Capt Shiv Halbe Chairman of India Maritime Association of Shipowners, Shipmanagers and Agents (MASSA) talks to Marine Professional magazine1) Are you actually experiencing a skills gap – if so, what are you doing to address this?
Yes, despite STCW 1995 and 2010 amendments, we are experiencing a skills gap. This is being addressed by in-house training ashore, enhanced use of simulators as well as hands-on training in workshops.
2) Isolation of crew at sea is a big concern – what efforts are you making onboard your ships to deal with this issue? Are mental health support structures in place?
Access to internet on board ships is more common and no longer the exception. India’s maritime industry sees clearly that technology and social media is a fundamental part of young people lives. Being able to communicate with friends and loved ones can help boost morale enormously. We have invested in a support helpline at MASSA where seafarers have access to a trained psychologist. In addition, every candidate, at the threshold of his career, is required to undergo a personality profile test as part of pre sea medicals as per guidelines of the Director General of Shipping.
3) What are your views on automated/unmanned ships – do you view this as a threat or opportunity to your business?
Though the concept of highly automated or unmanned ships is gradually turning into a reality, the day remains far off when the numbers will be significant. We do believe, however, that technology will play a significant role in efficient operation of ships, but we are conscious that more skills will be required ashore for monitoring such assets.