More Indian seafarers seem to have been employed on Indian and foreign ships in 2018 — a surprising 35 per cent growth— as compared to 2017, despite the weak job situation in the country.
While only 1,54,349 Indians were recruited in the Merchant Navy in 2017, the number increased to a heartening 2,08,799 in 2018, which included posts such as nautical officers, nautical ratings and engineers.
The growth may have resulted due to the revamping of the training modules in India a couple of years back. There had been a 15-year ban on setting up of new training institutes, which was lifted against some conditions. Steps were also taken to help Indian seafarers upgrade their skills and knowledge through revised and updated training modules, which were offered free of cost.
The number of seafarers working on Indian flag vessels went up from 22,103 in 2017 to 27,364 in 2018. The numbers employed on foreign ships also went up from 60,194 in 2017 to 72,327 in 2018.
With the Ministry of Shipping making it mandatory for institutes to organise on-board ship training for the benefit of the students, in addition to the classroom sessions, the quality of training has also gone up.
Also, while earlier a six-month training was mandatory for candidates to obtain the continuous discharge certificate (CDC), the rules were revamped in 2017. Now, the Shipping Ministry allows students, who are Indian citizens and have passed class X to be eligible for the CDC on completing a 14-day basic maritime course.