New Delhi, Oct 16 (UNI) Shipping, Road Transport and Highways Minister T.R. Baalu, currently on a visit to Mauritius, today said the proposed Indian Maritime University (IMU) was in the advanced stage of being set up and would impart high value management and professional courses in various maritime fields such as shipping and port management, marine engineering and logistic management.
The other areas of specialisation would include naval architecture, nautical knowledge, chartering and ship breaking and maritime law, Mr Baalu said.
He was inaugurating the state of the art Mauritius Maritime Training Academy at Pointe aux Sables.
Mr Baalu, who had earlier called on Mauritian President Sir Anerood Jugnauth and discussed issues relating to the shipping and port sectors, said the Training Academy would act as a bridge to further augment the bilateral cooperation between the two countries.
''In due course, apart from having experienced trainers, this Academy would have to conduct training for even deck and engineering officers and would also have to install a large number of training equipment such as lifeboats, life rafts and various types of simulators,'' he said.
To equip the Academy with all these necessary facilities, there would be need for tangible cooperation between India and Mauritius, Mr Baalu added.
Praising the 'visionary and progressive leadership' of Mauritius, he said it could be clearly seen that policy makers in the Indian Ocean country were aiming to create a world-class infrastructure for maritime training.
The Mauritius Maritime Academy will be undertaking various courses such as training for efficient deck hand, seafarers forming part of a navigation or engine room watch, safety training for personal direct services to passengers and proficiency in crisis management.
Narrating the Indian experience in maritime training, Mr Baalu said it was privatised in 1998. It resulted in India now having 130 Maritime Training Institutes as compared to only four Government-controlled institutions in 1998.
''The privatisation of training had a multiplier effect as it has resulted in enhanced access to the maritime education and employment to remote parts of the country, the number of employment opportunities as seafarers increased substantially and a large pool of trained manpower has been created for taking over as teachers, surveyors and other professionals associated with the maritime industry.'' The minister said that due to high quality of training and stringent controls, the Indian seafarers, especially those in the officers' category, were in great demand the world over.
''Consequently, only about one-third of these seafarers work on the Indian ships and the remaining two-thirds get employment on the foreign flag vessels,'' he said, adding that his ministry was in the process of rationalising employment conditions and wage structure to attract and retain talent in this sector.
Mr Baalu also offered the expertise of the public sector Shipping Corporation of India (SCI) to the Mauritius Shipping Corporation to overcome the anticipated difficulties in the process of acquiring a product tanker of about 50,000 DWT as this would be their first liquid cargo acquisition.
During his two-day visit, the minister also met senior Mauritian leaders, including Prime Minister Navinchandra Ramgoolam and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Infrastructure, Land Transport and Shipping, Dr. Ahmed Rashid Beebeejaun.