Training - Brief History of Maritime Training & Education in India



    The first Indian owned vessel S.S. "Loyalty" sailed out of Bombay Harbour on 5th April 1919 for London. The vessel was owned by M/s. Scindia Steam Navigation Co. The Master and the other officers were British.Subsequently a resolution was moved by Sir P. S. Sivaswamy Iyer in the Indian legislative assembly R.I.M.S Dufferin was acquired by the Department of Commerce and converted into a training ship. On December 1927, the first batch of 50 nautical cadets joined the I.M.M.T.S. DUFFERIN.In 1935, training of engineering cadets was also commenced on the Dufferin. The number of cadets admitted each year was 25 nautical and 25 engineering cadets.


    In 1949, training of Marine Engineers was transferred ashore to a new Engineering College at Calcutta, known as D.M.E.T (Directorate of Marine Engineering Training), with a branch in Bombay. The training period on the Dufferin was reduced from 3 years to 2 years and the annual intake increased to 80.In 1969, orders were placed with Hindustan Shipyard, Vishakapatnam for the construction of a new training ship to replace the ageing 'Dufferin'. The keel for a new ship was laid on 20th October 1969. This ship, christened as T.S. Rajendra, was received from the builders by Mrs. Indira Gandhi, Prime Minister of India, on 2nd April, 1972.In April 1972, the 'Dufferin' was de-commissioned. By then, over 2600 cadets had undergone training on the 'Dufferin'. It is a great tribute to her that three Chiefs of Naval Staff, over 20 Admirals and several hundreds of senior officials in the Govt. and the shipping industry are all her alumnii.


  2. T.S. 'RAJENDRA'
    The Vice-President of India, Shri G.S. Pathak, inaugurated the new training ship on 16th April 1972.The annual intake of cadets, for the two year course, on T.S. Rajendra, was 125. With the rapid increase in the Indian shipping tonnage, and the consequent paucity of trained personnel, the duration of training on the Rajendra was reduced to one year in 1975 and the yearly intake increased to 250. However, the two year training period, with an intake of 125 per year, was restored in 1984.In 1987, T.S. Rajendra became affiliated to the University of Bombay. The period of training was then increased to three years. The first batch of these cadets passed out from the Rajendra in 1990 with BSc. (Nautical Science) degrees awarded by the University of Bombay. The syllabus is drawn with a view to give broad-based marine education, with special emphasis on fundamentals of marine subjects and practical aspects of the profession.


    In the early 80's, it was found that the requirement of officers increased well beyond the output of T.S. Rajendra. It was felt that an ashore academy could train a larger number of cadets than a ship and, that too, more economically. Accordingly, requisite land was acquired, on the sea front of the harbour, at New Bombay. Necessary infrastructure was created and buildings put up. The first phase of the scheme, consisting of the Administrative, academic & Hostel Blocks, was inaugurated by Shri Jagdish Tytler, Minister of Shipping and Transport, and the training shifted to this shore based academy named T.S. 'Chanakya' in 1993.

T.S. Rajendra's affiliation with the University of Bombay was transferred to T.S. 'Chanakya' in 1993. The educational and training programme is designed to inculcate officer like qualities and a high sense of discipline in the cadets. Physical training is an essential part of the curriculum to keep the young persons fit for the tough and adventurous career at sea.All cadets are required to take part in rowing, sailing, physical training, swimming and team games like hockey, football, volleyball and cricket. Athletics and aquatic sports competitions are held annually. There are playing grounds on the campus. Seminars, workshops on technical and literary subjects form a regular feature of the training programme. During the entire period of three years, officer like qualities, leadership, adaptability and team spirit are observed and assessed for each cadet.

The Marine Engineering & Research Institute is situated at Calcutta and has a branch at Mumbai. Training in MERI consists of theoretical classes together with practical training in the institutes workshops followed by actual maintenance, repair of overhaul of ship machinery in the marine workshops & repair yards.It is compulsory for cadets to take part in physical training, swimming and outdoor games such as basketball, volleyball, badminton, etc. Facilities also exist for hobbies like photography, painting, music, etc.Strict discipline is maintained in the institution on lines similar to that in training establishments for Naval or Army Officers. Performance in academic subjects but also in terms of participation in co-curricular and extra-curricular activities and the standard of discipline.

    Training is spread over a period of four calendar years. The passing out certificate is recognised as equivalent to a degree in Marine Engineering by the Ministry of Human Resource Development (Education) and the All India Council of Technical Education. During the four year course, in addition to theoretical and practical training, cadets are required to participate in the co-curricular and extra-curricular activities of the institute. The syllabus and curriculum has been so drawn up that on completion of training, a cadet attains a fairly high standard in fundamental Engineering Sciences, specialised knowledge of theoretical and practical marine engineering and a basic knowledge of humanities and social sciences and also meets the statutory requirement for Marine engineers as laid down in the relevant rules under the Merchant Shipping Act.


