Findings of “NAVIK JEEVAN” study conducted by Research and Training Committee of Indian National Shipowners’ Association (INSA)’




A custom-made study of all aspects of the professional life of the seafarers, including maritime education and training in India was conducted by the Training & Research Committee of INSA.

The respondents included active seafarers; from management, operational and support levels, including representatives of the shipping companies, Administration / Class surveyors, faculty members of MTIs, pre-sea students, etc. The views were sought covering various categories, such as career, colleagues’/seniors’ perception, competency, employment contract, culture including discrimination & harassment, enhanced training, fatigue & stress, safety & environment, motivation & happiness, Maritime Administration, etc.

The final report of the survey, titled “Navik Jeevan” (Life of Seafarers), was released by Shri Sarbananda Sonowal, Hon’ble Minister of Ports, Shipping & Waterways, Government of India on 2nd December 2021. Mr. Amitabh Kumar IRS, Director General of Shipping and his team members at DGS also attended the event. The report highlighted various issues faced by the Indian seafarers and students during their service on board and training respectively. The report also brought out some interesting studies with regards to the motivation level of the seafarers to continue their seafaring career, some perennial challenges of Stress & Fatigue, shore leave, etc. Since the participation of the woman seafarers is on the rise, the survey also touched upon the equality in opportunity and discrimination in the workplace faced by them.

The findings of this exhaustive survey were presented to the industry in an online function at 1500 hrs. (IST) on 18th December 2021.

Mr. Sunil Kumar, CTO & Head – T&A Department, The Great Eastern Shipping Co. Ltd on behalf of Research and Training Committee INSA and as Master of the Ceremony extended a warm welcome to all guests. Mr. Anil Devli, CEO, INSA, rendered the welcome address and expressed his gratitude to one and all present during the event. During his introductory speech, he acknowledged the presence of many dignitaries from Indian and abroad.

The event was inaugurated by Mr. Amitabh Kumar IRS, Director General of Shipping. He complimented INSA for this unique study and commented that the findings will be useful to various stakeholders. He expressed his keen interest in the findings of the study conducted by the experts and recognized the hard work that had gone in for the preparation of this report. He suggested that the outcomes of the study should be brought to the notice of all concerned, both nationally and internationally.

Dr. B. K. Saxena, Chairman, Research & Training Committee, INSA gave the background of this India-centric study and provided additional information on the objectives of this research that covered not only the seafarers but also the students undergoing various pre-sea courses. He complimented the project leader, Capt. Manoj Hirkane and his team of faculty members from the Tolani Maritime Institute and the Great Eastern Maritime Academy who conducted the study. He also acknowledged the support of the Directorate General of Shipping and the Maritime Training Trust for providing assistance to reach the respondents and for making available the necessary financial support. He specially thanked the members of the Research & Training Committee, President, and the office of INSA Secretariat for the support and assistance.

An E-Book of the Navik Jeevan Report was released on this occasion. The sameis available on the INSA website –

The findings of the study were presented by Capt. Manoj Hirkane, Project Leader & Sr. Vice Principal, Tolani Maritime Institute. Summary of the outcome included a total 5541 respondents from diverse backgrounds that took part in these two surveys, namely ‘Life of Indian Seafarers’ and ‘Life of Pre-sea Students’.

Highlights of the surveys are:

A fairly large percentage of seafarers i.e., 67.8% agree that no discrimination takes place in their organizations.

Around 57% of the women seafarers responded that they were discouraged by their seniors or fellow seafarers for choosing seafaring as their profession and reported that the working environment is not conducive for more women to join seafaring careers.

Nearly 80% of the company representatives accept that the female seafarers are at par with male seafarers. However, around 43% of women seafarers responded that Indian male seafarers find it difficult to accept a woman in the senior position as compared to other nationalities.

Around 37% of respondents express that company policies and procedures are bypassed at times which is a major cause of concern.

More than 40% of the company representatives and crew on board accept that there is no proper grievance redressal mechanism available in their companies.

Roughly one-third of the on-board crew is unhappy due to insufficient rest. Three major causes of fatigue on board are improper rest, short voyages, and reduced manning.

75% of the respondents feel that yoga/meditation exercises should be conducted as a part of the daily routine on board for better mental health.

Nearly 60% respondents would not like their sons and 80% would not like their daughters joining merchant navy. Surprisingly, the percentage is higher in case of senior officers i.e., 80% and 91% respectively.

One of the important things surfaced for Indian seafarers is that they are no less competent to handle the jobs on ships as compared to their other counterparts from different nationalities.

One third of the pre-sea students have taken bank loans for training. 21% of the students have experienced discrimination based on religion, caste, or language and 12% of the students faced ragging in their institutes.

At the end of the presentation, Question and Answer session was moderated by Mr. David Birwadkar, Advisor/ Head, GEIMS. Questions from the audience based on the research findings were responded to. It was heartening to see many thought-provoking questions and the interest, the study generated among the audience.

The event was attended by some distinguished personalities representing international academic institutions and crew welfare organizations. Dr. Takeshi Nakazawa, Executive Director, International Associations of Maritime Universities from Japanoffered his views on the findings of this report. Dr Nakazawa also offered INSA to have a collaboration with IAMU in mutually interested areas. He also agreed to host the Navik Jeevan Report E-book on the website of IAMU so that it gains global publicity and recognition.

Mrs. Karen Avelino PTC- Executive Director of Business, Philippines & President, Philippine Association of Maritime Training Centers also offered her views on the findings of this report and the overall event. She also mentioned about the similar survey initiatives which were undertaken in Philippines in the year 2006 & 2012.

Prof Jan Horck, former faculty member, World Maritime University, Sweden, and Ms. Carl Johan Carlsson, Senior Faculty, Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg, Sweden also graced the occasion. This, we expect to open up new avenues of research in future in collaboration with those eminent International Institutes.

Towards the end, Dr. Sujata Naik, Chairperson, Tolani Shipping, and President, INSA delivered an inspirationalspeech expressing her immense happiness over the entire work and commending the team from the two training institutes for their significant contribution to the research. She addressed on the key points of the research findings and on the daunting issues regarding the crew welfare on board. She exhorted the Training institutes to work passionately for improving the experience at the pre-sea training stage to attract quality manpower. This would improve the overall quality of the life of the Seafaring Community. She added that curiosity to learn should always form an inseparable part of the training & learning and should be an innate characteristic of the Seafarers. She expressed sincere gratitude and appreciated the initiatives undertaken by Research and Training Committee, INSA and is looking forward to many such projects to be undertaken in future.

Lastly, Mr. Lokanath Tripathy, Head – QST, Greatship India Ltd. proposed the Vote of Thanks.