November, 2005 – Editor`s Page

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From the Editor`s Desk

Our focus on Maritime Industrial needs, to make “INDIA” a destination for better qualified manpower, focussing particularly on the overall safety performance of vessels and the best technological role, thriving to keep consistent improvement in performance, with forward looking challenges for Seafarer`s working life and the environment in the 21st Century and beyond.

This realisation strongly felt with an emphasis on upgrading Maritime Education to seafarers in the late 1980`s, the resultant of which Maritime Colleges and Institutions sprang up mushrooming in such an unregulated manner, resulting to`off the shelf certificates`leaving the administration receiving a severe jolt following some break applied, owing to the constructive criticism expressed in the ” Times of India ” newspaper, by Forward Seamen`s Union Leader Naresh Birwadkar, Mumbai, referring to off the shelf certificates. This started soon after STCW (Standards of Training, Certificate of Watch keeping) courses introduced and made mandatory to all class of seamen, thus to imbibe systematic basics of job skillness, instilling dignity and discipline, dutifulness, and dedication to the profession.

This followed with ship`s squeezed manning onboard. Some of the old timers, crewmembers who though drawing their wages with L.T.I. (left thumb impression) were also not spared, but to undergo STCW courses. The most funny part was that the officers and ratings were clubbed together in the class for PSSR course, in a national institution, with a self styled young master mariner taking class in English with an egoistic style, when requested to take class in Hindi, a common language, to benefit the crew (ratings) who were in the same class. He however continued the class proceedings in English, saying that he does not know Hindi, saying the final test would be in English, however all the candidates were provided the course certificate, at the end of the course. Institutional record of my report to the Director, should speak of this, if required.

Young able-bodied, literate men got inducted into shipping, as they carry the national image overseas, the choice of crew selection left to the respective shipping company to compete with the world market thus this boost, to the Indian seafarers image overseas. Men with the right aptitude, who loved their job, mastered their skill with specialisation and made a career of international class. Therefore, the marine industry has seen a steady decline, in the total losses of ships during the last 15 years from 4 per thousand at risk to about 1 per thousand at risk. While the average age of the world fleet has increased from 13 years to over 21 years and ship numbers from 73,500 to 90,120 ships. Enhancements to survey inspection regimes introduced, for higher risk ships, by increasing the scope and intensity of the surveys as the ship`s age. The significant changes were:- globalisation in shipping, the technical advances in scale we have made. The ships were small 20 years ago and specialised at every level, besides the focus on the environment has led to major technical and operational changes. Alas move to common rules, with a concept of standardisation and raising the quality benchmark with a minimum functional requirement in the Care, Operation and Maintenance, primarily towards safety and seaworthiness of vessels of the highest order with quality conscious approach, all this added to the rise in, number of international conventions regulating increased issues covered by classification rules. Bureau of Indian Standards notified of a serious flaw in the national standard in 1994, noticed in a shipyard in Gujarat, despite consistent follow up with the Bureau of Indian Standards, corrective action could only be taken at snails rate by BIS in 2004, after ten long years. Non-egoistic men with the right aptitude, needs to be employed in service, or else it reflects on governance and our national STANDARDS.

The dramatic changes towards safety of life at sea, owed primarily to the introduction of ISM Code, and increased legislation on tankers. As we all know the impetus for the ISM Code, the Herald of Free Enterprise disaster, in which around 200 people died. Enquiry into the said disaster revealed, owing to series of management failures for which IMO adopted Resolutions. A.647(16), guidelines in management of safe operations of ships and for Pollution Prevention. Classification standards evolved as a result of in-service experience, expanded research and analytical tools, continuing evolution incorporating sophisticated risk-assessment methodolog ies, into the classification rule making process. Hence, there is now a general safety culture, which did not exist before the introduction of the ISM Code, which eye browed classification societies, assuming auditing responsibilities for Safety Management Systems. It has further expanded with the introduction of ISPS (Ship & Port Security) Code. Adding to responsibili- ties, guidelines for the application of ergonomics and human factors of engineering to marine facilities and systems, which needs to be addressed:- Issues of vibration, lighting, varying temperature, noise variations-sound in the engine-room, oxygen content in working areas, morale of the working group onboard-disturbed mind-set etc. The need for an open forum to discuss, interact and analyse with the likeminded people. Make the most of your theory and practice backed rich experience in the field with an open mind, to leap ahead, which is a similar approach in the Researchers Forum, so that one could perceive each other with creativity, which would yield better results to excel, for a better tomorrow as the advent of computers, has made information to reach and receive fast, far and wide with ease.

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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