IMO moves to boost skills

PUBLISHED : Monday, 05 February, 1996, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 05 February, 1996, 12:00am

THE shipping world will see major improvements after the International Maritime Organisation amendments to the Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping (STCW) are fully implemented, Wallem Shipmanagement managing director Aswin Atre says.

He said many countries had ratified the IMO convention, but not many had implemented it.

'We are seeing a gradual implementation, but nevertheless it is a step in the right direction,' he said. He was optimistic that the problems would be resolved eventually.

The amendments to the STCW are to ensure that governments that are parties to the convention implement STCW requirements, and that certificates are issued to seamen only when they meet minimum standards.

Mr Atre said this would mean seafarers not only had paper qualifications but they would actually have to have a full understanding of their job.

Wallem, which has had its own seafarer's training centre in Bombay since July 1994, was continually upgrading the skills of its staff, Mr Atre said.

All officers joining the company, or those being promoted, were required to attend the training centre for orientation and briefing.

Wallem has 96 vessels under management, including nine Hong Kong-registered vessels.

The Wallem ship-management training centre's objective is to achieve an all-round improvement in the quality of seagoing staff.

Mr Atre said: 'Today's international shipping industry has moved to a highly regulated and environmentally sensitive culture over the past five to six years.

'The new International Ship Managers Code and STCW Convention are late arrivals in what is becoming an increasingly formalised business.

'We now need not only high degrees of competence and commitment across the board in our sea-staff, which has always been the case, but the formal training certification and results to prove it.' The Bombay training centre, headed by Captain K. Guha, has simulation facilities for conducting realistic bridge management courses and a dedicated computer section for training and evaluation.

The teachers include two permanent faculty members, visiting senior masters and chief engineers when on vacation, members of various maritime institutions and other specialists from the marine industry.

Eight different courses are offered on an annual basis by the centre. Wallem hopes that more than 600 seafarers will be able to take advantage of the facilities this year.