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Manager Su-Nav committed to having cadets on every ship

Photo: Su-Nav Sachit Sahoonja, CEO of Su-Nav[54].jpg
Su-Nav is a relatively new name to the world of third-party ship management but has a strong commitment to training for the future including having cadets on board all vessels it manages.

Founded in 2019 Su-Nav is headquartered in Chennai, India with another office in Singapore, and new office opening in Dubai. Su-Nav CEO Sachit Sahoonja comes a lengthy career both at sea and ashore with the world’s largest ship manager V.Ships before striking out his own with a couple of former colleagues in July 2019. Taking this step Sahoonja says he believes there was a space for smaller, alternative manager that would “stick to the basics”.

The company’s name SuNav reflects this back-to-basics approach and means “good ship” in Sanskrit. “We want a good ship and that's all I think every owner is wanting is just a good ship,” he tells Seatrade Maritime News in a recent interview.

Despite enduring the difficulties of the pandemic and the company’s offices being closed for six months early in its existence Su-Nav has today grown its fleet to 33 ships under management. Something that certainly marks Su-Nav out from the crowd in the third-party management business is that it has a policy of having cadets on all the vessels it manages.

It is a common complaint from managers that they want to have cadets onboard vessels but principals don’t want to pay for having trainees on their ships, so how has Su-Nav been able to achieve this?

Sahoonja explains that all the ships under its management have two cadets onboard equating to around 60 – 70 trainees at one time. To date 75 have completed their training and nine who are now officers on board its ships and over the next two years the manager will have 60 more junior officers.  

“So, you can imagine we have 60 – 70 cadets all the time on our ships and these people will come back [and work for us],” he explains. By doing this he says there are trying to provide a future solution for their owners that they are not hunting in the market for seafarers.

In terms of persuading owners of the requirement to have cadets on board the disruption brought about to the crewing sector by the Covid pandemic and more recently the war in Ukraine helped Su-Nav’s cause in convincing them that need their own cadets for the future. “Now the owners are getting used to this idea that anything can happen. You need your own crew, you need people who have been with you, you need people who know your culture,” he explains.

As result Su-Nav has been able to convince owners that in three years time they will have officers for their ships, and be paying first year wages, rather than second or third year wages if sourcing crew from the market. In the longer-term he believes these officers will stay with the company becoming chief officers and captains.

Sahoonja says that seafarers will be the people who allow them to continue expanding the company in the future so are most important building block at this time.

Speaking of expansion Su-Nav plans to have its Dubai office up and running by the first quarter of this year a location that Sahoonja believes managers “cannot be ignore at this time”.

“Whoever was in Singapore and Hong Kong will definitely be in Dubai as well,” he says.