The India Clean Seas Conference brought together decision-makers within the marine and oceanology markets
India has evolved as a diverse nation with a multicultural background, and a prominent contributor is its maritime character and geo-strategic location that has defined her growth and development over the decades.
The country’s inextricable connection to the seas can be linked to her xprominent peninsular location and bordering islands that it shares. Being governed by high mountain ranges and hilly terrain in the north, the seas are its primary means of trade links with the world.
Maritime trade accounts for over 90% of total trade by volume and 70% by value. India has witnessed an increase in the last decade in its economic, military and technological strength. The country’s global interactions have extended its national security obligations and its political interests now stretch beyond the Indian Ocean.
To address the objective of working towards sustainable marine development, the India Clean Seas International Conference & Exhibition took place in Goa, India (22-24 September).
The Norwegian Business Association, India mobilised a delegation of five Norwegian companies along with Innovation Norway and the Royal Norwegian Consulate General, Mumbai to support the conference. A sustainable marine environment remains of great interest to Kongsberg India, Jotun India, Goltens, Water Mist and Wallem Ship Management, all major players in maritime India.
The India Clean Seas Conference focused on bringing together strategic decision-makers within the marine and oceanology markets. Analysts and government representatives worked collectively to develop action plans to protect the world's oceans. The conference was an excellent platform for Norwegian companies to share their expertise with important stakeholders in India and get an overview of the developments for the creation of Clean Seas. Seminars and panel discussions were organised with a focus on: 1) Ocean dumping of wastes and its
treatment 2) Deep sea mining and environmental
impacts 3) Hazardous waste management, and safe and environmentally friendly ship recycling including aspects such as: • green shipping, ballast water management- its treatment and challenges, • reduction of GHG emissions from ships • LNG as fuel for the future and
conservation of coastal habitats
An intensive session on the Global Maritime Convention was held with an impetus on sustainable shipping techniques and compliance in helping the marine environment.
The conference also imparted awareness on decommissioning of assets, subsea jackets and pipelines and the environmental challenges concerning them. One emphasis was on emerging approaches towards prevention of corrosion, oil spillage and protection of marine ecosystems.
Norway’s influence on the cause of sustainability and environmental issues was highlighted. The contributions of Norwegian companies in sustaining a healthy and safe marine ecosystem were addressed. Advanced measures adopted by Norway in this field like ratification of the Hong Kong Convention on Safe & Environmentally friendly recycling of Ships were studied at the conference.
Maritime is among Norway's most global, innovative and forward-looking industries. It’s a labour-intensive sector that leads to value creation and spills over to other industries.
The Norwegian government aims for sustainable growth and value creation in the maritime industry as a major policy goal.
The government wants to stimulate a blue revolution for the Norwegian maritime industry as well as the use of environmentally friendly technology and alternative fuel for vessels. It has ambitious conservational goals for the maritime industry that will contribute to strengthening value creation and offering a competitive edge. Use of more environmentally friendly fuel and energy-efficient vessels is a key factor in solving the environmental challenges of shipping.
In September 2015, the 193 member states of the UN unanimously adopted the 2030 agenda for sustainable development. Norway welcomes that a goal for the conservation and sustainable use of the oceans and marine resources has been included in the agenda.
The conference focused on replacing the use of plastic and treating plastic debris in the ocean more effectively. Plastic can absorb toxic chemicals from ocean pollution, poisoning whoever or whatever eats it.
If necessary actions are not taken, by 2050 plastic pieces will outnumber fish in the oceans. Ocean trash endangers the health of humans and aquatic life as well as the livelihoods that thrive on a healthy ocean. It also threatens tourism and recreation, creates navigational hazards that obscure shipping and transportation. This makes it crucial that local, regional, national and international authorities collaborate to adopt preventive measures.
A few simple actions like using biodegradable and reusable plastics, creating public awareness, careful handling at pre-production and industrial sites, regulating source reduction schemes such as bans and fees, regular beach clean-up activities, and regulating and minimising plastic debris loads from shipping and other sea-based activities can control marine pollution.
One of the best ways to prevent marine debris is to educate the masses about stringent regulations and why ecological consciousness is important.
It is equally essential communities take responsibility in ensuring that governments and businesses change their attitudes towards marine debris, taking measures to curb it.
If India does not manage its plastic waste, in a decade it will be among the top five contributors of marine pollution.
As 70% of the earth is covered with water, some people assume marine pollutants will be diluted or disappear. But this is a myth.
All four oceans have suffered as a result of human actions for a long period, but the damage has accelerated the past few decades.
Oil spills, toxic waste, floating plastic and various other problems have all plagued the oceans. If we are to preserve their natural beauty, drastic measures have to be taken to combat pollution and keep our oceans clean and safe.
Sustainable development cannot be achieved without a focus on shipping. Ultimately every nation has a responsibility to adopt appropriate measures to keep its marine environment clean. Upper left picture shows Norwegian delegation to INDIA CLEAN SEAS-GOA From (left to right) Mahnaaz Khan (Head of Secretariat-NBAI), Prasad Padhye, Mukesh Shukla (Marine Head-Jotun Paints) Thor Eric (PresidentKongsberg Maritime India), Capt Navin Passey (MD-Wallem Ship management), Stefan Micallef (IMO’s Director of Marine Environment), Dilip Mehrotra (Secretary, Indian Ocean Memorandum Of Understanding On Port State Control), Tor Dahlstrøm (Consul-Norwegian Consulate, Mumbai), Pankaj Patil (Innovation Norway, Market Advisor-Maritime)
northern Europe, including some of Norway’s airports with mountains, severe weather conditions and four distinct seasons, providing a challenging training ground. The academy hangar features some of the most modern aircraft available on the market — Austrian Diamond DA40s and DA42s — in addition to a state-of-the-art Boeing 737800NG simulator.
