GP RATING- Ranks, Duties and Departments
Last updated on July 20th, 2022 at 05:16 am
Table of contents
Ratings is a general term for all skilled seafarers who generally perform support work for Officers in all divisions. The job entails a wide variety of activities that are critical to the ship’s safe operation and upkeep. In the following paragraphs we will cover the duties carried by the various GP Ratings or ranks in different departments onboard ship.
Deck Ratings are responsible for steering the ship, keeping watch, and assisting the Navigation (Deck) Officer with a variety of navigational, operational, and cargo responsibilities. In port, you would secure the ship to the dock, do maintenance, and contribute to the vessel’s security.
Engine Room Ratings are in charge of maintaining shipboard machinery by performing routine oiling, greasing, and servicing, repairing, and fitting equipment parts, and assisting engineering Officers in monitoring the smooth and safe operation of the main plant (ship’s engine) and other critical equipment.
Deck Ratings or Ranks:
- Deck Fitter
- Able-Bodied Seaman (AB)
- Ordinary Seaman (OS)
- Trainee OS
Engine Ratings or Ranks:
- Trainee Fitter / Trainee Wiper
When the company feels that the (Able-Bodied Seaman) AB is fully experienced and in possession of the necessary abilities, he is promoted to the level of Bosun. A bosun must be well-versed in seamanship skills and must be well-versed in knots, hitches, bends, whips, and splices for anchoring the vessel, among other things.
Bosuns’ primary responsibilities focus around the ship’s deck. The Bosun is a member of the deck department, and one of his responsibilities is to manage the vessel’s deck crew. Under the supervision of the Chief Officer (and eventually the Master), the bosun is also engaged in the planning, scheduling, and assignment of tasks to the deck crew of the ship.
Bosuns are responsible for:
- Planning the daily work plan under the supervision of the Chief Officer and allocating the necessary duties to the relevant Deck crew members. A position that requires greater experience, for example, will be allocated to an AB rather than an OS.
- Ensuring that the job allocated to the team is led into completion.
- Maintaining the ship’s Deck; chores include chipping, painting, polishing, and general Deck maintenance.
- Maintaining the ship’s windlass and winches to guarantee optimal functioning during stations. Further, carrying out general repair work onboard, as and when required.
- Being meticulous with the ship’s firefighting features, as well as ensuring that other Deck workers are thorough as well.
- In charge of the ship’s Deck stores, paint locker, Bosun shop, and all other such areas as designated by the Chief Officer.
- Ensuring that the mooring operations, anchoring, or the vessel are carried out efficiently;
- Informing the Chief Officer of the progress of the Deck Work being carried out; and,
- Serving as the liaison between the Officers and the crew in terms of shipboard work.
- Deck Fitters / Pumpman
Deck Fitters are rarely available on Ships these days. Generally, on Bulk Carriers, if the Vessel is in bad condition, then Deck fitters are available so that general welding and fitting work on Deck does not suffer, when the Engine fitter is busy. On tankers, the role of Deck fitters is done by Pumpman who is good in fitting, welding and other jobs on Deck, along with taking care of the Pump room (a room where all big pumps are fitted especially on Crude Oil Tankers).
- Engine Fitters
As the name implies, an Engine Fitter is primarily responsible for correctly fitting the engine and other electrical elements necessary in a ship’s Engine Room. These individuals are vital because of the excellent technical and fitting abilities they gain over time. A ship cannot function well without an Engine Fitter on board.
3. Able-Bodied Seaman (AB)
An Able Seaman, commonly known as an Able-Bodied Seaman or AB, a competent seaman is a sailor with a notable period of experience at sea (at least two years of sea experience).
Duties of an Able-Bodied Seaman-
An Able-Bodied Seaman’s tasks include watchkeeping on Bridge along with the Duty Officer and also steering the ship manually as and when required, as well as being an expert in life-threatening scenarios and adverse weather situations.
