October, 2005 – Editor`s Page

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From the Editor`s Desk

We live in a global society, which is supported by a global economy, which relies on ships and shipping industry. Global business is failing to identify and manage the emerging risks effectively, preventing human failure and breakdowns.The National Maritime Administration, should open up all avenues to seek factual information from the employers of seafarers, individual seafarers and from associated disciplines in shipping and maritime, if to make significant progress and set an example to the maritime world, with high quality self-conscientious responsible work-force of excellence.

No one individual or one department of the vessel is responsible for ship`s efficient performance, which in turn”success” to the shipping company. Only when you get to the heart of the matter, reveals a jugglery trying to keep six balls in the air. Five of these balls are blue. One marked for proper”OPERATIONS”, another timely and proper MAINTENANCE, third to ensure proper charting and NAVIGATION, and the fourth CORPORATE AND PUBLIC RELATIONS and the fifth says of the important asset PEOPLE, which is responsible for the ship`s efficient performance, the resultant of the said sixth ball leads to PROFIT. The need for supervisory and management skills, in due consideration of all constraints and limitations of seafarers living and working out at sea. Seafaring workforce (Merchant navy) is an ageing one and many shore-based employers are finding it increasingly difficult for their suitable resettlement, to meet the industry needs ashore with innovated approaches of high caliber, as the modern ships are technically advanced, sophisticated, carrying much more cargo, hundreds of thousands of tons than ever before, so safer and environment- friendly. Considering the inherent potential, which can cause enormous loss of life and/or environmental catastrophes of unimaginable dimensions, the craving need to develop a range of management skills that will improve profits, commercial awareness, thereby ability to ensure greater efficiency, rather than deviating from the standard norms of accepted good working practices. Feedback from the seafarers directly with relevant proof of evidence, during this computerized age, be encouraged for out at sea matters to be revealed/ exposed, for the timely corrective and remedial action. By this way, we would be able to ensure efficient, duty conscious officers and engineers onboard, of the highest caliber. Sub-standard shipping companies find all means to conceal matters blindly towards commercial interest, with their own team of substandard men to suit their needs, neglecting environmental marine pollution. Controls need to be exercised, in building up efficient certified workforce for out at sea works, only then we could expect, well maintained sea-worthy vessels and selfconscientious skilled people engaged, live with utmost safety and high environmental performance.”Risk management is now at the top of everyone`s agenda with the shipping market taking an increasingly sophisticated approach.” Ship-owners and Managers need therefore to expect realistic turnover of vessels with due consideration of timely repairs, care and maintenance, properly earmarked time for the essentials, instead of inviting avoidable breakdowns, causing seafarers to be over-worked and stressed, with the prevailing squeezed manning. Regulations on minimum manning are dealt realistically with pragmatic approach, not blindly at the risk and cost of the innocent seafarers, relying on insurance. In short, we are asking too much of our seafarers, expecting them to attend classes of new courses, renewal, and revalidation etc. while ashore on their hard earned holidays, with their near and dear ones. Mandatory courses be restricted to bare minimum, alternative source of study needs to be also thought of, though they continue to accept without grumbling, owing to circumstances beyond their control, even while with their family on hard-earned holidays. Seafarers are handicapped to interact, unlike other professionals, owing to their inability to get together. It`s time to stop pretending that the human element is not the most important contributor to the safety and efficiency of the ship. The need for recognition of quality work experience and Academic study (theoretically and practically backed) marine professionals, leading to a degree (graduation) of recognized university. Care and maintenance is a vital need, in all spheres of life, not restricted to marine / maintenance engineers. Just as the ship, it needs care and maintenance, such consideration is also a necessity for its own crew / employees, whose employers need to have in place, monitoring systems in terms of regular appraisals, mentoring and regular health checks, encouraging a healthy lifestyle. It scarcely goes without saying that the design of the ship itself is a major contributor to the health of its crew, along with the”match” of the crew to that ship through proper training, e.g. The layout of the ship differs from each, causing initial familiarization of the ships layout on initial placement, provision of relevant procedures and operating instructions. Why has the world body of Ship-builders, not interacting with a thought for standardizing in their areas of working, considering importance of communications, the avoidance of stress, adequate moving area for good working practices, priorities of ship operational needs etc. The standardization body these days only interested in certification. If they were asked, as to why international practice is not followed to make standardization wider, to the maritime world, informs that they perform only secretarial works and the contents of the standards are as per technical experts committee. Formed by them, for the convenience of Bureau of Indian Standards. They have stopped printing the composition of the expert committee members formed by them, which requires clarity and transparency? Alas, the awakening era for responsibility and accountability in bureaucracy by the `Right to Information Act` after many silent deaths of injustices.”The right to information Act” invoked, if implemented with the right spirit, would yield excellent results, towards the nations progress and prosperity. The need for a world maritime research forum to interact and produce better results from time to time.

Dr. Chandran Peechulli,
Ex.Chief Engineer(Marine), G.M.(Tech) Crossworld Shipping.
Managing Editor & Publisher-“MARINE WAVES” International Maritime Newsletter.

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