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Leading shipping associations undertake a ‘benchmarking exercise’ to bolster the growth of Indian maritime sector


In order to enhance the employment prospects as well as global share of Indian seafarers in the years to come; India’s leading maritime associations, MASSA (Maritime Association of Shipowners Shipmanagers and Agents) and FOSMA (The Foreign Shipowners Representatives and Ship Managers Association) jointly undertook a ‘benchmarking exercise’ recently to rate the quality of Indian maritime training institutes.

Conducted for the first time in the history of maritime India, by a non-governmental organization, such a massive exercise to ‘rate’ Indian maritime institutes is expected to assist Indian students to identify prestigious Indian maritime institutes, and also help Indian/foreign shipowners and marine crewing agencies world-wide to recognize credible Indian maritime institutes for sourcing well-trained maritime workforce needed to operate around 50,000 specialized cargo ships across the globe.

This rating exercise was done by a Mumbai based reputed research agency, ‘IIRE’ on behalf of MASSA and FOSMA. Both FOSMA & MASSA jointly funded the ‘benchmarking exercise’ as no fee was charged to the maritime institutes, which participated voluntarily in this 9-month long pan-India survey-exercise. It witnessed an active participation of 27 leading shipmanagement companies with over 70,000 Indian seafarers on their roster and 22 Indian maritime institutes. The rating report prepared by ‘IIRE’ will be uploaded on the websites of MASSA and FOSMA.

Commenting on the IIRE’s report, MASSA Chairman Capt Prashant Rangnekar said, “MASSA has always believed that seafarers must get the best facilities for their career enhancement, and value based training is an important aspect of career development. With like-minded attitude at FOSMA, it was decided that together we should map the various training institutes across India on a voluntary inclusion basis, and at no cost to the institutes, to identify those institutes which align with our thought process. I am glad that this was made possible by IIRE, and seafarers now have a ‘Preferred’ list of such institutes which give best return on their time and money, and gain immensely from this arduous exercise”.

Of the 1,647,500 seafarers working on international merchant ships, the Philippines is the biggest supplier of ratings (low skilled/semi-skilled maritime work force) followed by China, Indonesia, Russia and the Ukraine, but China leads in the number of supervisory positions followed by the Philippines, India, Indonesia and Russia. India with 12 per cent of the world’s population has just 8 per cent of the seafarers’ market currently, whilst the Philippines with just 2 per cent of the world’s population has grabbed about 20 per cent global share.

India ended the year 2017 with 154,349 seafarers engaged on merchant ships, compared to 143,940 in 2016, 126,945 in 2015 and 117,090 in 2014. Of the 154,349 seafarers, 71,177 are officers while 83,172 are ratings, accounting for 97,937 jobs on the nautical side and 56,412 on the engineering side.

As predicted in a research report prepared by the prestigious global maritime association, BIMCO (Baltic and International Maritime Council), an additional 147,500 officers would be required by the year 2025 to service the ongoing expansion of the world merchant navy fleet.

India has about 134 maritime training institutes, of which 81 are conducting pre-sea training courses for trainee officers/cadets and trainee ratings, and 53 offer post-sea training which are specialized professional programmes for full-fledged officers in both nautical and engineering streams.

Both, MASSA and FOSMA intend to conduct such ‘benchmarking exercises’ at regular intervals to constantly monitor the maritime training infrastructure in India and thus continue to stimulate the growth of the country’s maritime sector.