city anchor: Trauma care centre to help seafarers cope with captivity

Centre will provide counselling to seafarers & their kin who have been released from clutches of pirates

Written by Pranav Kulkarni | Published:June 23, 2012 1:55 am

Centre will provide counselling to seafarers & their kin who have been released from clutches of pirates

While measures to counter pirates on the sea are in place,but this could perhaps be the first attempt in the country to address the psychological impact piracy has on seafarers. City-based organizations — Company of Master Mariners of India,Pune chapter (CMMI),Institute of Marine Engineers Pune and Indian Maritime Foundation (IMF) along with Colonel (retd) Arun Joshi — have come together to launch a Trauma Management Care Unit (TMCU) for seafarers affected by piracy.

The centre,to be launched on Sunday — the eve of International Seafarers’ Day,will provide counselling and trauma care to the seafarers (and their families) who have been released from the clutches of pirates. Plans are also on to train seafarers to deal with captivity.

“Seafarers are usually strong-minded but the trauma one suffers in captivity is unmatched. Though pirates do not normally kill hostages,the family of those held captive also go through a torturous time. The unit will provide counseling to seafarers and their families,thus helping them to recover faster,” said Captain A Gole,secretary,CMMI.

The TMCU will be a mobile unit and assist the released hostages through psychoanalysis. To start with,it will be set up in the city and later be extended to other locations like Delhi,Chennai and Kolkata. Each unit will have a psychologist,psychiatrist and counsellors to help seafarers and their families cope with the emotional trauma.

According to the data shared by the organisations,there are about 83,500 vessels across the globe,of which 1,000 are owned by Indian companies. Of the 10 lakh maritime professionals,India has just 15,000. At present,Pune has about 1,000 such professionals. The city has five maritime institutes in the vicinity. As on February 2012,12 vessels were captured by Somali pirates and 27 Indians are still in captivity.

Plans are also on to introduce a capsule training for seafarers to help them cope with captivity should the situation arise. “This programme will be introduced within a month or two,” said Gole. Colonel Joshi,who played crucial role in designing the programme,added,“The programmes — both pre- as well as post-captivity — will help seafarers to understand their strengths,weaknesses and deal with the situation. Counselling will ensure faster recovery and help them regain control over their lives faster.”

The organisations now plan to approach shipping companies so that it can be offered to their employees.

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