Mr. Amitava Banerjee, Director of School of Maritime Studies in TNU (The Neotia University)

Last Updated - April 07 2018

Currently serving in The Neotia University as the Director of School of Maritime Studies, Mr. Amitava Banerjee holds an Extra First Class (India) Certificate of Competency (i.e. the highest Certificate of Competency by international standards) and a Post-Graduation in Maritime Safety Administration (Marine Engineering) from the World Maritime University, Malmo, Sweden.

After serving the Directorate General of Shipping, Government of India, and Mumbai as Chief Surveyor-cum-Additional Director-General and Ex-Officio Chief Invigilator of Engineers for 6 years, he retired voluntarily in November 2014. During his tenure with the Government of India, he represented India for more than 10 years as member and head of different delegations to the IMO, Marine Environment Protection Committee in particular. He is also a Special Advisor to the American Digital University, USA, for co-coordinating the E-learning programmer concerned to Certificate of Competency examinations of the Directorate General of Shipping, Government of India. Currently, he is attached as the Director of the School of Maritime Studies of The Neotia University.

Specialities of a career in the trader navy as an officer

There are many specialities in this career. It is quite various to the Indian Navy, which is used for the purpose of defending the country’s waters during a war. Besides, you would be able to visit many foreign countries. Once you become a senior officer, say after 7/8 years, you can carry your family on board the ship in which you are serving. 90% of the cargo need to be transported worldwide, is carried on board ships of the trader navy. Firstly, you get paid very highly and therefore, you would normally be able to make a relatively big saving, rather early in life. Ships in the trader navy are used to carry different kinds of cargoes from one place in the world to another. The boarding and lodging arrangements on board can match any 4-star hotel.

The basic eligibility criteria to join The Neotia University for undertaking the courses concerned with joining the trader navy as an officer

You required having an aggregate percentage of 60 at the (10+2) level, with Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics as mandatory subjects. A medical test as prescribed by the Directorate General of Shipping, Government of India is also a mandatory requirement. These requirements are eligible to each and every institution which organizes courses concerned to joining the trader navy as an officer, since their eligibility criteria are laid down by the Directorate General of Shipping, Government of India. Besides, you must have 50% in English, either in the final examinations of Class X or Class XII.

Courses concerned to joining the trader navy as an officer, that are provideed by The Neotia University (TNU)

The two basic courses provideed by The Neotia University are (i) B.Tech in Marine Engineering. Otherwise also, going out from the hostel is permitted with special permission. On completing the B.Tech in marine engineering, one can get placed on board a ship on the arising of a vacancy, as a junior engineer/engineering cadet of a ship. This is a 3-year course. Both the courses require a mandatory stay in the hostel, with a number of hours short-leave to go out of the campus, on weekends. The highest of these sea-going examinations pertain to that of a Chief Engineer. There are examinations basically organizeed at three levels, and you can get promoted accordingly, based on the availability of shipboard vacancies. This is a 4-year course, and, (ii) B.Sc in Nautical Science. After sailing and working on board for a number of months as a junior engineer, you can appear for examinations organizeed by the Directorate General of Shipping, after you have sailed for the prescribed months. Once you complete the examinations, you can join back ships, usually at a higher level.

The system is similar to the Nautical side. The Captain commands the ship, while the Chief Engineer commands, the Engine Room and all the other machinery need on board to operate the ship. However, here, the highest examination pertains to that of a Captain. Once you complete the examinations at the three levels, you can become the Captain of a ship, depending on the vacancy available. Here, you usually join the ship as a cadet and then within a short period, you can become a nautical officer.

Read more about the courses available in The Neotia University here.

Mr. Amitava on when can a student after completing his B.Tech Marine Engineering or B.Sc. Nautical Science degree can join service on board a ship

On completion of the 4-year degree course in B.Tech Marine Engineering or 3-year degree course in B.Sc. Nautical Science, one can start his career in the trader navy on board ships as a junior engineer or cadet, as eligible, subject to shipboard vacancies being available.

At present, the starting salary for a junior engineer is around 700 US Dollars and that of a cadet is about 500 US Dollars, which is equivalent to about Rs. 47, 000/- and Rs 33,500/-, per month, respectively. In addition to this salary, free boarding and lodging are offered on board the ship. As said above, the boarding and lodging arrangements on the ship, are among the best in the industry.

Mr. Amitava on when can a student after completing his B.Tech. Marine Engineering or B.Sc. Nautical Science degree, become a Chief Engineer or Captain of a Ship, respectively

A person with average intelligence, readiness to, study hard and sail largely uninterrupted by availing of at least leave, can pass the different Certificates of Competency examinations as organizeed by the Directorate General of Shipping and rise to the level of Chief Engineer or Captain, as eligible, within a short span of say 7 to 9 years. The salary of a Chief Engineer or Captain will be not less than 5000 US dollars, which is equivalent to Rs. 3.35 lakhs per month.

Mr. Amitava on Income tax benefit enjoyed by shipboard officers

If a mariner stays outside India for more than 182 days in an accounting year (1st April of one year to 31st March of the next year), he will be treated as a Non-Resident Indian (NRI). In such an event the entire salary is exempted from Income tax. This means, in such cases, you do not have to pay any tax on your income.

