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Merchant Navy
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Eligibility and Course Duration Industry Size Industry Growth Individual Growth Best Colleges
The Merchant Navy is a non-combatant commercial fleet, which deals with transporting cargo and occasionally, passengers, by sea. Its fleet is therefore composed of passenger vessels, cargo liners, tankers, carriers, as well as other special types of vehicles. 25000 cr. 15%. Private shipping comp. Deck cadet to Captain. Lal Bahadur Shastri Nautical College, Mumbai
 

The Merchant Navy is a non-combatant commercial fleet, which deals with transporting cargo and occasionally, passengers, by sea. Its fleet is therefore composed of passenger vessels, cargo liners, tankers, carriers, as well as other special types of vehicles. A career in this field is full of adventure and long voyages to exotic places. Above all this, the excellent pay and promising promotional opportunities make the career lucrative and exciting in spite of all the hard work life and long absence from family and home.

The main positions open in the merchant navy are for navigating officers, radio officers and marine engineers. They are usually employed by shipping companies on a contractual basis, which is generally of six to nine months' duration. Earlier a career in this field was considered purely for men. Women were not generally known to take up jobs in merchant navy but the past few years have seen a positive change with many women taking up jobs as ship doctors and radio officers.

In Merchant Navy, major tasks performed are in three basic areas of a ship. The Deck, the Engine and the Service Department. There are thus, many career options that are available for any youngster who has dreams to join the merchant navy. The deck officers include the captain, chief officer, second officer, third officer and other junior officers. The engine department consists of the chief engineer, radio officer, electrical officer and junior engineers. The service department manages the kitchen, laundry, medical and other services. Jobs are available with shipping companies in India and other countries.

Prominent institutes conducting courses in this field are TS Chanakya, Mumbai and Marine Engineering Research Institute (MERI), in Kolkata and Mumbai.

 
Job Prospects

Merchant Navy is the backbone of international trade, carrying cargo across the globe. Without the merchant navy, much of the import-export business would grind to a halt. Therefore trained personnel is required for various departments of the ship and this widens the scope for employment in this field.

They are offered jobs in the following major areas :

  • By various shipping companies in the government and private sector.
  • Foreign shipping companies also offer good job prospects.
Career options

Deck Department

The Deck Officers Deck officer or navigation officer as the name suggests is in charge of the navigation of the ship. That particular department is called Deck department. The captain or the master of the ship is in charge of the ship. He is not only responsible for the safe navigation of the vessel but also for the discipline on the ship and safety of passengers, crew and the cargo. He must ensure the observance of national and international codes of conduct guiding sea transportation. The captain of the ship is further assisted by first mate, second mate and third mates. The First Mate / Chief officer is the right-hand man to the Captain; the second in-command. He overseers all the cargo planning, assists during navigation, allocates duties and work for the maintenance and upkeep of the ship to the Deck Cadets and deck crew, ensures that discipline and order are maintained. The Second Mate / Second officer, assistant to the First Mate is in-charge of checking all mails and keeping the navigational equipment and charts in good condition and also assists in navigational watches at sea and cargo watches at port. The Third Mate / Third officer is responsible for keeping safety equipments -the lifeboats, firefighting and signaling equipment in top condition; acts in the capacity of signal officer and assists with cargo work.

The deck department also has other staff with specific duties called 'ratings'. They act as look outs and helmsmen, assist with the securing of the ship as it docks at ports and help clean tanks and holds before the cargo is placed in them.

Engine Department

Marine Engineers Marine Engineers have the complete responsibility of the ship's engine room. The main personnel in this department is the Ship engineer/chief engineer who ensures safe and economic running of all engines, boilers, electrical, refrigerating and sanitary equipment, deck machinery and steam connections aboard the ship. He supervises the work of the engine-room crew and is assisted in his duties by the Second, Third, Fourth and Fifth Engineers and other junior personnel.

Second engineer looks after the day to day work in the engine room. Third engineer is in charge of the main engine, spare parts for the main engine, all purifiers, boilers, compressors etc. Fourth and fifth engineers are in charge of the numerous generators onboard ship as well as certain small pumps.

Besides the officers of the navigation and engineering teams most ships have a Radio Officer and an Electrical officer.The Radio Officer is in charge of the radio room and handles the operation of the wireless and transmitting of signals. Electrical Officer is responsible for the functioning and handling of all electrical equipment onboard the vessel. There is another one named seaconny, who ensures that the ship is on course and that the gangway at port is well-guarded.

Service Department

The work undertaken here revolves around the living and catering services for all the crew on board. A chief steward heads a large team of stewards, bakers, messmen etc. Apart from this, the department also has other services such as the services of Divers for underwater examination of the heel of the ship, propellers, pipes etc. Light Keepers, who operate light house signaling equipment to guide incoming and passing ships, and Nautical surveyors, who prepare charts of particular regions of the seas, with regard to topography and conditions of the sea.

Promotion

Promotions in Merchant Navy

Ministry of Surface Transport, Government of India, takes care of the training needs and conducts competency exam through the Directorate General of Shipping (DGS). 'Certificates of Competency' awarded by the DGS, is needed for promotion to the various respective classes.

Deck Department

A candidate joining as Deck cadet after finishing his bachelors in Nautical Science or through direct entry, is eligible to appear for his Second Officer/ Second Mate FG - Foreign Going Examination after 36 months of sailing. Lal Bahadur Shastry Nautical College, Mumbai which gives training for Second Officers Exam has made college attendance of 6 months compulsory to appear for the exam. Besides physics and Mathematics a student is tested in Ship stability and Construction, Meteorology, Principles and Practical navigation, Chart work; written as well as oral and the cadets knowledge of seamanship.

After completing 18 months of sailing time the third officer can appear for the Chief Officer/ First Mate Foreign Going Examination. Here again the candidate is required to attend 6 months classes in Lal Bahadur Shastry Nautical College, Mumbai. A further period of 18 months sailing time is required before a candidate can appear for Masters foreign Going Exam. The process of rising from a deck cadet to the master of a ship will take a minimum of at least 12 years.

Engineering Department

A candidate joining as Engine cadet/ Fifth Engineer officer/ Junior Engineer after finishing Bachelors in Marine Engineering is eligible to appear for class IV examination for promotion to the fourth Engineer or in some cases as Third Engineer. After completing further 18 months of sea time of which minimum 12 months is propelling time the candidate can appear for class II examination for promotion to Third Engineer or Second Engineer. Again on completion of 18 months sailing time candidate can appear for Class I examination for promotion to chief Engineer officer.

Remuneration

The starting salary varies between Rs 15,000 to Rs 20,000 a month. A person gets a variety of benefits such as free food, accommodation, paid leave, two-way free passage and facilities for families. In other words, the salary can be saved totally while one is on ship. The perquisites include bonus, holiday travel and other annual benefits. Foreign companies pay higher, and a starting salary of $ 1,500 to $ 2,500 can be expected.

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