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Monday, 19 December 2011

Brilliant hard-hitting interview of DG Shipping Dr. SB Agnihotri in latest SAARC Journal of Transport

Full interview shall be posted soon. Interim, excerpts:-

"The Directorate has immense scope for corrupt individuals to thrive. The age-old practices, rigid rules and regulations provide enough fodder for manipulation. The MMD, a major department under the Directorate, is known for over regulation, micro control and unfair practices."

From the day I was a cadet on the TS RAJENDRA, I was exposed to blatant corruption in the system, and all was kept quiet under a sort of "omerta" (Mafia code of Silence) - whether it was the pre-joining classes held by "HorsePiss" the Chief Steward's sister which guaranteed admissions, the vouchers signed for recreation of cadets which were used for Plaan's parties, the lousy food we got, the terrible sanitation, how we were taught to fudge records for LSA, FFA and Medical as a part of our training, and all the rest that went with it.

When we got down for our "tickets", we knew where to go for "sets", how to find out which "set" was going to come, how to fiddle the writtens, how to set-up orals with certain examiners (I sailed with one of them after that, and he would regale us with tales of how much for what and by whom . . .)

Moving on to chartering, forwarding, and more, and then the whole thing of dealing with the offices of the DGS and MMD and more . . . what, after all, does a welfare officer do? How do you trust a National Association of Shipowners where most of their fleet is flagged out?

All this, and more, but wait for the full interview. Or subscribe to the magazine . . . .


  1. Received privately with request to shield identity:-

    Dear Veeresh Malik,

    With due regard to the MMD and DG Shipping, they have no clue how modern day ship board operations are and what are the stresses and the multi-tasking that needs to be done. They are all outdated and they better go out to sea for short stints and they will understand. The undersigned is a certified casualty investigator in Singapore handling major collision investigations. I see a lot of failings in operational aspects, certification aspects and the present day attitude of the ship managers.


  2. Another one rcvd anonymous with request to post . . . I really like the language of your letter to DG shipping, special credit for being precise without mincing words.

  3. Another one on anonymous basis:-

    I did my revalidation for master’s COC at xxx yyy zzz ,-- last 3 times .

    The first time I told manaement - that capt ABCD of SDFG must be put out to pasture — this ignoramus was so full of ego that he tried to treat us like kindergarten kids.

    One of the ship’s business lecturers was Capt QWERTY — old ex-scindia – maybe 75 years old. A good guy BUT totally out of touch with modern day REALITY.

    last 2 times I met management personally and told him not to make this course a FARCE — that Capt. QWERTY must go. I am sure he is still there.

    Training is being done on sentiments-- wish I could run my unforgiving and merciless chemical tanker on sentiments.

    This ego thing--

    When you have an international conference of brain surgeons – there is maturity and mutual respect.

    When we have maritime seminars, just see the way the speakers act as if they are gold medallists, who scored 100% marks—while the seafarers are the moronic bunch who scored zero percent—and hence banished to sea as divine punishment.