  2. M.E.R.I (MUMBAI)
    The entry qualification is B.E. or B.Tech. (Mechanical Engineering). The one-year residential sea-orientation course covers theoretical and practical training. The latter is done in marine workshops specialised in ship repairs.




T.S. Chanakya MERI



  3 years pre-sea course leading to B.Sc. (Nautical Science) 3 months pre-sea training course for Nautical Cadets 4 year course in MERI Calcutta 1 year training in MERI Mumbai for Graduate Engineers
Educational standards Selection on basis of their performance in IIT & JEE examination Higher Secondary or its equivalent examination with Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics with a minimum of 60% average in PCM Group Same as for 3 year BSc course on T.S. Chanakya A Graduate in Mechanical Engineering from one of the colleges approved by AICTE
Upper age limit 20 years as on 1st Oct. 20 years on the date of commencement of training 20 years as on 1st Oct. No age limit
Maximum Number of seats per year 90 360 120 105

Reservation of Seats

: 15% of the total seats available to Indian Nationals are reserved for eligible student belonging to scheduled castes and 7.5% for scheduled tribes provided they satisfy other recruitments. Age relaxation 5 years for SC/ST.

Physical Fitness : As specified in the prospectus.
T.S. Chanakya : 6/6 eye sight (without aids to vision). Normal Colour vision.
MERI : 6/6 eye sight (spectacles upto +/- 2.5 is permitted). Normal colour vision.
Date of Birth : as recorded in the Secondary Education Board Certificate will be taken as authentic
Admission : It is open to unmarried Indian citizens candidate from other countries may be admitted subject to their getting approval of the Ministry of Surface transport.


    The college is housed in a modern seven-storied building situated on a six-acre site at Hay Bunder. The college building and its two adjacent hostel blocks overlook the picturesque harbour of Mumbai with its island and the mainland to the East.The college attracts a large number of students for maritime education and training. In terms of students' turnover, this is one of the largest marine training institutions in the world. It offers about 30 post-sea courses, which run almost concurrently. The courses meet the standards of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) as well as those of the Government of India. There are about 1000 students on the rolls at any given time. The college is fully equipped to meet the national requirements of marine officers afloat and ashore. About 70% of Indian officers afloat are employed on foreign flagships. This is because of the high quality of maritime education imparted to them in this institute and the subsequent high level of professionalism and competence maintained by them.Foreign nationals also attend courses in this college. They are charged fees in US Dollars for each modular course.The Nautical and Engineering college was founded in October 1948 for merchant Navy officers of Navigation & Engineering department, after they have been to sea, to help them to obtain their certificates of competency. This institution was housed in temporary buildings at Azad Maidan, opposite V.T. station in Bombay.The college was shifted to its present site at Hay Bunder, in 1966.The institution was re-named as Lal Bahadur Shastri Nautical and Engineering College on 8th June 1967 by Prof. V.K.R.V. Rao, Ministry of Transport and Shipping.The institution's name was upgraded as LBS College of Advanced maritime Studies and Research on 11th February 1994.


Nautical Discipline Engineering Discipline
  1. Extra-Master
  1. M.E.O Extra First Class
  1. Master (F.G.)
  1. M.E.O Class I
  1. First Mate (F.G.)
  1. M.E.O Class II
  1. Second mate (F.G.)
  1. M.E.O Class III
  1. Navigational Watchkeeping Officer
  1. M.E.O Class IV
  1. Master Home Trade
  • Mate Home Trade
  • Skipper Fishing
  • Mate Fishing

  1. Revalidation for Masters
  1. Ship Manoeuvring
  1. Ship master's Medicare
  1. Liquid Cargo Handling
  1. Radar observer
  1. Engine Room Simulator
  1. Proficiency in Survival Craft
  1. Radar & Navigation
  1. Marine Communication
  1. ARPA
  1. Specialised Tanker Safety
  1. GMDSS
  1. Chemical Tanker Safety
  • Liquefied Gas carrier


    The number of students who enrol for the various courses is average 14000 per year.


    The number of full time faculty members is presently 57. There are over 30 part-time visiting faculty members.


    Playing field exclusively for this College and MERI.Hostel accommodation for 100 students.PCO/NSD/ISD facilities are available in the campus.A doctor visits the College twice a week and is available on call 24 hrs. a day. A separate room with essential medical facilities is provided to deal with the emergencies.Transport facilities provided for students.Other facilities provided in the campus include a swimming pool, a mini-gymnasium, a post office and a bank counter.Modern teaching aids include computers, projectors, technical video cassettes and simulator .The college is now connected to 'INTERNET' through Videsh Sanchar Nigam Ltd., (VSNL). Students can now make use of the facility. The college E-mail address is:


    The College is one of the very few maritime training institutions in the world where normal classroom training augmented with state of the art simulator training.First of the three new simulators, the Ship manoeuvring Simulator, was inaugurated in April 1994 and is in full use. Ship Masters and Chief Officers are being trained on this simulator.The Engine Room Simulator & the Liquid Cargo Handling Simulator were inaugurated on July 14th 1995. Senior level and Junior level courses for ships officers are being conducted both these state-of-the-art simulators which have been acquire from Japan. To cope up with the demand, each of these simulators are being run in two shifts daily.Stringent specifications of software and hardware made it possible to simulate almost all types of situations, one may experience actually out at sea. It is possible to design and conduct special courses for different needs.


