Monday, 18 August, 2008

MERI’s new batch welcomed to seafaring

The third batch of Polyvalent cadets of the Marine Engineering & Research Institute, Mumbai, was given a rousing welcome to their ‘life‘ of a rewarding seafaring career on August 11, 2008 at the LBS auditorium having successfully qualified for the B.Sc (Maritime Science) degree course. These candidates who will serve as dual officers on board ship have acquired knowledge of two fields with the ability of a deck officer for optimum utilization of resources and a marine engineer’s capability.

Numbering 35, the batch is made up of candidates who were sponsored by Shipping Corporation of Indian, HMS and Essar Ship Management for on-board training. Their on-shore training commenced in August 2005 and candidates were made to undergo extensive theoretical and practical sessions. With the knowledge thus gained they will be eligible to serve in both as navigators as well as engineers.

Hailed as a ‘great’ day for India by Mr. J.K. Dhar, Principal of LBS CAMSAR both on account of Abhinav Bindra having won the first-ever individual gold medal at the Olympics for India and also because the country is seeing the launch of another 35 ‘missiles’ by MERI, he advised the successful cadets to make the best of the 18 months’ sea board training which they would be undergoing. “Keep your feet on the ground,” he recommended. “You have been branded with the renowned characteristics of MERI and just as you cannot take away the sunshine from the sun nor can you take away its reputation from MERI.”

A similar opinion was expressed by Dr. T. Sahay, Director of I.I.M.S., who stated, “When you meet with other officers who have passed out from MERI, you will learn how they maintained our standard and raised the banner of the alma mater.”

The Guest of Honour, Capt Navin Passey, Managing Director of Wilco Ship Management recounted his days in the same institution. His speech therefore was marked with nostalgia and happy memories. He pointed out to the candidates, “You are not just ambassadors for this institution but also for our country. Go out and make not only your institution proud of you but also your country, and also make your parents and teachers proud.”

Capt M.M. Saggi, Nautical Advisor cum Additional Director General (Technical), Directorate General of Shipping, Ministry of Shipping, Road Transport & Highways, Government of India who was the chief guest at the function congratulated the 35 who had done well for themselves. “It is a big moment in your lives,” he said. “Many times at sea we have had to make critical decisions which affected the lives of the seafarers and the ship. You too will have to make such decisions.”

When working with other nationalities, he cautioned the budding seafarers to be more understanding and to learn about various world cultures. There was plenty of diversity in their customs and habits which they would have to get accustomed to as they got along in their seafaring careers. Here he made a mention of different forms of etiquette that marked dealings the world over. For instance, when one had cocktails with the British it was wrong to leave any drink in the glass as it implied that one had not enjoyed the drink. Whereas, with the Japanese it was different, and one should leave behind a few sips as a mark of good etiquette.

“About the candidates passing with distinction, they need kudos but you must remember your teachers and instructors who have toiled with you and worked through thick and thin to give you their best,” he said. “So a lot of credit goes to your teachers who have made you proud. Like Pandit Nehru who famously said, ‘wherever I go I take a little bit of India with me,’ and so will you also be going out and taking a little bit of India with you.”

Among the outstanding prize winners were: Cadet Sudhir Kumar Ganesh Jadhav for the Best All Round Cadet; Cadet Anshuman Rai for securing the Academic First Prize and Cadet Rachit Bijalwan for the Deputy Director’s Prize. The function came to an end on a delightful note with a variety entertainment programme which was hosted by the cadets.

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