India must reform maritime training to raise its seafarers supply as part of sustainability goals

Mumbai: India’s Maritime Administration must initiate major regulatory reforms for maritime training and education sector to calibrate its sea-faring supply side mechanism as countries with smaller population has out-stripped India in the supply of seafarers and marine officers.

According to a white paper issued by Maritime Association of Nationwide Shipping Agencies (MANSA) states, “Unless issues relating to the sustainability of the quality of maritime education and training are sorted out, the goal of taking the Indian Maritime Education to the next level will be a distant dream. To retain the lead, India will have to take concerted efforts to establish rigorous training and education standards to keep path with international level.|

The white paper with the theme India’s approach towards United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals was issued as part of MANSA’s 40th annual general meeting. UN has set 17 sustainable development goals to get rid of poverty, hunger and safe from the worst effects of climate change.

By 2030, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development projects Gross Value Added from ocean economy to grow to more than $3 trillion with 40 million full time jobs, from around $1.5 trillion around a decade back and will significantly contribute to sustainability goals.

In the early 80s, about 65% of global ships were either manned, managed, operated by Indian and this has now dropped to around 7-8% over the past few decades. India now owns just 1% of the global shipping fleet but supplies around 8-9% of the total global seafarers (16,47,500) while Philippines with a smaller population of 100 million supplies 20%, the white paper said.

India is now the fifth largest supplier of marine officer after China, Philippines, Russia and Ukraine according to the Manpower Report 2015, published by the Baltic and International Maritime Council (BIMCO) and International Chamber of Shipping.

For the first time in 2017, Indian seafarers employed on Indian and foreign flag vessels crossed the 150,000 mark of which 37,259 seafarers got jobs in the last three years alone, according to Directorate General of Shipping. India has 134 maritime training institutes of which 81 are conducting pre-sea training courses for trainee officers, cadets and ratings while the balance 53 offer specialized programs in both nautical and engineering streams.

Addressing the 40th annual general meeting of MANSA, outgoing President, Captain Vivek Singh Anand said, “During my tenure of four years as President with the support of all committee members, I have been able to make MANSA more visible in the eyes of the policy makers and regulators as also with the international fraternity like Singapore Agents Association and FONASBA. We were also able to improve the financial health of the association. Overall, I succeeded to add a drop to the ocean of Good work done by the Past Presidents and I am sure the new President and the committee will take the legacy forward.”

Taking over the reins as the new President, Captain Amit Wason expressing his humbleness, said, “It is not an easy task for me to step into the shoes of Captain Anand. But with the support of experienced veterans including Hiren bhai and Vijay and the entire executive committee, I look forward to taking the unfinished agenda to its logical conclusion in the larger interest of our members and the entire stakeholders.”