According to the ship’s requirements, they are obligated to perform watchkeeping or as a day worker (carrying out maintenance on deck), or possibly a mix of these tasks, depending on the needs of a vessel. They are also expected to assist with cargo loading and unloading as well as vessel mooring.
Furthermore, the seaman must exhibit understanding of nautical vocabulary and other important procedures outside the vessel, such as the main knots, splices, hitches, and bends, among others.
4. Ordinary Seaman (OS)
Are responsible for working on a ship for a set period of time in order to be certified as an Able-Seaman.
Primary Responsibilities of an OS-
- Pursue certification as an Able Seaman.
- Watchkeeping on Bridge along with the Deck Officer.
- Serve at a lookout duty.
- Take the steering wheel and manoeuvre the Ship as and when required.
- Clean the ship and do maintenance on it.
- Locate and remove any rust accumulations.
- To Scale, buff, and paint Decks.
- Clean the Deck by scrubbing, sweeping, and washing it.
- Join wire and rope.
- Disassemble, rig, overhaul, and store cargo-handling equipment, stationary rigging, and running gear.
- Inspect cargo for signs of wear and tear, damaged or compromised fasteners, shifting, or any other type of noncompliance.
- Perform Boat launch and recovery.
A motorman, also known as a Qualified Member of The Engineering Department (QMED), is the most prominent and senior-most rank in a ship’s Engine Room. The motorman is responsible for the maintenance and repair of Engine Room, fire room, machine shop, and steering-Engine Room equipment. The motorman inspects and documents the status of equipment such as pumps, turbines, distillation plants, and condensers. The motorman lubricates and maintains machinery and equipment such as generators, steering systems, lifeboats, and sewage disposal systems, as well as cleaning and restoring tools and equipment.
A Wiper aboard a ship is majorly responsible for the upkeep of the vessel. On ships, a Wiper’s responsibilities include:
- Cleaning the Engine Room.
- Maintaining the working space.
- Performing general maintenance of the engine department.
- Assisting other crew members on the ship with various responsibilities.
- Work as a member of the watch team in Engine Room.
- Assist engineers aboard with different responsibilities.
- To stand in for Qualified Members of The Engine Department (QMED) as necessary.
A Wiper’s tasks include maintaining the Engine Room and the remainder of the vessel. However, this is no simple work. And yet, if one is interested in a maritime profession, a Wiper marine job would be the perfect way to get to experience and understand ‘living aboard ship’.
7. Trainee Fitter
After clearing the GP rating course for fitting, the candidate could work as a Trainee Fitter on a Merchant Navy Ship.
The candidate would be promoted to Fitter after getting some experience as a Trainee Fitter.
Normally, a Trainee Fitter must complete at least three contracts before being considered for advancement. However, it’s important to consider that the promotional criteria may differ from one company to the next.
In terms of duties and obligations, the Trainee Fitter must do the same tasks as the Fitter. Again, as we all know, as they advance in their careers, their tasks and responsibilities grow.
8. Steward Department
The Steward Department is made up of service personnel and typically refers to the galley (kitchens).
These crew members’ primary responsibilities include preparing and serving meals for the ship’s personnel as well as general cleanliness aboard the accommodation of the ship. Proper culinary instruction from an educational institution, as well as experience in the food service sector, as well as endorsements and basic certifications, are necessary. This vital department usually consists of three ratings, which may overlap in their tasks depending on the size of the ship.
Chief Cook: The most senior member of the Steward’s Department, with supervisory responsibilities. In general, the Steward guides other workers on everyday tasks such as cooking and serving meals, cleaning and maintenance, and supervising inventory and ordering supplies.
Steward Assistant, often known as an Assistant Cook, is the entry-level post in the Steward’s Department. Assistants often assist Chief Cook with meal preparation, dish washing, and general cleaning of galley, common accommodation spaces and Officer’s cabin as well.
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