Grooming of the Merchant Navy Cadets -4
Early in the career at sea, if a new MN Cadet can understand how to face and tackle the areas listed below, he/she can be called lucky because advance in the career can get much quicker and comfortable with less mental frustration in the young minds if they understand the aspects that are not normally explained to them otherwise …
- Hypocrisy – This can be encountered on occasions at sea, doing something but saying something else though this is mainly because of the demands the situations make. This arises when the written procedures do not hold-good in the actual situational circumstances. The highest authority of the ship - the Master (titled as Captain) is normally given an ‘overriding authority’ to handle this in extreme cases, but to a lesser degree it is normal to encounter it.
- Civilian Vs non-Civilian work culture: In the MN you are not under the statutory non-civilian discipline unless the ships fly the national flags. In some countries the MN training is quite similar to the military training. In most parts of the world now the nature is of civilian sector but not-so-civilian in nature!!
- Militaristic command & control – Though the degree of command is much less, you can find this style as well as occasional contrasting relaxed style of service on board – it is dictated by the nature of the operations the ship is engaged in and the work culture of the company – though a degree of strictness is naturally needed in the execution of the jobs. A MN ship with uniformed officers and crew and run in a safe & efficient manner is always welcome in most ports in the world, as against a recklessly & unsafely operated ship!
- Perfection – Pragmatism – at sea both are necessary as per the situations, one can not be hard and fast only in one nature! Without perfection you can not reach the desired port! Without pragmatism you cannot handle many situations during extreme weathers!
- Contractual terms of service Vs Competencies based performance – There is no choice but to be competent first before getting a job-contract, no competence means no job!
- Orders / instructions Vs guidance – there are occasions when orders are to be followed promptly – the difference can be life or death & damage! And there are times when guidance can be awarded but not always!
- Web Surfing Vs Operator of a system – the latter guides the system to a desired operation and not vice versa!
- Seamanship Vs Checklist – Seamanship accounts for the sea-sense, mere filling in the checklists do not guarantee good execution – a combination is the best!
- GPS-clerks Vs Navigators who use GPS - always verify the accuracy of the instruments and know how to operate them correctly – do not copy the displays without verification.
- Reading the manuals Vs Haphazard operations – no choice! you have to read the maker’s manuals to understand the systems!
- Safety as a finger pointer Vs Professional with safety as a second nature – the sea is the place for the professionals of course!
- Pro-action + Reaction + Pre-emption – you need them all!!
- Cause & effect and cost of the mistakes – better learn quickly!
- Where did all the reckless or at times unlucky seafarers go … they are not in the career anymore..!!
- Too many teachers on the ships – but they are teaching right or wrong … your responsibility!
- You can’t win the game if you don’t train for it …
- Time ashore is for catching up with examinations, courses and learning more skills and get ready for the next voyage!
- Security in the MN is more about smart planning and deterrence and not being a combatant like Rambo – except in extreme cases.
- In remote parts of the oceans you are the 911 caller & you are the fire brigade!
- You are always legally accountable for your actions off the job or on the job whether at deep sea in remote locations or in the harbour!
- Respect the traditions and etiquettes at sea and be a fine seafarer even in the days of modern technology.
- MN is no place for the gamblers, addicts, philanderers or vices or the negligent, you are not a tourist – you are an MN officer!
- There is no choice but to be a team mate – otherwise MN career is impossible to work in.
- Your health is in your hands – there are no second chances.
- Never forget the mantra: KYS (know you ship), KYJ (know your job), KYP (know your procedures).
- There is a difference in right & wrong but there is no difference by old or young, man or woman while at sea, there is no discrimination – there is no scope for mistakes in some operations and very thin margin for errors in the others.
- There is no time to feel bored at sea in today’s world, in fact you have to monitor hours of work & rest to control fatigue!
- MN Is not the place for the radicals, the dreamers, the explorers, for the politically oriented individuals, idealists or changing locker bullies (they do not survive in this career), the overgrown school boys – this is a career where one hops on a process that is set in motion the moment the ship is delivered till her scrapyard! You just operate her the way it is needed.
- Between the ‘older & experienced’ and ‘fit & the competent’ the latter is hired with preference.
- You can quit this career as you wish but better quit as a successful mariner and not as a failure.
To be continued ….