Good & The Bad Of My Sea Life.

Being a sailor since  4 years I have sailed a lot, some short and easy some long and difficult, But every sailing ended with something new. People often ask me about the advantages and disadvantages of sea life, actually most of them are intrigued about the sea and ship, well not their fault, also, guys who want to join Merchant Navy want to find out how is it there on a ship on the sea, so here it is, I am trying to Penn down some up’s and downs of my sea life, it’s not sure that my list will be the same as other mariners. So sailors please don’t take it personally….…or take it anyway!!

Advantages

  1. Paid Training

Yes, After finishing your pre-sea training which is conducted in a marine school, we join a ship for onboard training as a Cadet and get paid. The Amount varies from company to company from $300-$600.Lets say when your friends will be completing their bachelor degree you will be “earning for learning” and that too in dollars

  1. Tax Free & High Income

According to Indian government if you are not present in India for 182 days, you are not eligible to pay tax. So, if your contract is more than 182 days in a year, NO TAX!!

And getting paid in dollars , working on water , actually is profitable and that too in early stages.

  1. Long Vacations.

As long as it’s considered, when you are at home, you are free to do whatever you want to. Time off varies from weeks to months and from company to company.

  1. Travel Experience (Meals & Lodging)

There is no charge for the food you eat, laundry, room you sleep in, flights u board (mostly), your company takes care of that from the day you join even as a fresher. It actually let you save more.

  1. Uniform & Respect

I don’t know about other sailors, but it makes me kinda proud u know!!

  1. Pure Environment

Not that level of pollution, after a certain time period you find yourself working in proper air conditioning, food you eat is handled by professionals.

  1. No Politics.

I am not saying this happens every time, sailors generally live like a family, but if some damned soul join you, can’t help it!!

  1. Impermanent Bosses & Colleagues

The thing is if your boss is really an a** hole, either you quit or apply for a transfer , but here you just have to bare your captain or chief or whosoever may the Officer is , for a contract, chances are you won’t see him again.

  1. Self Improvement & Time to Think.

Sailings, when you are not on duty, when as a fresher sleeping is the favorite thing, but as you grow you do things which you couldn’t do because of the lack of time , reading literature or anything else, sketching. Numismatics, there is no boundary. You think about things and yourself, it’s just you and your mind.

  1. Multi Lingual People & Cuisine

Travelling around let you to meet people from different countries, there is no Indo-Pakistan border there, if you are a foodie like me, its haven!!

  1. Limited Working Perimeter

You don’t have to get up early, freshen up , be ready , take a bus or drive through kilometers ,parking, then work or wander the market ,again travel to home, Here it’s like, get up, freshen up , change. Limited perimeter for working.

  1. Offshore Work Opportunities

Number of possibilities, being a surveyor, a pilot or just teaching in a maritime school.
 

 

Disadvantages

  1. Long Time Away From Home.

No matter how I put this but I won’t be able to convert it , with increasing connectivity and allowance of family on ships by various companies , but still most of the time its away time. Being a sailor or accepting the fact can make you a little bit stronger than your family but the better half of yours, kids……!!

  1. 7 Day Work

There is nothing like weekends , you have to be on duty every day, and if there is any emergency be ready to stay on 24 hrs duty.

  1. Stress + Home Sickness

No matter how hard you try but it takes onto you,  mostly when your contrct is about to finish.

  1. No immediate help in any Emergency.

Imagine this you’re in pacific, no land nearby, and if any serious injury happens, we do study about medical attention , frankly first aid advanced level, but if victim require urgent hospitalization its not possible. Many deaths happen, making it one of the most dangerous profession.

  1. Studies Never Ends.

Yeah !! Don’t think that youre an hard a*s and can go through , then comes studies , its like sea experience den exams , den again experience and den exams, this goes on and on.

  1. Relationships & Social Life

There is no stability, sometime you can call somethime you cant, there are world sim for calling and surfing net , but it doesn’t gives that level of connectivity which you can get on a land job so comparison here is worthless.

  1. Piracy

Though is happens rarely and in some specif parts of the worls, but it does exist, companies are forced to keep private security, a new course added as ship security, and number of changes for Anti Piracy, but it does scare you,

  1. Vegetarian

Nearly impossible to survive, I WAS a vegetarian.

There may be number of other points taken as advantages and those as disadvantages, but with my limited experience, I reach here,

I believe not everyone can be a sailor, it really takes a different kind of a man or a woman to go and become a sailor. Today if I am right if 100 fresher finish their training and join their first ship, only 30 reaches to OOW or next level examination, whatever be the reason for them to leave but it happens.

