In this article, Captain Amit Bhandari touches down, on the recent news of China’s alleged ‘unofficial’ ban on Indian seafarers. This article is aimed at educating seafarers in India and around the world, about the bigger picture. By the end of this article, you would find an answer to the question: “Should I be worried about what’s going on?” Read on.
So, you must have read hundreds of articles, regarding the alleged ‘unofficial’ ban on Indian seafarers at the Chinese ports right?
First of all, try asking yourself, Who exactly said this?
Have you, or anyone, heard this from Chinese representatives? Did China actually said this? No. It’s India’s media houses, which has ‘revealed’ this, right? So, take it all with a pinch of salt. I am not saying its not true, but it has not been declared. So let us get more rational with our approach, shall we?
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China has two major advantages:
- They have huge amount of trades happening with ships in their own ports. (China is the home to most of the busiest ports around the world).
- They have major ship building projects.
Owing to these, the Chinese government can flex their muscles, thereby pushing shipping companies to switch to Chinese crew.
Everything works upon three simple words, ‘Demand and Supply’. If China can supply enough competent, consistent, and cheaper crew, who can communicate well internationally, then so be it.
Don’t you then feel they deserve to take up the positions? After all, Indian seafarers too, replaced British and Europeans from international markets in the last three decades. In the recent years, Filipino seafarers have also became a threat to Indian sea jobs. This is how it works, ‘Demand and Supply’!
During the year 2000 to 2005, Chinese seafarers had started coming into the market, and companies started switching over to Chinese crew, onboard their vessels. Stipends for Indian crew was probably at around $1,000 while Chinese crew were available at $200! However, after such short term, haphazard decisions, there was a huge increase in accidents in the international waters, an on-board ships. A single major accident can take away entire years profits for a ship!
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I would term this, as a ‘Political Game’ between China and India. If you are not a politician, please do not be bothered about political issues like these. These kind of Politics is evident between the United Kingdom and India too, in terms of issuance of Certificate of Competency (CoC) and acceptance of one another’s courses. But, are you being bothered by the same? It’s just that the governments of these countries are doing their jobs, while you shall focus on yours!
If you love ships and your job as a seafarer, nobody can replace you, irrespective of your gender, nationality, caste, creed, and what not! If you are doing a great job and not creating unnecessary headaches to the companies, then you will always be employed, and be in a good position in your life.
The problem with some Indian seafarers, is that they indulge in bargaining, sitting outside the organization and asking for a certain amount of money, and if their conditions and demands are not met, they tend to forbid from joining the respective vessel!
To such seafarers, I would personally advise them, to at-least join with the terms acceptable to the organization and prove your value. Only then, will the company pay you, as it would be on the basis of the value you provide to them, not even the market.
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There is going to be a severe shortage of competent officers, over the next five years. So, do not worry. You will never be unemployed, if your job is a pleasure for you, you will, for sure, do it, always! Irrespective of you being a Chinese or a Non-Chinese seafarer.
Best of luck!
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