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Thursday, 11 November 2010

How many people should we have on board ships??

I believe the Port State authorities in Spain and the US, and now to some extent Greece also, have recently as Port States started taking some interesting initiatives in placing their National interests first as far as safe manning onboard ships of other flags visiting their waters and ports/countries is concerned. I do not have the exact details, but have heard about how the number of watch-keepers, for example, has to be "better" if that from the flag state is at variance to what the port state expects.
There is no reason to not motivate the Indian Government to do so for all vessels calling Indian ports, also - we are not exactly minnows in the world of ocean trade either. Likewise, with some foresight, the same can be applied to ships entering Indian waters in their voyages worldwide - especially now that ships from the PG to the Far East as well as others tend to hug the Indian coast because of the Red Sea/Somalia piracy issues.
Just a thought - but worth pursuing. Or we keep our peace - Black Rose at Paradeep and similar not-withstanding. Volvo buses plying between Mumbai and Bangalore now have 4 drivers (2 for city at each end and 2 for the long haul) like do Suez Pilots - but at sea, we keep worrying about Indian seafarers becoming non-competitive?
As far as reduced manning is concerned - it is my submission that for the typical ship-owner/operator, human beings on board are certificates of competency that eat food, so the fewer the better. In the risk analysis of seaworthy in terms of documentation versus seaworthy in terms of actual facts, the cost of those lives is factored in - so the fewer the better. Barring the Derbyshire and maybe a few other cases, has anybody here heard of family or flag state pressing for investigations, lately?

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