95% of cargo is transferred by ships alone, from petroleum to chemicals to luxury goods, it’s possible that the laptop or desktop you are reading this blog was transferred by one of a ship. If ships stop for a day you can’t imagine what can happen. That makes me, us important. I AM A PROUD MARINER.

Until next time, ciao!!

Education – A New Perspective

rajeevshanker:

Worth a watch !!

Originally posted on Happy Realizations:

I recently watched an extremely beautiful and thought provoking documentary, ‘Schooling the World’. This deeply moving film discusses at length the role played by modern education in the destruction of many of the world’s indigenous cultures. It highlights the sorry state of affairs in countries such as ours and the role education might have played in bringing us to this state. The film boldly questions the belief that western education is the only way to uplift our society and free ourselves from the clutches of the apparent poverty we live in; when, in reality, it doesn’t even seem to be working for them.

” ..institutionalised education of the kind that doesn’t teach you anything about your local ecology, your local culture, your local economy or your ability to be productive.”

The film focuses on how this extremely sought after modern western schooling has been systematically killing cultures across the world…

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Information to join Merchant Navy as an Electro Techno Officer (ETO)

Academic Qualification required:

i) Passed 10+2 with Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics and English as separate subjects with minimum of 50 % in English language in 10th or 12th standard exam, from a recognized board.

ii) Passed three years’ Diploma with 60% marks or 4 years’ Degree including lateral entry with 50% marks in Electrical Engineering, Electronics Engineering, Electrical and Electronics Engineering, Electronics and Telecommunication / Communication
Engineering, or Electronics and Instrumentation or equivalent.

iii) The Diploma / Degree courses must have been recognized by any State or Central Government or the All India Council for Technical Education.

Age Limit: Applicant should not be more than 28 years on date of commencement of training.
Medical Fitness: Medically fit including eye sight and hearing as prescribed in the (Merchant Shipping Medical Examination) Rules, 2000; as amended.

Merchant Marine Personality Evaluation (MMPE) test: Short listed Candidates must compulsorily undergo a psychological screening test known as ‘Merchant Marine Personality Evaluation (MMPE) Test’ (Psychometric Test) introduced by the Directorate General of Shipping.

ETO can be appointed in Directorate General of Shipping approved for shore based maintenance / repair workshop.

What do they do ?

Here is the best  answer

http://www.marineinsight.com/careers-2/career-of-electro-technical-officer-on-ship/

How to join ?

Pass CET(Common Entrance Test) , apply for sponsorship , complete your 4 Month training, get your documents including INDIAN SEAMAN BOOK or INDIAN CDC of ETO, As an Indian you need Indian CDC, and join your company(Which sponsored you).

Please do not join any course or institute directly , any short cut you take would lead you to a dead end.(like not having Indian CDC) and no jobs. Indian Maritime University is the mother of all courses  and D G Shipping is the father.

Pro’s and Con’s:(Good Company)

Getting a good company can let you travel different countries .

High Salary.

Not that normal engineer life.

Check my upcoming post as it has Advantages & Disadvantages of Sea Life.

I guess there are no consequences which are any different for a fresher for any work field. You have to wait , be patient.Once you are on the row and got some experience you can choose which company and salary you want to work.Being patient and not giving up is the key, which applied on any individual. Personally i have seen ETO’s working for $5500 to $7000.

Follow the right path , it will be difficult but definitely would lead to the right goal !!

Till next time :)

Books-Food for the soul

Reading books has always been my passion,was an above average scholar in my childhood and was never detained to read comic books then, i guess it flourished since then. With gods grace destiny has given me a profession in which i am supposed to read and study for eternity(Not Joking). While on sailing and with no network , giving opportunity to read more n more n more and i do. be it a hard copy or a digital one, from mythological,religious to fiction , biographies to comic books, i still read them, sometime more then once, i have friends who are always generous enough to recommend fresh pieces of work done by Authors. Why i am writing this here ? , the answer to this question is , from now on i am going to write about those books i am done reading. Probably it will help for fellow mariners to give it a chance.

ciao ! till next time

Found My Life In The Sea On a Ship !!