The focus of the SOMS of The Neotia University and how it is various from other Institutes/ Universities

The focus of TNU is to impart training and education that prepares cadets to be leaders for the emerging global maritime society. Even if one employer says that a cadet who graduated from the TNU has been established to be of good use to a ship’s operations, we feel that we are doing our job in the right direction. TNU makes all possible efforts so that the School of Maritime Studies (SOMS) is able to equip the students with contemporary knowledge and skills of the highest practicable standard, particularly, inter alia, by having a “shipboard performance feedback” (from employers and alumni), the mechanism in place. SOMS is subject to rigorous and up-to-date quality-audits by the different statutory authorities. The findings of these audits, also help us to introspect and take corrective actions on a sustained basis. Till date, the SOMS of TNU has been honoured fairly high grades in all these audits. As the need for any quality system, we invariably strive for continuous improvement.

Facilities available at TNU for practical training, which we all know is very important for shipboard operations

TNU is one of the few colleges in Eastern India that can rightfully claim the presence of an in-house, high-tech Ship-in-Campus and with advanced bridge simulation facilities. These facilities, built in compliance with international standards, house original shipboard equipment in order to give the trainee marine engineering and nautical science cadets a hands-on feel of what a career in the trader navy entails.

The training and infrastructural facilities as offered by TNU have received the Grade A2 (i.e., very good) under the Extensive Inspection Programme of the Government of India. Obviously, the SOMS of TNU is approved by the Directorate General of Shipping, Government of India. The SOMS is also certified by the DNV-GL for having complied with the latest ISO standard, i.e., the ISO 9001: 2015. The audit in this regard was carried out by the renowned Classification Society, DNV-G L.

A number of products of TNU (known erstwhile as ITME and thereafter as NITMAS, i.e. Institute of Technology and Marine Engineering, and, Neotia Institute of Technology Management and Science) have been sailing with several eminent shipping companies as Chief Engineer and in other ranks.

Mr. Amitava on how the students can benefit from TNU’s formal industry tie-ups

The Neotia University (TNU) is in close touch with the best industry exercises. The management has signed MoUs with Blue Bird Shipping Management Private Limited (BBSMPL) and Destan Ship Management Pvt. The cadets, on completion of their training at TNU, and if they so desire, may straight approach these organizations and seek assistance/ career-counselling, for their shipboard placements. (DSMPL), to render help/guidance in the placement of cadets of marine engineering (MRE) and nautical science (BNS) with shipping different companies. Ltd.

Mr. Amitava on the alumni association and placement facility of TNU and the important attributes expected of a cadet for shipboard employment

The Neotia University has a sizeable number of alumni working successfully in their chosen walks of life, across the world. Alumni meets are also arranged from time to time. Lines, MSC Ship Management, United Ocean Ship Management, Gulf Energy Maritime Services (GEM), Wilhelmsen Ship Management, MMS Maritime (MMSI), Apeejay Shipping, Univan Ship Management, Saarland Management Service, Herald Maritime Service, etc. Our ex-cadets have been placed on board ships owned and managed by different shipping companies like Elegant Marine Services, Wallem Ship Management, Mitsui O.S.K.

The management is in regular touch with shipping companies and makes all efforts to explore avenues for shipboard placements. As we all know, shipping is a cyclical industry and there are unpredictable ups and downs, and, along with this, the employment opportunities vary. The last BIMCO-ISF (the only international body which publishes maritime manpower-requirement reports, around every 5 years, and which is available on the internet) report, however, indicates a demand for seafaring officers in the coming years. However, it is only the well-trained, knowledgeable and properly-branched cadets with the accurate manner, who are expected to be entertained by the different shipping companies for their interviews and thereafter for shipboard employment in the trader navy. Complete (i.e. necessarily not accented) and confident communication skills in English, also get preference with employers.

Significant challenges faced by Mr. Amitava as a part of The Neotia University

Maritime Studies was provideed by The Neotia Institute of Technology, Management and Science (NITMAS) since 2002. The Neotia University has been formed only 3 years ago. It has been quite a challenge to bring up the standard of imparting education and skills, to match up to that which is need of an institution of higher learning. It is easy to merely fulfil the required of the prescribed syllabus, but it is not quite easy to do so with a cutting edge, which has always been the mission of TNU. In achieving this mission, TNU has been able to successfully meet the challenge of appointing the best marine faculty, who have a proven track record of eminence in maritime circles.

Mr. Amitava on if a trader navy officer required sailing throughout his life

No. etc. Nautical officers have also preferred ashore in insurance companies, cargo inspecting companies and the like. After, say, 10-12 years of sailing, when he has made a sizeable amount of savings, the trader navy officer, marine engineers, in particular, can very well settle down at the shore, with fruitful salaries. A lot of opportunities exist for marine engineers in ports, shipyards, shipbuilding and repair yards, different maritime training Institutes, shipping companies, Administrations (i.e. Directorate General of Shipping), Classification Societies, 5-star hotels, big hospitals etc. The hands-on skills they acquire in repairing/servicing different kinds of machinery/utilities while sailing is in great demand ashore.

Suggestions for the present youth

Aspiring marine engineering and nautical science cadets must keep their ears and eyes wide open, develop the best of skills in demand and the eligible contemporary knowledge, and, exercise deep self-branch along with hard work. Cheerful submission to superiors and the resilience to accept constructive criticism, are highly sought-after attributes from the prospective seafaring professionals.    Their body language should demonstrate that they are confidently capable of being a hard and trusted-worker who is ever-keen to learn all that is necessary to become a “quality-delivery” oriented professional, keeping “day-after-tomorrow” in mind.

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