2 Training ships to provide sea time for cadets
Converting two vessels into training ships is the latest proposal being considered by the government for making available additional training slots on board for cadets to acquire their required sea time experience
Shortage of on-board training slot has placed both maritime training academies and the administration in a state of predicament. Unable to provide the required sea time for the many cadets who graduate from the Nautical Sciences, Marine Engineering and other related courses conducted from nearly 138 maritime training institutes has been causing heart burn. The economic downturn which has caused several ships to be mothballed thus severely reducing the opportunities for sea time training opportunities has further aggravated the problem denying many a budding seafarer’s dream of a life at sea from reaching fruition.
Gautam Chatterjee, Director General of Shipping, Government of India informed that plans are underway to build two training ships which would provide sea time training for cadets. These are the recommendation of the Capt P. V. K. Mohan Committee he informed. According to the recommendations two vessels should be converted into training ships. These will be trading-cum-training ships and will carry cargo at the same time have about 90 cadets on board. The concept is that while the ships are for training they will also be trading.
“The period of time on these ships will be the sea time experience,” he informed. “Basically it will trade all over the world. You can look on it as a passenger cum cargo ship with 100 people on board. The ship will be under the Indian Maritime University because it is their cadets who will be serving on-board. The government of India will bear the capital coast of the conversion of the vessels which will be carried out at the Cochin Shipyard. It is expected to give dividends to IMU because the capital cost will be borne by the government. The running cost will be taken care of partially by the cargo that is carried. The revenue generated will be ploughed back into the kitty. You cannot use a ship that is trading according to our vessel branch. The total capital cost is expected to be around $ 66.7 million for converting a tanker and a panamax into the training ships. This was a concept that emanated in the last years’ conference in Chennai.”
But this project is likely to serve only a miniscule number of cadets graduating every year from training institutes. If the government aims to enhance the share of the Indian mariners in the global seafaring community from the present 7% to 9% by 2015 it would be necessary to acquire more ships for use as dedicated training vessels. Government of some countries facing similar problem have entered into an arrangement with foreign shipping companies for providing training slots on board their vessels. As it is Indian mariners mostly end up serving on foreign vessels and such arrangements would be more beneficial for foreign shipowners.