October, 2008 – Editor`s Page

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From the Editor`s Desk

Shipping is perhaps the most international of the world`s industries, serving more than 90 per cent of the global trade by carrying huge quantities of cargo, cost effectively, cleanly and safely. We need to also view the feasibility of shifting more and more cargo from Rail, Road & Air to ships for transportation, overall carbon emissions can therefore be drastically reduced; besides the traffic congestion. Healthier inhaling by those on land and green technology can be improvised. Like other industries spread worldwide, shipping is also facing increasingly tough international challenges to achieve emission reductions.Carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions can be significantly reduced by as much as 40-50% by religiously following proper periodical and preventive maintenance of main and auxiliary engines, right actions of operational and administrative functions on vessels.

Man power onboard “Can do” will to work efficiently with sincere burning desire, thus achieving the optimized output, all this should come from within the employees at sea and the fullest cooperation from the relevant shore based staff. “Sincere thoughts to improve fuel consumption, avoid wastage, use of redesigned fuel-valves and fuel-system, propellers and hulls; use of best paints that make ships less `sticky` through the water to attract sea-weeds, barnacles; greater flexibility in shipping lanes to allow ships to by-pass storms rather than cruise through them resulting in burning more fuel, while facing avoidable resistances in movement . Support and cooperation from shore-management to ensure supply and use of the right Fuel and lubricants (bunker), emissions and green technology are one of the crucial areas. The International Maritime Organisation, the UN agency responsible for maritime safety and preventing pollution from ships, says all vessels more than 20 years old must be withdrawn from service, its not the ageing alone that matters but for the timely periodical preventive quality maintenance. IMO`s expectancy that all single-hull vessels have to be replaced by doublehull ones by 2010. The Marine Affairs Department of the UAE National Transport Authority recently made it clear no singlehull tankers will be allowed to trade in the UAE after the 2010 deadline. But does not ask for shifting and employing single hull vessels on any other sector of the ocean jeopardizing safety of human souls elsewhere. What is best to be adopted universally not compromising the lives of the innocent souls at work onboard. EAE adopts, “Marine safety as a top priority for ship registration in the UAE and vessels that do not meet safety requirements cannot operate here,” a UAE statement said.

Scarcity of marine professionals: The need to attract the best, those who are mentally and physically fit with professional competency in their activity based profession on vessels with a mindset to work, owing to lean skeleton strength manning onboard. Higher crew wages is therefore a bound necessity for Seafarer`s sacrifices and risks involved in their profession, besides they are over-worked. They do not drive up the operating costs. Investing on the right human capital could help cuttingdown on wastages, downtime etc. Instead bring down the wages of shore-based shipping staff in civil peace area, comparing others working ashore, not comparing with that of the wages of seafarers, who are on hazardous working conditions.

The growing incidents of “PIRACY” causes concern for preparedness: Seafarers are worried that more and more, join the pirates to hijack the ships because of its return being very lucrative and there is no deterrent. “Somalia has no central administrative government machinery ” for smooth maintenance of law and order. “The United Nations is the only agency that can stop this menace. The international community has to agree to find ways to solve this worsening problem. That is the only way forward for its 3,025km coastline — the longest in Africa – SOMALIAN WATERS remains virtually un-policed. Seafarers venturing out at sea therefore need to be sober, physically and mentally fit and disciplined at all times, calls for alertness and activeness to meet the eventualities. Captains (MASTER) of vessels should always be cautious and take the necessary safety measures to avoid risk of Pirate attacks. These pirates are not law- biding people. Though we have International Laws, how are we going to enforce it? “We have to consider the practicalities of doing so.” Vessels are to maintain 24-hour radar and visual watch for any suspicious activities, while out at sea”. Early detection will help prevent boarding`s by pirates. “Mariners in such prone area should take more responsibility for their own safety. Why, a remedial action not taken as yet, for the Marine Piracy menace? The professional seafarers out at sea, leading a life of sacrifice and risks in their day/night-duty out at sea, is surmounted with marine piracy menace these days. They are already over-worked and tired, expected to be vigilant with scary mindset. What is the world body doing about this? Owing to the increasing piracy, considerable seafarers are giving serious thought to quit their service at sea and seek shore based employment. Those old-timer mariners who were academically poor (school drop-outs), under-graduates, with trade apprenticeship have easily forgotten their hard life at sea, being self-centered with their plum jobs held, on the strength of the unregulated COC`s issued during the past, working parallel with the IAS bureaucrats, HOD`s, Deans in Maritime Colleges, Academies and as well as Vice Chancellor of Maritime Universities with exception to a few like Capt. K. Vivekanandan. Are they competent to talk about the wages drawn by the present seafarers out at sea, to be high. The management of “MARINE WAVES” feels that the seafarers out at sea, should be treated much far better, as they work on quicker turnaround vessels, unlike our old days on ocean going vessels. To solve global problems we need global solutions, and we must work together even when there are differences in our political systems.

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

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