Thursday, 21 August 2014

Grooming of deck Cadets – 8

Since the time of the last sea-eagle post I witnessed something very shocking about the watch keeping by some of the newly promoted MN officers at sea – and that was scary indeed! They simply did not know what to do by standing a ‘watch’ either Navigational or Cargo Work related..! Unless there was something to punch in the keys boards of their PCs or the LCD screens they did not seem to see any point in keeping a ‘watch’, for utter four hours these young men would not keep a sea watch or a cargo watch as such – what they were doing was just the administrative work and some operations that were utmost necessary … but ‘watch keeping’ or interpreting – monitoring at all .. ….. this being a direct and bizarre outcome of the incompetent candidates being certified to stand watches on ships at sea as ‘competent’ …. Interestingly they all had undergone very lengthy college and examination times but were also the victims of slow employment – lengthy waiting periods and lack of motivation, lack of social prestige that the career once commanded etc. The irony is that their senior officers – the newly promoted seniors themselves did not see this gross negligence …. To explain an outcome of this to the non-mariners – it is a sure-shot progress towards accidents to the ships, ecological and environmental disasters and imprisonment for these young officers at some point when their ‘luck’ runs out ….. this may sound like a very hard language but this is exactly what it means….

When a person is trained through the CBTA and made competent – he/she understands in entirety – how that system or equipment or even a procedure works, how to start /initiate it , how to end it /stop it, how to trip it / suspend it , what are the performance indicators or the parameters, how to test it, what are the common short comings or breakdowns and how to address them, how to maintain it / revise – upgrade it and lastly but not the least how to answer queries about it …

When a person learns with a lot of practical experience in it – he never ends up with the situation that I witnessed among these few young officers: -  that of coming on the watch station and not being able to see anything to do and immerse oneself in some paperwork for all the 4 watch hours with overreliance on the electronics without understanding its limitations. I  found these officers so disinterested in watch keeping that they were not doing it at all unless there was an alarm to respond to or a breakdown to look into!!

Hopefully what I saw is only a minority and they would quickly – of their own – undertake the CBTA approach to the MN careers and discharge their duties as expected by the International Regulatory bodies and keep the seas safe – and their company’s business running!!

Safe sailings!

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