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Friday, 12 November 2010

Indian seafarer jobhunting feedback for owners/operators/managers

Anybody got any more ideas or comments? Identities shall be protected . . .


Here's a collection of feedback from seafarers in context with their life at sea, as well as when they visit the shipping company offices ashore:-

# Ship owners and managers should send more inhouse information, especially as pertains to casaulty reports and also company's internal issues, so that those at sea can remain informed.

# Ship manager and owner offices must have better facilities for seafarers. Sitting in open plan offices discussing terms and conditions is not good. Seafarers must be called into small conference rooms for all pre-joining facilities where those who have business with them can come to them instead of seafarers standing in front of clerks like slaves.

# The first point of contact is usually a security guard, who is familiar with regular shore staff, but usually disrespectful to the seafarer who comes occasionally. This needs to be resolved. Seafarers should be accompanies into offices by specially designated people who will coordinate other issues too.

# General waiting areas for seafarers must be cleaner, as well as provide full facilities for refreshments, beverages and cleaning up. Toilets, especially, must be of high standard. If shipping companies want their offiers to behave like officers, then they need to treat their officers like officers, too.

# Ship owners and managers are sending seafarers to look after investments costing millions of dollars. But at the shipping offices, this simple fact is lost on especially the juniormost staff, who need to be educated and taught as well as trained to be aware that they are there to serve.

# Wages are often the subject of verbal agreements, which are then broken, so that needs to be sorted out. In addition, companies must inform prospective hires that this is the number, gross salary, without trying to fool people with offers of hazy bonuses, and "tax saving" schemes.

# Seafarers too should rely on guidance from their own tax consultants on the best way to save tax. With so many changes coming by way of NRI status and service tax, seafarers working on contract need to be very clear well in advance on possible tax implications.

# Most of all, in the forthcoming days of seafarer shortages, companies must bring in programmes to look after the families of seafarers at sea. It usually will not need anything more than outsourcing such work to specialist agencies, including hospitals.


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