“Our mission is to educate what we call ‘airline-ready pilots’ that are ready to start their career as first officers in an airline directly after finishing the twoyear programme,” said Mr Granlund. “We have invested NOK65 million in new facilities, aircraft, simulators and a modern curriculum.”
“PFA has developed a competencybased pilot education that includes flight training in the academy’s advanced Boeing 737NG simulator. Trained by airline pilots, PFA students develop the professional pilot skills required by airlines, turning new cadets into airlineready pilots.”
During his travels and many meetings throughout Asia this year, Mr Granlund found the educational training system for pilots in Asia is not equipped to handle the demand in the region. In many Asian countries, the education provided also does not meet the requirements of airlines or international aviation standards. These lower standards limit the choice of airline careers for graduates in Asia as pilot licences are often only valid in the country in which they are issued. More attractive airline career choices abroad are often off limits without an EASA pilot licence.
“Moving into Asia, Innovation Norway has been a great partner for us. We knew there was a huge market, but I never looked seriously at the region before and would not have known where to start. Innovation Norway conducted research for us and booked meetings with decision-makers at the right level of both potential partners and customers. By understanding the local languages and cultures in the respective countries, they could also guide us in the right direction and we are truly grateful,” said Mr Granlund.
PFA is planning a stepwise approach to the Asian market and has already secured its first Asian students at the academy. It is negotiating training agreements with airlines in Asia and plans to set up local ground schools in the region.
“Hopefully we can establish the first two ground schools in Asia next year. Students who finish ground school in Asia will then come to Norway for one year of flight training,” he said.
“Our next step is to train the trainers. We must train groups of Asian students in Norway to become pilots and qualified flight instructors with European standards. They will be our resource for the next step, which is the development of full-fledged flight academies in Asia. We also hope to find good educational partners such as universities and Asian airlines for this development.”
PFA believes it can contribute to the development of good aviation standards in Asia while growing the company’s competency-based pilot education regime in the region.
lot of people fail to ask even the simplest questions,” notes Vigdis Haug. “What happens to your social security when you move abroad and what are your rights when you come back?”
Vigdis Haug notes that there are two parts of the Norwegian Social Security: One is related to medical and health issues and the other is related to pension, including disability and retirement pension. One can be member of both or choose to be member of one of them during an expatriation. Mandatory members have to be members of both Ask the right questions and ask them early.
According to Vigdis Haug, one of the first steps in any overseas employment process should be to determine whether you will still be covered by the Norwegian social security scheme or not. “People should find out whether they are able to still contribute to the National Insurance Scheme and if they are, to what extend they are covered,” she says. “Does the cover include the most basic things such as doctors and hospitals as well as risks related to long term sickness, disability and even death? What about retirement funds? People should also consider the costs of remaining a member of the National Insurance Scheme, which can be quite substantial, so can the money be spent better on alternative solutions? These are some of the things people need to discuss before leaving Norway.”
One of the main misconceptions that people make is assuming that because they still pay tax in Norway, they automatically keep their National Pension and Insurance Scheme benefits, highlights Vigdis Haug. And any insurance products in Norway are only valid if the insured person is also a member of the National Social Security System.
“People tend to think that they are still members of the National Pension and Insurance Scheme because they still pay taxes in Norway but in a lot of cases it is not that simple,” she says.
Vigdis Haug notes that in order to continue the membership in the National Pension and Insurance Schemes as a voluntary member, employees must have been a member in three of the five last calendar years.
“If you are away for less than five years there is a waiting period of one year before they have rights to a disability or spouse pension,” Vigdis Houg says. “If you have been out of the Norwegian Social Security System for more than five years, there is a three year waiting period. In this period you can not be sick. After the waiting period you will be entitled to benefits but they can be reduced due to lack of membership or a failure to meet the total number of years in the Norwegian Social Security System. If you have been out of the Norwegian Social Security System for more than five years and get disable, you will most likely never get anything form the social security at all.”
People looking to open their own business are also excluded from cover, Vigdis Haug points out. “The National Insurance Scheme is only for Norwegian companies or Norway-related companies, so if you go to Singapore to open your own business for example, chances are you will not be covered and you have to look into alternative insurance,” she says. What about the family? Another important area that is often overlooked is insurance for the family. Oftentimes family members have limited rights under the National Pension and Insurance Scheme because they do not have an income.
“A non-working wife might have some rights in the National Pension and Insurance Scheme but the benefits can be very low,” says Vigdis Haug. “We often see that spouses believe that they are well covered if they are a voluntary member but the reality is that the benefits can be extremely low, if there are any at all. Children accompanying their parents will also need additional cover after 18 years, especially if they move for studies. Oftentimes, it is easier to establish insurance solutions when they are young and if they suffer chronic conditions such as diabetes, it is not possible to get an insurance without exclusions in cover.
“I would really like people to look into disability insurance for non-working wives; it is extremely important. People also have to think about things like “what happens if we get divorced, or if someone gets sick? What will happen to the children?” They are uncomfortable questions to ask but they are necessary.”
With so many different combinations and with each employer having different provisions and types of insurance, Vigdis Haug agrees that it can be difficult for individuals and families to navigate the system. She gives the following advice: “Understand if you are a member of the social security system or not. In both cases, make sure you understand what exactly your rights are. Think about worst case scenarios like disability and death. If you are a family, think as a family. Get the proper medical insurance for the whole family and make sure to cover non-working wives as well. Consider what happens in the case of a divorce. Plan every step of the expatriation, before, during and after. Think about the return to Norway. Find out if there is a waiting period before being able to use various services.”
PHOTO: PILOT FLIGHT ACADEMY
PHOTO: NORWEGIAN BUSINESS ASSOCIATION INDIA