November, 2006 – Editor`s Page

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From the Editor`s Desk

National Shipping Administration, be need-based on the authority of ideas, rather than the idea of authority. There is no question that should be impossible to ask, no subject that should be beyond the scope of inquiry, no issue that should be regarded as finally settled and no one who should be above or beyond a debate, to be addressed for content management, towards a step forward from the normal to the creamy layer, for refined thoughts of discovery.

The creamy layer, need to come out from pure merits, with crystal clear thoughts of transparency, not by a result of quota or concessions or shortcuts or from sympathies, after achieving almost six (6)decades period of independence, living in a sovereign democratic republic country, which should be a justified motivating factor for national development. One needs an open mind to accept this fact by now, viewing the surge of scientific developments that we see and experience before us, in our daily lives. National Maritime Administration, need to be more involved with Indian National Ship Owners`Association (INSA ), Foreign Ship Owners and Ship Managers`Association (FOSMA), Maritime Association of Ship Owners Association (MASSA), and ensure to provide proper regulation of seafarers and other stake holders, devise the special purpose training requirements with a view to enhance the employability of our national (Indian) seafarers in international shipping. Considering the notion that seafaring is an unsafe line of work with further threat of piracy and officer kidnapping. In the words of Kofi Annan: “Good governance is perhaps the single most important factor in eradicating poverty and promoting development” which primarily calls for fairness and justice, from the learned marine professionals in the corporate.

Institutions of Maritime Education, need to develop a healthy competition, as shipping is international, with possibility of strengthening our higher education system, with the preparedness to move ahead on to the proposed Maritime University. What prevails now is no standard, for what constitutes a necessary curriculum. Successful education focuses on Research, professional education, as well as on under-graduate study. Maritime Institutions should have their objective for not just apprenticeship training but for providing case-studies, updates of new knowledge, extent of knowledge to be imparted as mandatory, enactments in the pipeline etc. The vital need for generating a Data Bank with a foresight to emerging needs and changes, all relevant shipping industrial work process. etc.

“You can have all the knowledge and skills in the world, but if your “blueprint” isn`t properly set for success, you`re financially doomed.”….. T. Harv Eker

“Smart Men and Women professionals`can well understand that if to succeed in today`s turbulent, highly competitive world, one need to continually increase their knowledge and skill ability, to adapt to rapid changes”. Only then, they can keep to the top of their professional world. The shipboard job demands physical activity, alertness, intelligence and high professional knowledge, as one cannot take chances viewing risk management. When these attributes are stretched for a prolonged duration, the individual is likely to suffer severe stress. It may lead to boredom, dissatisfaction, anger etc flaring up into altercations and heated debates or near manhandling of colleagues. All are not trained to combat such situation and contain outbreaks. A leader cannot just watch such scenes but intervene. To cope up with similar shipboard environment and to enhance professional competence, a serious thought of management in “Human Relations and Human Resource Development`calls for to maintain morale of all onboard to live and work in harmony”. Good interface management is the key to success.

“Engineers” irrespective of what they be, the Chief Engineer or the Superintendent-Engineer, they form a member in a strata of the institution of engineers, or specialized sections of production/manufacturing engineers, marine engineers, safety engineers, quality assurance engineers etc. the class of membership Fellow, Member, Associate Member, Graduate/Student Member etc. distinguishes members from others, which only matters. Professional Associations are not to merely function as recreation clubs, parties, excursions etc. but for maintaining code of professional ethics, if to innovate and develop, for professional image development and achievement with creative thinking. Chief Engineers (Marine), don`t have nor need a separate association, the engineering feat is far more wide and universal. “Chief Engineer” is an entity in the organizational set-up of hierarchy, designated ashore as Marine / Mechanical / Shipyard Engineer, Engineer Surveyor, Consulting Engineer etc. The technical and/or Management acumen, speaks off individual`s credibility of their rich qualification, experience and knowledge, contribution in technical and/or management society.

“Try not to become a man/person of cheap success. Rather become a person of values “…… Albert Einstein.

The examinations conducted by the Mercantile Marine Department of the DGS, were not equated with the University Degrees or Diplomas with corresponding academic contents, since one should bear in mind that this arena is restricted to operation and maintenance skills specific assignment, the mariners inducted into the department were generally under-graduates with professional apprenticeship training but equated with the creamy layer bureaucrats of the nation, without much competition, nor additional qualification, unlike other Class one officers. It is left to interested seafarers to enhance their qualification/knowledge viewing shore assignments, in this competitive world, making use of the Open University system ( distance/e-learning ). “SHIPPING CALLS FOR QUALITY AND COMPETENCY IN SEAFARER`S TRAINING”, Maritime Training Institutes to usher in excellent quality, modern technology and efficiency in the training of Indian Seafarers. Updating of professional knowledge is imperative to perform maritime operations, in the most efficient manner. Constant refresher training with updates will only make the Indian Officers more competent than those of other seafaring nations. With this objective in mind, a strict benchmarking of maritime training institutions and unbiased monitoring by international credit rating agencies, will keep in good stead.

The charter of crew duties need to be well defined while an extra hand is not positioned onboard, to meet exigencies. At sea, this decision of manning turns out to be unrealistic, by those incompetent with just Port/ harbour/CIWT apprentice background, without wider vision, as one should realize that crew may be summoned to meet contingencies, any moment of time. If one of the critical machinery among the numerous fails at sea, the manning structure goes topsy-turvy and the rating crew and officers have to slog till things are set right. It is impractical to call for assistance during emergencies out at sea, hence the only option is to stretch the available skilled manpower. The physical or mental weakness resulting from such prolonged and tiring effort or activity out at sea called fatigue, need to be considered an important factor, while the life at sea has inherent-fatigue. The ageing of ship, the maintenance standards and living conditions onboard contribute to excessive level of stimulation or prolonged exertion. When fatigue strikes, the crew`s ability for spontaneous action during emergencies diminishes owing to disturbed presence of mind to take the right decision and this can lead to serious consequences of disaster. A foolproof method has yet to be devised, for” Database of Indian National Seafarers(DINS)”, expressed earlier by us “Marine Waves” to look into differentiating the Indian CDC No. and the existing INDOS No.as per M.S. Notice 2 of 2001. One needs to love his own country first, “but what if it is wrong” “Right or Wrong”, do people not have the right to express their ideas peacefully? Focus on these issues not from the point of view of a statesman but from the point of view of a person who tries to understand the inner pain and suffering of the seafarers, causing even unwanted complications to documentation of our Indian seafarers, instead concentrate on the social security of the seafarers working in hazardous zones out on the deep seas, earning foreign exchange to their country?

Dr. Chandran Peechulli,
Ph.D; MBA; D.Sc; FIE(India), PgDIMS(UK), PgTED; FIIPE; MSEI; MSNAME(USA),
Ex.Chief Engineer(Marine), G.M.(Tech) Crossworld Shipping.
Managing Editor & Publisher-“MARINE WAVES” International Maritime Newsletter.

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