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Indian seafarers: The Future and Road Ahead

Indian Seafarers have acquired a prestigious position as a major workforce over many decades with both Officers and Ratings being part of it.

Ship Owners and Crew Managers have looked forward to recruiting them with confidence to man their ships.

If we are to maintain or rather increase our seafarer workforce, we will have to strive towards keeping pace with the latest technologies, training and Government regulations.

Maritime Training Institutes need to reorient their syllabus to keep up with the latest developments worldwide and impart training accordingly.

Indian Seafarers need to appreciate that India has acquired a significant lead in the world workforce. However, it is time we do not take this privileged status for granted and make determined efforts to enhance our professionalism. The ongoing pandemic has already hit the entire world. Commerce has taken a severe beating and even though merchant shipping continues to function as a global supplier of goods, crew changes have been severely impacted. If we are to retain our position as a major workforce supplier, Seafarers too need to understand the severe handicaps faced by owners and managers. It is natural for Seafarers on extended contracts to encounter physical and mental challenges, away from their families. However, a little more understanding would go a long way to ensure that our work slots are not taken away by other nationalities.

It remains to be seen how automation will change the pattern of service on board ships for the nautical and engine wings. Let us hope this is a smooth process and we keep pace with the upcoming changes in technology.

All countries strive to maintain their EXIM trade, but the fact remains that the world is still blissfully unaware of the contribution of shipping. It is somehow taken for granted and public awareness is severely lacking. Awareness needs to be created within Governments if we are to work efficiently and face tomorrow’s challenges.

Let us all hope for a swift end to this pandemic and get back on track and improve our status in the world Merchant Shipping market.
Source: Aajkaal News

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