The Director General of Shipping (DGS) will permit maritime training institutes to give onboard training to cadets on tugs, as it looks to widen the training slots and assist clear a backlog of aspiring seafarers.
India has some 164 maritime training institutes, some of which are managing pre-sea training courses for trainee officers/cadets and trainee ratings as well as post-sea training institutes which offer specialized programs for full-fledged officers in both nautical and engineering streams.
55 more institutes have been given in-principle approval since January this year after the government removed a ban on opening new pre-sea and post-sea institutes.
Over 5,000 cadets, who have passed out of maritime training institutes, are not employed, as they have not been able to complete the important on-board ship training, according to the shipping ministry.
The absence of employment opportunities has also been hit by a global downturn in the shipping industry since 2008.
“Without under-going ship-board training, a cadet cannot sit for any competency/proficiency exams and without a certificate of competency (CoC), he won’t get a job,” explained an official at the DGS, India’s maritime administration.
With the government looking to increase the number of training slots, the DGS cast its eyes wider to include vessels that were earlier removed from training purposes, but which could potentially generate more onboard training opportunities.
India has some 300-400 tugs but they lacked accommodation for crew/cadets to stay in the night.
“So, we thought why not use tugs for training reasons also. The problem is only on staying for the night. For this, we have come up with a plan to allow cadets to train from morning till evening. Then, they can go back to the shore and return the next day. We have now opened this up for trainee engineer officers and ratings,” the DGS official said.
Supposing a moderate figure of 300 tugs with each tug accommodating two trainees, this will translate into 1,200 extra training slots in a year, the official said adding that tugs with engine horsepower of 750-kilowatts and above will only be considered for such onboard training.
Candidates who are not placed for onboard training within one year of accomplishment of their on-shore education and training shall have priority over the next batch of students in the same course and their numbers shall be also included while calculating the minimum requirement of 85 percent.
Non-compliance will result in a reduction in the institutes’ intake capacity for the next batch or withdrawal of approval for the specific pre-sea course, the DGS warned.