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Maritime education aims to provide safety of seamen and cargo on sea.

It includes training in navigation, technicalities and engineering of the vessel. Traditionally, a transportation chain involves a multitude of activities taking place at different points and performed through the transfer of paper documents and manual processes. The application of Internet and IT has changed the entire scenario by integrating the different processes and bringing considerable efficiency across the chain.

The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) is the apex body guiding and regulating the standards of maritime education worldwide. In India, the Director General of Shipping (DG Shipping) adopts and implements the norms laid down by IMO. The navigational training at the institutes carry out deck side courses, while engineering and maintenance training take care of the engine side courses. Unlike any other industry, the seafaring community has to undergo these trainings and clear the examinations to move up in the hierarchy irrespective of experience. Presently, the minimum standard of education is monitored according to the Convention of Standards for Training, Certification and Watchkeeping as amended in 1995 (STCW'95).

Till the implementation of STCW'95 in 1997, the Indian maritime education sector was dominated by four Government-owned institutes while private players played a minor role. However, the scenario had changed radically due to the following reasons:

Due to dearth in the availability of quality officers, Indian officers were very much in demand. Many shipping lines came to India, resulting in the establishment of more number of Ship Management companies. This increased the global awareness and demand for Indian seafarers leading to the need for more training institutes.

The compliance of STCW'95 convention before publishing the white list of the countries with a minimum standard of education by IMO has created fear in the minds of IMO signatories. The regulatory authorities took the step of promoting more training institutes to clear the backlog of seafarers not having the minimum required training.

The maritime education sector in India presently consists of a large number of players including DG-approved as well as non DG-approved institutes. While Government-owned institutes are the major source for quality seafarers, many Indian shipowners also have their own training institutes for improving their human assets as well as providing training to others. Foreign shipping lines and their manning agents are also playing an active part in promoting maritime education in India. Maritime education centers also provide career opportunities to retired merchant navy persons whereby they share their offshore knowledge and experience with the learning community.

However, the demand in the industry was need based. With the fulfillment of the STCW'95 norms by most of the seafarers, the additional capacity created by the industry is underutilized resulting in the closing down of few institutes or diversification of their businesses.