Chief Engineer

How to become Chief Engineer in Merchant Navy

To become a Chief Engineer in the Merchant Navy, one must first complete one of the following courses from formal maritime education and training which is typically obtained through an approved maritime college or maritime academy.

chief engineer
Chief Engineer Table

Most preferred among them are GME and BTECH MARINE ENGINEERING

After graduating, one must obtain a minimum of 6 months of Sea time as an Engine Cadet.


MEO Class 4
MEO Class 4

The required sea time for different type of ship are as follows for MEO Class IV.

  • Motor ship: -minimum of 6 months (183 days)
  • Steam ship: -A minimum of 6 months (183 days)
  • A Combined Steam and Motor: -minimum 8 months (4 months on motor +4 months on Steam) 

On the other hand, steamships are the one that runs using steam-powered engines.

  • The propulsion time required for motor ships and steamships is a minimum of 4 months (121 days)
  • The propulsion time required for combined steam and motor is 6 months (3 motor+ 3steam months)

COURSES: –These are the refresher courses each candidate is required before joining MEO class IV exams: –


After completing the sea time of engine cadet candidates should do a refresher course and then prepare for the MEO class IV exams: –

WRITTEN: – Written exams consists of the 6 papers

  1. Marine Engineering Knowledge General
  2. Marine Engineering Knowledge: Motor
  3. Ship Safety & Environmental Protection
  4. Marine Engineering Practice
  5. Ship Construction and stability 
  6. Marine Electro technology

The Total marks of the paper are 100 marks out of which 50% is required.

The candidates who clear the written exams appear for the oral’s exams 

Oral Exams: -There are total 4 papers in the orals 

  1. Function 3: – Controlling Operations of ships & care for persons on board at the operational level (COSCPOOL)
  2. Function 4: – Marine Engineering at Operational Level (MEOL)
  3. Function 5: -Electronics and Control Engineering at Operational Level (EECEOL)
  4. Function 6: – Maintenance & Repair at Operational Level (MROL) 

The passing marks for orals are 60%

Once you clear oral exams, you’ll be getting a waiting period as per the companies’ terms and conditions. Some companies make Jr.4EO for newly MEO CLASS IV COC holders, companies promote to 4th Engineer only after 6 months of successful Jr. Engineer on a ship.

4th Engineer to 3rd Engineer 

3rd Engineer
4th Engineer to 3rd Engineer
  • To become a 3rd Engineer, you need to gain enough experience working as a 4th Engineer on board different types of ships. There are no exams for the promotion to 3rd Engineer. People usually get promoted on getting a good appraisal report from the Chief Engineer. Good companies usually take a long time for giving promotions, and sometimes nearly takes 2-3 sails (15-18 months) for promotion
  • To get a good appraisal by your superiors, you need to perform well in your current role as a 4th Engineer. Take on additional responsibilities and duties and demonstrate your skills and competence in managing the ship’s machinery and systems. Perform all the duties like Engine Room watch keeping duties properly and knows how to deal in case of machinery breakdown.

Appraisal reports are sent to the company; the company verifies the candidate and then gives the promotion. Remember that promotions in the Merchant Navy are based on your skills, experience, and performance, so it is crucial to work hard, be proactive, and continuously improve your skills to increase your chances of getting promoted.


2nd Engineer
2nd Engineer

To get promoted as a 2nd Engineer you must clear MEO Class II exams and here is all information related to that.

The following are the requirements for getting an MEO class II COC.

  • Candidates must make sure they have completed 12 sea times as 4EO or 3EO, sea time even includes one contract of Jr. Engineer.
  • The minimum propulsion time is 8 months of sea time.
  • Min watch keeping on Main propulsion Machinery or UMS duties (on ships 750 kW or more).

Including the above requirements, the given below requirements are compulsory

  • 4 Months preparatory course as per STCW 2010.
  • Engine Room Simulator course as per STCW 2010.
  • All modular courses refresher as per STCW 2010.
  • Refresher FPFF
  • Refresher PSCRB
  • Refresher MFA
  • Refresher AFF
  • Ship security officer course

Written Papers: –There are 6 papers for MEO class II

  1. Marine engineering knowledge (General)
  2. Marine engineering knowledge (Motor)
  3. Marine Electro technology
  4. Marine Engineering practice 
  5. Naval Architecture
  6. Ship Safety, Environmental Protection Care

The total marks for written is of 100 marks out of which 50% is compulsory for passing.

Orals Papers: –There are four papers for MEO CLASS II orals

  1. FUNCTION 3- Naval Architecture and Safety (Controlling the operation of the ship and caring for persons onboard).
  2. FUNCTION 4b- Marine Engineering Knowledge (Motor and General).
  3. FUNCTION 5- Marine Electro Technology
  4. FUNCTION 6–Marine Engineering Practice.

The total percentage for passing orals is 60 %.

On getting the MEO class II ticket, it is not always necessary that you will be directly sailing as a 2/E, some companies give promotion only after you have 3-6 sailing experience as a 3EO or 4EO. On bulk carriers, you will get a faster promotion as compared to GAS carriers and tankers. On tankers the company give you a promotion only after excellent CEO remarks and after the company’s approval. Networking with your colleagues, supervisors, and senior officers can help you to know about any upcoming vacancies or promotions and can also be helpful in getting recommendations.


Chief Engineer
Chief Engineer

The MEO Class 1 Exam is a rigorous and challenging examination, and candidates must be well-prepared to pass it. The examination includes written tests, oral exams, and practical assessments, and covers various topics related to marine engineering, ship operations, safety, and management.

To prepare for the MEO Class 1 Exam, candidates should have a good understanding of marine engineering principles and practices, stay updated with the latest industry trends and regulations, and continuously improve their knowledge and skills through training and courses.

To get promoted as a Chief Engineer you must clear MEO Class I exams and here is all information related to that.

The following are the requirements for getting an MEO class I COC.

  • Candidates must have completed 24 Months of Sea time as an MEO CLASS IV COC and 18 months as MEO CLASS II COC.
  • Candidates must have completed 16 Months of propulsion Sea time as MEO CLASS IV COC and 12 months as MEO CLASS II COC.
  • Candidates should have sailed on at least 3000 KW propulsion power or more.

Including the above requirements, the given below requirements are compulsory

1). Engineering Management Course.

2). Machinery Space Simulator Training.

3). All Refresher courses if expired.

  • There are only one Written and orals exams required for clearing the MEO CLASS I examination I.e., Engineering at the Management level 
  • Written in the same as per IMU but orals are sometimes on the fate and the examiner’s mood and sometimes on the calibre and knowledge of the candidate. Most candidates get stuck in the orals for the above-mentioned factors.
  • Seafarers prefer Kandla, Kolkata, and Mumbai as the success rate is high there but people rarely go for Delhi, as the surveyors are very strict, and even if the person has superb preparation they get out.

CHIEF ENGINEER is the highest rank in the ship from the engine background.

This is how you finally become Chief Engineer.

Some extra brilliant candidates do EXTRA FIRST CLASS ENGINEERS, who want to become Surveyors like MMD Surveyor CLASS IV and CLASS II ORALS surveyors etc.

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