In the series of post Am writing on the seafaring career and various opportunities as mentioned earlier, the career for an outsider seems to very glamorous with seafarers spending lot of money, have big cars and houses and seem to be comparative well of in the society, the starting in the careers may not be that rosy for few. Joining of merchant navy and choosing it as a career is a very important rather the most important decision as the candidate’s entire future life would depend on it.
There have been seafarers who have come by mistake to Merchant navy and had to continue even though they don’t like it for the money and 2nd they have spent lot of time and lost the opportunity of getting out.
Some on the other hand, did know something about merchant navy, however were not sure which stream in Merchant navy, they would pursue. For E.g. whether they would continue in the deck or the engine side. For officers, this decision is simpler and more straight forward as the pre sea courses are different and they do a better research before deciding. However, in case of ratings there are only 2 courses but there are 3 streams which is the Deck, Engine and Galley. Self-have met and interacted with candidates who even did not know what pre sea they have enrolled for until unless the classes actual start and they understand they have joined the Galley stream where they would become a cook rather the GP Rating course which will lead them to become Abs, Bosuns, pump man or even they could progress in their careers to become an officers. And once they have joined the course the institutes do not return their fees if they discontinue and most of candidates do not have the money for paying a second fees for the correct pre sea course they intended to do.
There are few reasons for this kind of decisions or rather miss directions and let’s see some of those reasons below:
1) Ignorance in trying to understand the streams available and career path in case of the each of the streams.
2) Miss guidance by friend, relatives who themselves are not in Merchant navy but guide the kids for the same.
3) Agents –They are the middle man of the training industry in India where they are unauthorized representatives of the institutes, whose main purpose seems to be the propagation of filling up the seats of the colleges/institutes they get attached to. These agents operate mostly in 2nd and 3rd tier cities but are also in Metros but to a smaller extent. Their modus operandi is to use Canvasing for merchant navy, a cover for targeting gullible candidates to join the pre sea courses and part of the fees is taken by the agent for filling up the seats in the institutes. Most of these agent do not give the candidates a clear picture on the career progression and what pre sea they are getting them enrolled for.
4) There are also some parents who coerce the kids to join Merchant navy, and these kids do not have the inclination itself to understand the stream as they are not interested to join the Merchant navy. There are few kids self-know who either left even during the pre-sea course and some from the 1st ship when they understand that they are not made for this profession.
In view of the above, at least in India there a huge requirement of taking the knowledge, which is correct and positive about the career to the masses. DG Shipping, the premier institutes of the country need to promulgate and disseminate correct and useful information to all schools and colleges for getting the correct type of candidates for Merchant navy. Presently as the unauthorized agents are doing the propaganda for merchant navy there are more than few candidates who join merchant but are not made for it.
All the present and past seafarers also have the responsibility in guiding our juniors, trainees and the “to be “seafarers in a right and positive way so that we get correct officers and rating with correct attitude and aptitude for job at sea.
Premier maritime training institutes have their marketing team travel all over India for propaganda on Merchant navy just before the term starts and the main purpose mostly seems to get the batches full to capacity. They should also take up information dissemination sessions for smaller classes who may not be their immediate students but can later become interested in Merchant navy and join .Also more important reason is that correct information on the career called merchant nave reaches them before the incorrect information from the agents.
India is one of the biggest manpower supplier in the world for merchant navy and if we do not plant the seeds in young minds for a bright and fulfilling career awaiting them, we might lose the race very quickly as other Manpower supplying countries are doing their best to increase the numbers.25% of GDP of Philippines comes from seafaring. With the population in India-can we at least achieve a small portion of the GDP? What is stopping us?
Write in your points on increasing the number of Indian seafarers around the world and any other thoughts related to topic.
Thanks for reading! See you in the next!