November,2004

November, 2004 – Editor`s Page                             

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From the Editor`s Desk

Dr

Viewing realistically, the relevant parameters constituting man-power needs Onboard the Merchant Navy vessels. I am of the opinion that the officers and crew Onboard, do not represent a major investment by the Ship Manager/Owners (salary and perks, recruitment, mandatory training towards functional attributes, seafarers travel and incidental expenditures etc.). If at all a negative representation is made of them, with mis-construed judgment, it should have been arrived with an ill-conceived notion.

It makes sense for the employers, to have a look at the means of retaining their employees and minimizing the increasingly significant cost of employee turnover. The recruiting and travel costs must be the added cost of providing professional trade skills training, which are necessary to keep pace with an increasingly competitive, technically complex environment. New regulations, time to time also impose mandatory additional training requirements in Safety and Health at Sea.

Shipping Companies/Managers reap benefit, only when they can attract and retain officers and crew in today`s Maritime Industry. There was a time not too long ago when Insurance was considered important only for the protection of the vessel owner, to insure the owners interest of their property, to protect them against operational liabilities. The trend is changing. in fact the views of most industry professionals have changed, the notion of providing employee benefits in addition to salary, seen as an important element protecting employer. interest, in their investment on shipboard employees.

Shipboard benefits are far less expensive to provide and administer. The types of benefits made available nowadays for the shipboard employees doing hazardous works, particularly while far away from their close and near dear ones in the deep seas, is comparably far less than the shore side employee that enjoys, on account of the fact that the active seafarers are not able to voice their grievances, being handicapped to get together. There is now a sigh of relief, owing to the advent of the computers. A seaman can now send e-mails, browse the net, which mirrors the full spectrum of employee benefits available ashore. medical, disability-benefits, children schooling benefits, pension/ life plans, etc. If viewed realistically, there is a big void space to the needs and lifestyle of shipboard employees. Contrary to the assumptions made by some. This may seem unlikely, for the national shipping administrations, to perceive challenges of providing such benefits, to the rightful seafarers who are in large numbers of different nationalities on a global basis, more particularly owing to the mobility of their profession. The International Shipping Administration cannot keep ignoring this vital need of perception, finding the incompetent, to rule the competent personalities, in their corporate offices. This has been the way of life like the dynasty of Kings/Maharajahs. First of all, the seafarers benefit plans should respond in the case of illness, injury, disability or death, which even the state owned Shipping Corporation of India, have not put into practice, but left to the mercy of the concerned sanctioning authorities, while though been the rightful privilege as per SCI service conditions, nor extended the privileges of that of a public sector in awarding VRS to their employees, which were liberally given by other public sectors/industries. Loss of jobs, a loss of right to live in dignity.

The need for an International plan, specifically planned, designed an adapted to meet the needs and lifestyles of Merchant Navy Officers and Crew worldwide, employed on foreign-going/international sea-service, which will provide after service benefits they need to sustain a normal descent retired life in their home country. This also will encourage the selection of the best available, talented employees, regardless of caste, creed, religion and nationality, promotes employee loyalty and reduces absenteeism. Thus the employer can have increased capital turnover, reap the rewards/benefits of more experienced and well contented, physically and mentally sound employees, with increased productivity of better turnaround vessels with no bottlenecks in the smooth sailing of the vessels around the world.

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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