  5. FUTURE OBJECTIVES: Commencement of Consultancy and research in the marine field. Efforts are underway to commence consultancy and establish research facilities as the college has the right kind of environment for the same.

  1. Comply with STCW-95 requirements. Major changes/improvements are expected to be effected in the training institutes in order to comply with requirements of STCW-95. These are being identified and implemented in phases. Obtain ISO-9002 certification. It is important that all training institutes obtain certificate of compliance with ISO-9002 for Quality Assurance failing which international recognition would not be accorded. Steps are being taken in this direction.



    Background:In earlier days, India did not have training facility for seamen. The ratings were recruited at random by intermediaries/contractors, mainly on the basis of personal contacts. After independence, a National Shipping Policy was formulated and subsequently in order to ensure adequate supply of trained manpower for expanding Indian Merchant Shipping Fleet, a Merchant Navy Training Committee was set up in 1947, to consider all its related problems. As per their recommendations three pre-sea training institution for ratings were set up as under:-

    1. T.S. Bhadra at Calcutta in 1950

    2. T.S. Mekhla at Vizag in 1951

    3. T.S. Naulakshi at Navalakhi in 1955.

Initially, these institutions conducted courses of three months duration, the duration of which was extended progressively to six months in 1970. Likewise, the minimum educational qualification at entry level was raised from initially 4th standard to 8th standard in 1970. The syllabus for the course of training was progressively improved to keep abreast of the modernisation of ships.Due to the sudden unprecedented slump in the International Shipping which lasted almost ten years and with the introduction of pre-sea training course, the availability of trained rating became gradually surpassed the required number of jobs available at sea. Unemployment among rating grew alarmingly with time. An expert committee was set up under the Chairmanship of Adm. S.M. Nanda in 1981 to examine the above problem. Based on the recommendations of the above committee all the three govt. rating training institutions were closed down in 1983.The decision to close down the seamen's training institution proved to be incorrect because by the middle of 1985, International Shipping began to revive and consequent to closing down of the training institutes, the availability of trained young recruits to the Merchant Marine Sector declined rapidly. Existing employed seamen advanced in their age, which reflected directly in the productivity on board. This prompted the foreign ship owners to look for alternate recruitment centres in other maritime countries. Increasing gap between demand and supply of ratings, particularly in the key categories, became a source of concern to Indian and Fourign employers from 1987 onwards.Considering the same, Government of India felt it necessary to review the seamen training system. The Government decided that the responsibility for same should be taken over by the industry itself, instead of being supported by the Govt. as was done earlier.In October 1991 the Govt. had set up a Committee called the committee on Marine Education and Training (COMET), to study the then exiting set up of the Training institutions for Merchant Navy Officers and Ratings in India and to make appropriate recommendations for the future. The committee submitted its report to the Govt. in May 1992.

Following are the main recommendations of the Committee in connection with Pre-sea Training of Rating: -
The Pre-sea training programme for ratings should be commenced to initially cater for their rates of attrition at Mumbai and Calcutta, which are 810 and 290 respectively as on 1st January 1992. Thus, against this total of 1100 it is recommended that the initial requirement be fixed at 1200 pre-sea candidates per year which should be gradually increased to 1800 by 1995.The existing arrangement for training of 300 pre-sea trainee at the T.S. Rehman for which Govt. approval exists till September 1992 should not only be continued but the training capacity should be enhanced to 600 pre-sea ratings per year.The number of pre-sea candidates to be trained should be reviewed periodically.The Directorate of Seamen's Employment Offices, Mumbai and Calcutta should maintain upto date category wise statistics information regarding rating including details of registered ratings, retirees. New entrants, deceased seamen and rating promotions / demotions etc.The overall ratings supply and demand position should be a maintained by the Indian Maritime University.Further the report contains suggestion that the issue of setting up of ratings training establishments at Paradip and Kerala be left open till a review of manpower is undertaken in 1993.The recommendations made by the COMET report could however not take shape due to the slow rate of the growth of shipping.At present there are number of institutes imparting Training to rating.

      As per the Praveen Singh Committee report accepted by the Govt. it has been decided to relax the restriction on the training of seamen(Rating).Sponsorship by  shipping companies will no longer be necessary for an otherwise eligible candidate to enrol a Government approved training institute. The Govt. has also accepted the Committee's recommendation that " it should be possible for any eligible Indian citizen to get himself selected on merit and then take a chance for employment in the open market whether Indian or foreign flag vessels". An immediate impact would be infusion of young blood into seafaring profession which should necessitate opening of new Rating Training institutions in addition to the existing three institutions, which would supply trained hands to man the country's supplier of manpower to the shipping industry worldwide.

Go Top

Go Back