It is a well recognised fact that future of India and its participation as leader in the global shipping is based on its strength of providing seafaring human resources of highest standards. India has maintained till date a coveted place as one of the most respected world leaders for maritime affairs, as valued professionals and as strategic ship managers.
Apart from the Government managed training Institutes, under the vision of a former Director General of Shipping, the avenue was thrown open to the private sector to increase India’s trained seafaring resources, when many entrepreneurs came forward in response. There have been wide attractive adverts and media coverage to bring greater awareness around every village in the country.
The southern state of Tamil nadu enthusiastically took the highest single participation with many private training Institutes mushrooming all over. Many private maritime training centres emerged in the interiors of northern states as well. There have been serious audits from DG Shipping Administration and private shipping companies to ensure high standards to recruit quality products of deck and engineering cadets from these Institutes.
Under the darkest clouds of global shipping recession, there seem no immediate prospects for 3 years degree stream of BSc (Nautical studies) and 4 years Degree stream of BE marine engineering. For students who do not succeed in finding shipboard placements, find themselves not acceptable elsewhere. It is an open secret today that these courses have no charm, till such time all backlogs are cleared for marine graduates facing uncertain future.
As an alternative to the ship-in-campus concept, why not we make use of a place like Alang, Gujarat state for shipboard training of intensive scale, where ships of variety are beached and demolished. Students will get very good practical experience if only Govt. of India could acquire some ships at demolition price and put them under good managements to conduct realistic operational training, as part of their degree courses, say for a semester. The ships may be kept sheltered either afloat or beached for a period of time (depending on the state of the vessel) and could be replaced periodically with other vessels reaching Alang for Demolition. After all one must bear in mind that many ships face demolition due to weak trading market and not necessarily due to their poor material condition or un-seaworthy state. This kind of support of afloat training for students would greatly supplement the good existence of already established govt. and private maritime training Institutes. Besides, India’s capability as a human resource supplier in the shipping market would be much more respected in the years to come.
With the enviable position as a strong representative leader in the IMO (International Maritime Organisation), India should not give up this hard earned position for lack of such initiatives as to revitalise skilled seafaring force with uncompromising standards. With such long coast line in our country, also striving to enhance coastal and internal river transportation, India should not sacrifice its important position as a front-runner Maritime champion in the world.
(The author of this article is Mr. S. Govindrajan, a Marine Consultant, Chennai. The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of wisdomjobs.com)