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.

Norway-Asia Business Review - - Contents - MAHNAAZ KHAN

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

PHOTO: ISTOCKPHOTO

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