New maritime degree courses and rethink soon of ban on institutes
To increase the share of Indian seafarers in the global fleet, the Shipping Ministry is planning to introduce long-term pre-sea maritime degree courses and rethinking of lifting the ban on approving new maritime training institutes.
Talking to The Hindu, DG Shipping, Gautam Chatterjee, said: “Currently, Indian seafarers account only for 6.7 per cent in the world maritime domain and our aim is to produce 9 per cent of seafarers by 2015. At the going rate, we might fall short. Hence, we are thinking of lifting the ban on longer courses.”
Approval for courses
On Saturday, Shipping Minister G.K. Vasan said his Ministry was in the process of approving three-year B.Sc Nautical Science and four-year B.E. Marine Engineering course.
“We are also having a rethinking of lifting the ban on approving new maritime training institutes to increase the intake of students to address the shortage of training berths for students. The ban was imposed some two years ago,” Mr. Chatterjee said.
There are 138 maritime training institutes in the country that offers both pre-sea and post-sea training courses and streams. However, there are complaints about wide discrepancy in quality of training imparted by these institutions and its failure to provide placement to the seafarers as promised.
When it was brought to the notice of the DGS, Mr. Chatterjee said the directorate had developed a new comprehensive institution programme to benchmark these institutions on the lines of internationally accepted best practices to measure its outputs. The grading and monitoring would be done by established agencies having domain expertise in the maritime field. It will look into aspects such as quality of teaching process, performance and placement of graduating students, infrastructure facilities and quality of faculty and training facilities, among others.
“These training institutes would be monitored continuously to find out whether the sailors are placed properly. Besides, the students will get a fair chance to know about the quality of course offered compared to other institutes,” he said.
Mr. Chatterjee also said efforts were also on to monitor shipping firms so that the seafarers are provided salaries and basic amenities. Alumni associations had to be created to keep track of the seafarers.