July 2010, I was heading to my home after completing an year of my PreSea training and I was supposed to join a ship for my further training known as onboard training for a deck officer, it would be of 18 months, divided into two 9-9 months’ sailings. After which, 6 months training in marine school then a small session of examinations,  Only after completion of all this I could be a fully fledged Officer in charge of the watch(O.O.W) in Merchant Navy, Yeah! It sounds easy Na? Like I figured it all out and still too young for it. Well, wait a minute and read what I am going to tell you.

In our seamen fraternity we came to know that someone somewhere quits navy because it’s too hard out there to work in the sea or without something they can’t miss to sail, but my friends, this story is totally opposite of all the conceptions. There are a lot of incidents which actually drift you away from usual life, loosing yourself, into sea, on a ship.  So, with no further delay let’s hear it.

A month passed after my arrival to home from training school, I was excited and pumped up that soon I’ll be on a ship and sailing around the world, earning in $$$ (ding!!). I was literally doing nothing except posting pictures on facebook, in that charismatic white uniform from my training days and passing out parade etc., it was going good. Then I came across a girl’s profile on facebook, we started chatting, exchanged our numbers and started talking on phone, ended up dating and finally became a couple. Yeah facebook! I assume, it was more because of the charm of that white uniform rather than me. (You’ll know why I am saying this)

Months passed but no call from my company which sponsored me, to join the ship. Slowly pressure was building up around me as my friends and family started asking questions, my mom also enquired once what is happening? , why am I still at home after all of this (Training, etc.). I was silently listening to everyone and everything and was still calm because of the two reasons. First, I knew my company will call, If not today then tomorrow, Second, my girl shared all that pressure with me, I mean, with her by my side I felt I’d conquer the world(…). It was never difficult to share problems and to ease off the situation. But it didn’t take much time for situations to change with her too. After some more days, she (my Gf) also asked me that are you really going to join? Mom said “I guess you like being at home and not working”, that hurt a lot. I did some thought processing, and reached to the conclusion that maybe I was not acting the way I should’ve, but then I decided to take lead and went out to visit the company office. They said the same thing that we have you in a line and we’ll call you when it’s required. I couldn’t force them. But I thought, in the meanwhile, I can go around and join any other company. I was too furious and adamant that I decided to join just any ship and get of the present situation. I just ran away. That was the biggest mistake till now!!
I was offered to join a ship from a contact which I came across in my recent quest to elope from land and it worked out. I was supposed to join from Tehran, Iran, everybody was happy with the news; I am leaving, well, let it be. Inside I was trying to convince myself to stay calm it’s going to be alright just leave for now. I was so much in hurry that I forgot to check the details of the company, the ship, its sailing etc etc etc. Another big mistake!

Everything happened in a blink and when I came back to senses I found myself on the seaport waiting for the paper work to complete to join my ship. I heard that the ship is ready to sail and is waiting for me to board. In half an hour I was standing at the gangway (ladder to climb on the ship) it was a little dark out there and I was tired so someone took my bag and ordered me to follow him and be Careful. I did the same. Our walk ended in a dim light cabin of two beds, I couldn’t see that guy’s face to recognize whether he was from Iran or from India. Well, I was ordered to take rest as I was not hungry and refused to eat.

It was my first morning and as I was ordered to wake up and get ready after breakfast until 8 am. I did the same. Did whatever I was asked to do the rest of the day and then again I found myself in bed thinking about the ship, the work I did today, the crew and comparing all these details to the information and teachings I was given in my training days and to those experience stories narrated to us by our teaching staff captains and chief engineers, what I figured out was this. The ship was old and like water truck carrying cement from Iran to Iraq only which is 7-9 days task back to Iran. I mean if we load the cement sacks in three day it takes us one day to reach Iraq and offload in 4 days then back to Iran again. The crew was 12 in number including me, 1 Pakistani,4 Indians,2 Bangladeshi and 5 were Iranian. Captain was a Pakistani, defense navy retired, had no control over the crew or events on the ship, he was there just to drive that truck,, I know, hard to believe but it’s the truth, all the orders were given from the E.T.O, electro techno officer, who happened to be the brother of the M.D of my company, and was the only Iranian to speak in English. We were not allowed to go out on the jetty and forget about going out of the port.

In some days I figured out that I’m stuck in an illegal ship which is running under the shield of anarchy in Iran and Iraq. Whatever be the reason but I was there and facing it big time. Some time on that small voyage we get to hear loud noise of shots fired and choppers roaming in that area of Iraq. It was hell out there. It was just the time which was passed to gather this information, from myself and from fellow Indians, I forgot but they got here the same way I did. Pressure and lack of patience. Had I be patient, ignoring all of that kept my calm and I would be at my home or may be called by my company (a real company).

