Day of the Seafarer celebration feature wish list and appreciations
Its kudos and wish list that take center stage during the Day of the Seafarer Celebration
Though high profile guests from the Union government could not make it for the program, it did not in any way dampen the spirit, enthusiasm or the excitement that prevailed amongst the over 2000 seafarers who had gathered for the function that was held in Mumbai.
Amongst the many speeches and presentations made on the occasion, one remarkable gesture of the seafaring community that stood out strikingly was their acknowledgment of Capt T. K. Joseph’s immense contribution to maritime training. Considered an icon of maritime education for having helped to raise the standard of maritime education in the country during his forty years of dedication to this field, he was presented a memento as a token of appreciation. Several cadets, marine officers and seamen too where felicitated for their outstanding performance and achievements in their field of operation.
The maritime administration too was complimented for having launched early this month the on-line examination system ‘ePariksha’ for the engineering side for those appearing for the certificate of competency examinations. Thus, this achievement makes the Directorate General of Shipping to be the first maritime administration in the world to introduced on-line examination. Candidates can now undertake their examination and have their answers assessed on–the–spot. A special website was launched on the occasion: “dayoftheseafarers”
In his Keynote address K. Rajvanshi, MD, Fleet Management Ltd, Hong Kong gave a narration about the dramatic rise of Indian seafaring. He spoke about the remarkable role Indian seafarers played in global shipping primarily because the Indian Standard of Certification was highest in the world.
On behalf of the seafarers, Capt. Sudhir Kumar, a sailing Master from the Shipping Corporation of India presented the dynamic role seafarers play. However, the sea-life was getting devastating and could discourage new comers into the field. “Piracy has raised its ugly head,” he said. “India is the only country in the world after which an ocean is named and this Indian Ocean is become a place of disrepute because of piracy. Working on ships as it is, is hard work and it takes an enormous toll on families and on individuals. When seafarers head to work for months at a time, trying to return home can sometimes be frustrating when they are denied shore leave at the last moment.” He wanted the administration to keep track of each seafarer’s salary to ensure that salary payments were made in time.
From the side of the seamen’s union Abdulgani Y Serang, General Secretary, NUSI listed out the various demands that were pending with the government for settlement including unfair seafarer’s tax, denial of shore leave, introduction of pension scheme, more training slots, etc. He asked the government to implement Maritime Labor Convention. He said, “With regards piracy there was lack of political will to put an end to it. In my remotest dreams I wish that oil and gas discoveries take place in Somalia. This will put an end to piracy.”
The Chief Guest of the function Capt P. V. K. Mohan, Chairman, National Shipping Board, said in reply to Abdulgani’s demand to the government. “As there is a shortage of training slots, the government has agreed to increase these not just for officers but for seamen as well. The cost for this will be borne by the government. The government has also agreed to appoint the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) to man the Indian ships while traversing the pirate infected areas.
He promised to continuing lobbying with the Finance Ministry, Government of India, to have the tax which is levied on Indian seafarers serving on Indian ships withdrawn since those Indians serving on foreign ships are exempted. Also he would get the pension scheme for seafarers passed.