The SOCIETY OF CHIEF ENGINEERS MARINE (SOCEM) Sri Lanka is an exclusive group of Class One Marine Chief Engineers, in the possession of a plethora of marine engineering knowledge. Hands on experiences of Maritime Engineering incidents, some good, some bad have cultured in our members diversified Procedures of Problem solving, trouble shooting, rectification methods to various marine engineering bottle necks available at our fingertips. SOCEM also serves as a platform for the old and the young engineers to meet & Discuss complex Marine Engineering problems and Solutions while sharing their knowledge & experiences with each other. SOCEM facilitates continuous improvement of its members by interaction & development of ones professional knowledge base by organizing technical seminars and presentations while communicating of information on new developments in the field of Marine Engineering. The Mission of SOCEM is to provide a coherent database of MARINE ENGINEERING knowledge for the Maritime fraternity to share while we move the world.
SOCEM provides the basis for all Sri Lankan marine chief engineers to identify themselves as members of one single coherent body, while providing opportunities for the sharing of knowledge & experience. SOCEM also promotes collective cooperation towards achieving continuous improvement and further developing professional knowledge. SOCEM leads the way in providing its members the most effective platform & resource base to access the latest developments in the field of marine engineering and its allied fields.
The Society referred to as ‘SOCEM’ is an exclusive group of Class One, Steam, Motor or Combined (Both Steam and Motor) Marine Chief Engineers, currently enjoying a membership of 288 active members. They are either at sea sailing as Chief Engineers on very large crude carrying tanker ships (VLCC), Oil and bulk combination carriers, large bulk cargo carriers, Passenger ships, Crane Barges of large capacity, Offshore oil rigs, Offshore oil storage tanker vessels, FPSO Floating Production and Storage and Offloading Facility, Tugboats, Yachts and Dynamic positioning tug and anchor handling boats, to name a few. Where there is an Engine on a Floating Facility there has been a Marine Engineer. Marine Engineers may also be found in various shore-based organizations and businesses not limited to the field of Marine Engineering. A Marine engineer by virtue of its name sails on merchant vessels or offshore floating structures or any floating facility but is blessed with the ability to fit into a variety of other disciplines of engineering. This is due to his versatility and the knowledge gathered through the wide-ranging experiences encountered at sea. Whether it be the laying of tarmacs for airports, re-matting of highways, or as Chief Engineers in seven Star hotels to handling of large manufacturing plants, Design Manufacture of mobile tanktainers, or whether it be the construction of 40 foot and 20-foot container trailers, expanding to the manufacture of rail carriages; not excluding High Communication Towers. Heading Undersea Hotel Manufacturers dockyards and CEO’s of various Engineering works. Exclusively employed as Classification Society Surveyors, Safety Inspectors and Designated Persons ashore, or as Port State Controllers, they have proved their capability and adaptability without question.
The foregoing lists a few of the top jobs currently held by our Marine Chief Engineering fraternity which proves the point that a Marine Chief Engineer’s knowledge base can be encyclopedic and therefore best utilized by Sri Lankans whenever possible, owing to their wide-ranging knowledge on a variety of subjects and hands-on approach. By the early 1990’s there were at least seventy overseas qualified Marine Engineers who were employed onboard merchant ships or in shore-based establishment such as Sri Lanka Ports Authority, Colombo Dockyard Ltd, Walker & Sons & Co Ltd. It was due to the enthusiasm displayed by those Marine Chief Engineers who were by then employed in shore-based companies that paved the way for the establishing of the Society of Chief Engineers (Marine) in 1993.
The idea of such a Society was the brainchild of two Marine Chief Engineers – they are Rohan Wijeyaratna and Vajira Piyasena, with the former doing the bulk of the work involved. The first Chairman was Comdr. Eustace Matthysz while for three successive years, Rohan Wijeyaratna served as its secretary. Soon the Society attracted other shore-based Chief Engineers such as Nihal Perera, Nimal Gunewardena, H.K. Wijewardene, Ajantha de Abrew, Jayantha Rajapakse, Gihan Perera, Hiran Gooneratne, Lalantha Fernando and Maithri Mendis along with a host of others who wished to be a part of the Society to share their experiences, recall memories, and enjoy a chilled beer amidst all the conviviality. The current name was proposed by Nimal Gunewardena and it was promptly accepted, with its abbreviated form – SOCEM – now widely used for convenience.
SOCEM since then has evolved and it now provides the base for all Sri Lankan Marine Chief Engineers to gather as one coherent unit, while providing the opportunity to meet and share their knowledge and experiences. SOCEM also facilitates continuous improvement and development of professional knowledge base, by organizing technical presentations and seminars and communication of information on new developments in the field of marine engineering.
The Society of Chief Engineers (Marine) as the only existing professional body for Marine Chief Engineers in Sri Lanka invites and encourages all qualified Marine Chief Engineers to join and help maintain its status as an independently recognized professional consultative body of Marine Engineers. SOCEM has also been accepted as a member at the Organization of Professional Associations Sri Lanka, and this was made possible through the untiring efforts of Saman Kumarasinghe and a few other dedicated SOCEM members from the committee at the time. By virtue of their being SOCEM members, they are automatically qualified to apply for, and obtain their OPA membership. This carries with it a great advantage since it signifies equal status for marine engineers with those from other fields of engineering, which are already recognized by the OPA.