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Sustainable shipping key to India’s future, says CSL chief

With autonomous ships on the anvil, they are going to be driven and even repaired remotely, the CMD of Cochin Shipyard Limited (CSL), Madhu S. Nair, has said.

Ships were now controlled digitally. India had produced some of the finest marine engineers, who had created an excellent image for the country worldwide. Still, much had to be done to make optimal use of India’s vast coastline and inland waterways.

Care had to be taken to ensure that whatever was done was environmentally sustainable, lest nature hit back in different forms, Mr. Nair said, while inaugurating the 33rd national convention of marine engineers and a conference on “A safe and environment friendly maritime sector: Vision for the future”, organised here on Friday by The Institution of Engineers (India).

He said coastal shipping and inland water transport held tremendous potential to ferry bulk cargo.

For this, the marine eco-system had to be cultivated better, he said.

In his keynote address, Antony Prince, president of a marine consultancy firm in Bahamas, said that India’s maritime sector had numerous advantages, including strategic location along some of the world’s busiest sea routes and a vast pool of young engineers.

The Centre had identified shipping and ship building as among the engines of growth of the economy. The Sagaramala project and modernisation of ports were important developments.

But the disconnect between academia and industry was widening, resulting in the production of thousands of unemployable engineering graduates and technicians.

Moreover, a curriculum had to be in place to prepare students for a successful career. While our engineers were good at innovation, they must learn to communicate effectively. Mentoring and training must be considered an investment and not an expense, he said.

Govt. support
Government support and intervention were needed for shipbuilding and shipping to grow. Marine engineers must actively involve in setting up skill development programmes.

China could be emulated in many respects. It made a policy that any inland or coastal vessel older than 30 years must be replaced. This resulted in the establishment of sand beach shipyards, which opened up job opportunities in the sector, Mr Prince said.

The focus must be on using the most energy-efficient but least polluting fuel, including renewable, green or low-carbon energy, he said.
Source: The Hindu

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