties and responsibilities and hardship. Hence, never ever compare salary and perks to that of the seafarers, working and living isolated from their home and land, working with occupational hazards much dangerously, away from their near and dear ones of their lives, spending most of their time out at sea, a sacrifice of their prime youth in life.

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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