I was too stressed, somewhat broken inside, the work I was doing there was just not the thing. I was feeling pity over me. Although I was in network for a call but I couldn’t because we were not allowed to call. My phone was taken away. First time when I called home by using a common mobile phone given to Indians and Bengali together it was almost a month since my joining. I felt like crying for the first time and to tell everything to my mom and girlfriend and tell them that I want to quit and comeback. But I didn’t, on that call I behaved as if everything is perfect. The reason behind it was that I wanted to fight, be patient and to get out of here with some sailing experience and join my old company again.

After some three months of that reckless period and some of the instances which happened to us, there came a day when I decided to go back and the day was, in Iraq where we supposed to offload cargo. It was a rainy day and cranes left the cargo on the jetty not on the trucks so that I can be transferred to where the heck it was supposed to. Then it started raining heavily and by heavily I mean like with thunders and furious winds. Suddenly that E.T.O brother of M.D called us all and ordered us to keep those sacks inside the empty truck so that we can leave early. We all looked at each other’s faces but couldn’t say NO. I don’t know about others but I felt as if I’m a construction labourman. Somehow I finished that task, killing my self esteem, and moved on to cast off from there.

Next day I was done, situations mentioned above is just an idea of that ship and friends, it was still the best ship on that port, there were other ships on the same route, carrying the same cargo but with crew from India, Iran and Bangladesh. Don’t know about others but Indians were either be fooled like me or they were dummy mariners who came to earn more money from their earnings in India.

Well, I was so depressed that I decided to leave sea life and work as a common man on the land. I still remember that call when I first explained the entire situation to my girlfriend, I thought it would be better; I’ll feel a bit relaxed and will carry on further. She forwarded all that to my mother and everyone panicked with whatever I have been facing there. They stood with me and favored my decision to come back. After some problems and some more days, I signed off and came back to my home. I lost 15 Kg of weight and lost 3 tones of skin color, many small and big scars were there on my body as if I returned from some battle field. Well that was not my concern.

After a week or so, I found myself in a new situation; I got two options, either to quit sea life and look for another career option or to join my old company back after checking all the details of the ship etc. Both options were difficult to execute as all I ever wanted was to sail but that was now a shattered dream because of my first and possibly last sailing and the first option would be like a fresh start, a new beginning. On the other hand, my girlfriend who really helped me after knowing the truth of that ship and before that too was anxious about my job, my future, our future.

After trying some of the career options suggested by relatives and friends, I encountered that the main test of my patience is about to come, I was declared as a Quitter, lost in dilemma, what to do now?! And then something happened which shook me from deep within condition of my house and family become unexplainable and my girlfriend who was acting like a shield, Left me. Actually she ditched me for some other guy who was an aspirant for defense pilot. Don’t know why, but I was lost now, completely lost, broken, dead broken.
But they say scars on the body describe how hard you fought, and the true fighter is the one who fight even when he cannot. Had responsibility of my family, my dreams, I still don’t know what happened in those ‘Dark Days’ as I have named them but I shook off the heat, and decided to join sea life again. It was like do or die situation, not with dreams of having a lavish ship and all that which I dreamt of before joining the first ship but to get away from whatever is happening around me, to try one more time, to give one more chance to my destiny and find that whether I am a winner or a looser.

I did, and here I am a second officer. Yeah, the same Officer of the Watch in a well known company, sailing around the world and getting paid in…yes $$$$(ding!!) and that girl friend, well you know….!!

Moral: Don’t let adverse situations shake your faith. Sometimes a wrong turn takes you to the right place.

A writer in the woods – evolving from the angsty writer

Originally posted on Live to Write - Write to Live:

When I write, sometimes I listen to music. Sometimes I don’t. Sometimes I wear my jammie pants and sometimes I write while wearing a skirt and sweater.

IMG_20141018_143815382When I was young and trying to be an angst-filled writer, I used to think that I couldn’t write anything worth anything unless I was wearing a very specific ratty green shirt and had a cup of Earl Grey tea in front of me. I had to have routines. If I had a personal (and sacred) routine it meant I was serious about my craft. Often it would take me an entire evening to get the first paragraph out on paper and perfected, and I couldn’t ever write anything else until that very first paragraph was worthy. Because, well that was the way I worked… and this was how I envisioned real writers did it.

But times have changed. I’m not even sure…

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