Centre evaluating standard of maritime institutions

India is lobbying to get rid of the ‘sensitive’ tag on its exclusive economic zone, considering the implications of the tag on the safety of Indian fishermen operating in Indian waters and on the high insurance premium paid by shippers plying these waters, said Director General of Shipping Deepak Shetty here on Tuesday.

He was speaking to reporters after the passing-out ceremony of the fifth batch of students of the B.Tech. Marine Engineering course of KM School of the Cochin University of Science and Technology.

He said that India had taken up the case with the International Maritime Organisation and continued to lobby with other countries and groups to get the Indian waters off the sensitive designation as there had been no incidents of piracy in the Indian waters so far.

The ‘sensitive’ designation is made by what is informally called the London War Group, comprising a group that fixes insurance premium for shipping business. It has nothing to do with the inter-governmental body like IMO though the help of the organisation is sought in shifting the ‘sensitive’ designation down to 65 degree east latitude from the current 70 degree, said Mr. Shetty, who was on his first visit to Kochi as the DG Shipping.

He said that CUSAT had applied for permission to raise the intake of students at the marine engineering training institute from the present 40 to 80 and the application was under the consideration of the DG Shipping. DG Shipping is in the middle of a process of evaluating the quality of maritime education in the country. He said there were 137 maritime training institutions in the country, all of which did not compare well with one another. He said the CUSAT institute provided an example of an efficiently-run training institution.

The review of the quality of maritime training is part of the efforts under the Maritime Agenda 2020 to increase India’s share in maritime personnel from the current 7.5 per cent to 9 per cent over the next five years.

Mr. Shetty said that DG Shipping had placed a cap on training in order to stabilise the availability of personnel in keeping with the job opportunities.

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