Often it has been observed that seaman lack knowledge about the tasks to be performed by them hence they fail to perform their job efficiently. We often hear in meetings and read articles that the Seaman of a particular nationality possesses a lot of attitude. Out at sea, we do not have any outside assistance to perform our work. We need to do these tasks ourselves. Some of us can be good electricians, good machinists, good metal fabricators, good in carpentry etc; and then we will be able to do most of the ship’s work. On one ship, a man came from Germany to fit grabs on our deck cranes. I tried to provide him assistance at many stages but he politely declined, except at times when some equipment was to be fetched or hoisted in place. He performed the remaining jobs himself and quite happily. I was amazed at his competence to do welding, fixing and connecting electrical wiring etc. This only shows that we must impart training to our boys and girls in various skills instead of making them mug up all sort of theories. The IMO must pay attention towards this task.
We should teach our cadets “Yoga” for promoting good health and for calming the mind in Marine colleges. Simple yogic exercises involving stretching, bending and some correct breathing for 10-15 minutes do a lot of good for the mind and the body. The trouble with the IMO is that they don’t listen to experienced seafarers and follows the instructions of governmental functionaries. We are not criticizing such government officials but it can be easily visualized that many a times they are rather far removed from on the spot realities, both, with regard to personnel and the work.
A lot of good has been done by The Missions for Seafarers like Stella Maris and Flying Angel and yet we do not allow priests to visit seaman on board when the ship is in port. I believe we should make one more attempt this time when the soft snow falls over the Christmas trees hoping that they will grant us the favour. Failing which, don’t you think that they can then be found to be displaying “ an attitude”. May God bless us all.
(The views expressed by the author in the article are his/her own.)