NEW DELHI: An acute shortage of skilled seafarers has hit the Indian shipping industry, forcing public and private ship owners to hand over the command of merchant vessels to less experienced captains and chief engineers.
Industry executives said that it usually takes 10 years of sailing experience for a marine cadet to qualify for the post of a captain but ship owners are increasingly handing over the wheel to candidates with seven or less years of sea time. This not only raises maintenance costs of vessels but also risks their safety.
\"There is an acute shortage in terms of both quality and quantity,\" said Arun Kumar Gupta, chairman at state-run Shipping Corporation of India. \"We are really struggling to meet our manpower requirements even though Shipping Corporation of India is considered a good training ground for seafarers.\" Report 25/OCT/2014