Years back in 1991, after joining shipping, my first voyage abroad was to Vancouver, Canada. As usual, for most new seafarers, my first destination after stepping on to a foreign port was the Seafarer’s Club- to make a phone call to my mother. But, the ambiance of the Club, the facilities they provide and the warmth and compassion with which they entertain the seafarers- it was truly amazing!!!. In my ten years of seafaring, I must have visited atleast fifty seafarer clubs across the world; and I have always wondered when can we have a similar facilities for our seafarers in an Indian port.
Having left the sea life and after 15 yrs of association with Maritime Administration, it is my pleasure and honour to announce the inauguration of the new building of the Merchant Navy Club, Kochi on 21st October 2016, by the Director General of Shipping. And believe me- the facilities there for our maritime community will be comparable with any of its counterparts across the world.
It is internationally recognized that the seafarers, after weeks and months of isolated life onboard ships need shore based recreational and welfare facilities within their reach to refresh and recuperate themselves and ‘seafarers’ Club’ is therefore an inseparable part of any international Port facility.
Merchant Navy Club at Cochin was established in 1943, under the British regime, and when the British withdrew in 1947 they left behind an indispensable and significant meeting hub for the mariners of Kochi. In 1972, it was brought under the management of a Charitable Society, under the custodianship of the Director General of Shipping, Government of India. The Principal Officer, Mercantile Marine Department, Kochi, a subordinate office of the Ministry of Shipping is the ex-officio Chairman of the Association.
The Merchant Navy Club, Kochi, today, provides a host of facilities for the maritime community- Seafarer Hostel with A/C & Non-A/C accommodation, modern swimming pool, A/C convention centre, Party halls, multi-cuisine restaurant, Business centre, Lounges, Snooker & other recreation facilities etc.
To cater to the needs of the fast growing Port of Cochin, Govt of India was kind enough to construct a new building for the Merchant Navy Club, which will have two more Lounges, multi-purpose halls, Billiards & Indoor recreation centre, Suites & Executive rooms etc.
The building will be inaugurated on Friday, the 21st October 2016, by the Director General of Shipping, in the presence of Capt. A.K. Sharma, CMD, Shipping Corporation of India. The public function will be followed by a dance concert by renowned Classical dancer Dr. Methil Devika and dinner as usual.
On behalf of the Management Committee of the Merchant Navy Club, Kochi, I take this opportunity to invite to grace this occasion, each and everyone connected with shipping at Kochi, not to mention our beloved seafarers and their families….
Please do share this with your friends as a proud show-piece of the maritime community of Kochi…..
With Warm Regards,
From time immemorial, the purpose of a navy has been to influence, and sometimes to decide, issues on land. This was so with the Greeks of antiquity; the Romans, who created a navy to defeat Carthage; the Spaniah, whose armada tried and failed to conquer England; and most eminently, in the Atlantic and Pacific during two world wars. The sea has always given man inexpensive transport and ease of communication over long distances. The sea has supplied mobility, capability, and support throughout Western history, and those failing in the sea-power test — notably Alexander, Napoleon and Hitler — also failed the longevity one.
– Edward L. Beach, “Keepers of the Sea”
The custom of celebrating Mariners’ Nite in Cochin was started in 1993 when it was felt necessary to provide an opportunity to the Merchant Marine Officers’ fraternity in and around Cochin to have a get-together with their families. Come and Join us in the celebration of being a Mariner at ‘The Mariners Nite Cochin 2016’.
A British Harbour Engineer by name Sir Robert Bristow arrived Cochin under the instructions of Lord Willingdon with a mission to construct an approach channel from the deep sea to the inner harbour of Cochin. He joined the services of the Madras government at the age of 39, and came to Kochi on 13 April 1920.
For the next twenty one years, he was involved with the construction of the port and succeeded in transforming Kochi into one of the safest harbours in the peninsula reclaiming 3.2 km² of land, now called the Willingdon Island, the heart of Kochi…
On August 11 – 1935, Bristow proudly proclaimed to the world through the BBC: I now live on a large Island made from the bottom of the sea, called Willingdon Island. From the upper floor of my house, I look down on one of the finest harbour in the East and perhaps the most beautiful port in the world…
Bristow returned to England on April 13, 1941 and died in September 1966 at the age of 85.
The recreation room of the MNC was deservingly named after this architect of modern Kochi..
When the first of all Seamen welfare facilities was started in the Port of Cochin in 1943, it was only natural that it was named after this British liberal politician and a great visionary… thus was the birth of the favorite hub of many mariners of Kochi-
Port of Cochin, the Queen of Arabian sea housed in the Willingdon island is one of the major ports in the country and the one earmarked for a spurt of development activities in the coming years…
It is a located on a man-made island created from the materials dredged while deepening Port of Cochin and named after Lord Willingdon, the erstwhile governor of Madras and the 32nd Viceroy of India who was instrumental in the implementation of this mammoth project…..