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`Maritime education key to shipping industry's growth'

By Our Staff Reporter


The Union Minister of State for Shipping, S. Thirunavukkarasar, inspecting a guard of honour at the National Institute of Port Management in Chennai on Sunday. — Photo: K. Gajendran

CHENNAI NOV. 3. Sea trade is going to increase manifold in the WTO regime and institutions engaged in imparting maritime education have a greater role to play in the development of the shipping industry, the Union Minister of State for Shipping, S. Thirunavukkarasar, said here today.

Participating in two different functions, organised by maritime studies institutes located on East Coast Road, the Minister said the growth of the industry largely depended on provision "of best services to the customer," besides other crucial factors such as technology and capital.

This could be achieved only with the "right attitude of the personnel," which could be developed by "scientific training and by creating awareness of the roles and responsibilities," he said, participating in the investiture ceremony of the 45th and 46th batch of pre-sea cadets of the National Institute of Port Management (NIPM).

Underscoring the need for institutions like the NIPM, set up from taxpayers money, to "justify their existence, the value of their contribution and the benefits to the society," he said that apart from 1,031 cadets who passed out with full-fledged pre-sea training, 15,000 port officials and 3,000 marine personnel had been provided training in the last 10 years by the NIPM.

The country supplied about 20 per cent of the manpower to world shipping and the "maritime sector and safe movement of goods by sea is fundamental to the new era of globalisation and the new world order.''

Detailing the initiatives of his ministry, he said greater emphasis was being laid on modernisation and corporatisation of ports and the projected cargo traffic for 2007 was 613 million tonnes and for 2020, 1273 million tonnes.

Presiding over the function, the Chennai Port Trust chairman, P. Baskaradoss, said the NIPM ranked high among maritime training institutions and the courses offered by it had vast scope for those pursuing it for a career.

The NIPM director, T.S. Ashok Kumar, said seafarers' courses were becoming popular, while the senior programme officer, G.A. Mande, presented a report on the activities of the institute.

Later, inaugurating the new premises of the Academy of Maritime Education and Training (AMET), Mr. Thirunavukkarasar said the institutions in the private sector ably aided the government in implementing the STCW 1996 standard laid down by the International Maritime Organisation. It held the maritime administration accountable for "strictly enforcing globally recognised training standards for seafarers." Apart from four government training institutes, there were 84 private maritime training institutes, and the goal was to increase the number of Indian seafarers from about 60,000 to three lakhs, he said.

The AMET chairman, J. Ramachandran, said the institution provided placement to all cadets and had many collaborations with educational institutions and shipping firms. The managing director of A.P. Moller, Ib. Fruergaard, said 450 cadets employed by the firm, one of the largest shipping companies, had been trained by the AMET.

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