Seafaring is a good and clean profession. Work hard on the board and then enjoy afterwards. Seafaring means working on board ships and I think more and more people either male or female should join this profession. No politics, good hygienic food, comfortable living conditions and good wages. There is a good system in place where you can send almost 80 per cent of your wages to your bank through allotment. There are good social security schemes as well, implemented well by all the companies.
Indian seafarers should work longer at sea while they are young to learn how to work. However, the health of an average Indian seafarer is not very sound and the training to them in most of our marine colleges is not up to the mark, which is a concerned for marine world.
In our Marine colleges, we still do not give more importance to skill training. The cadets of some well to do (financially) colleges should be sent for skill enhancement training being conducted by other organizations such as IDEMI at Sion East and Don Bosco at Kurla. Let us hope for betterment on these points in future.
Now, there is lots of automation on ships therefore, the colleges should get relevant training to their students accordingly. Not only to the students, but the faculty should also be upgraded their knowledge in this regards. It is a myth that the student who goes to a marine college comes out with a relevant and good training. It is farce. Most of the faculty and the principals do not upgraded their knowledge and teach philosophy and psychology, there are lots of changes happened in last one decade. No one is bothering about this aspect.
On board training involves equipment manufacturing and repairing. Such trainers can sail with the ship from port A to port B and carry out training and Audit. Then, at some selected ports, where experts may be readily available, the trainer comes on board and learns directly on the equipment to a few officers who may be off duty and then these officers can in turn train others. Companies should pay for such training (instead for bogus training ashore) and keep track on training. For example, a second officer and Master receives training in one port, he will be ready to train other officers on other port. Office should ensure this.
On health issue, I have some suggestions to the government and marine colleges. Recently, we have celebrated International Yoga Day but we should realize that Ayurveda and Unani medicines are best for fellow travelers. I have pleaded with Nitin Gadkari to facilitate opening of outlets in major Indian ports for sale of tonics like Triphala in tablet form, “Chavanprash”, “Habbe Asab” etc which boost immunity and make people healthy. Arrangement should be made in place that if any seaman wants to consult a “vaid” or a “hakim”, they can be called on board on short notice. On ships, we are prone to popping in the antibiotics for the slightest ailment and this is harmful to health. Why should we leave Homeopathy?
Here, the intention is not to criticize any one or belittle any existing system, the aim is to improve and make the training as realistic as it can be.
Best wishes on the Day of Seafarers on 25 June.