How to become oiler in merchant navy

How to become an Oiler in Merchant Navy

An Oiler or Motorman is part of the ratings onboard a merchant navy ship. The oiler plays an important role in the maintenance, cleaning, and operation of blowers, motors, gears, and other equipment. He is also responsible for the purification and filtration of lubricant along with keeping a record of the oiling logs. They are a part of the Engine Department of the ship. 

Now the question is: How does one become an Oiler in Merchant Navy? There are two ways to become an oiler in merchant navy- first, through a course in GP rating and the other is Open CDC. We will explain both of these processes below-

GP Rating Course: To Become an Oiler in GP Rating

oiler in merchant navy

The candidates are required to enroll in a General Purpose Rating course. The duration of the course is 6 months and it also includes STCW courses as part of the curriculum. 

Following are the Top Colleges for GP Rating in India-

1. Training Ship (TS) Rahaman

2. National Union of Seafarers of India (NUSI), Maritime Academy

3. Great Eastern Institute of Maritime Studies

Read in more detail about the colleges, eligibility, and placements here.

Once the candidate completes the course they obtain their Indian CDC (Continuous Discharge Certificate) through the college itself. 

In case the student wasn’t placed during his GP Rating course duration, he then has to apply to companies to be able to join ship. 

How to Become an Oiler after GP Rating

Join Ship as a Trainee Wiper/ ET Seaman

Once the candidate joins ship they start at the rank of ET Seaman or Trainee wiper.

As a trainee wiper they are required to complete 9 months onboard. 

Trainee Wiper to Wiper

After completing the assigned onboard sea-time of 9 months, they earn their watchkeeping certificate issued by the Mercantile Marine Department office. The certificate is issued after applying at DG Shipping.

Once the watchkeeping certificate is received you get promoted to the rank of Wiper.

Wiper to Oiler

Oiler rank with CE Praneet Mehta on board ship

At the rank of Wiper, you are required to complete 12 months of sailing which should be reflected on your CDC ( e.g, duration spent on dry dock will not be included ). 

The wiper also has to fill out the Training Assessment Record (TAR) Book. 

After 12 months of sailing, you can finally apply for Certificate of Proficiency (COP) on the DG Shipping website. The COP is then issued by the Mercantile Marine Department (MMD). The process of issuing is a quick process that only takes around 2-3 days at max.

Once you obtain your COP you can contact your company to get promoted to the rank of Oiler or Motorman. But the decision lies in the hands of the company as they may choose to promote you or ask you to complete another sail as a wiper.

Finally, as per the company decision, you are promoted to the rank of Oiler/ Motorman.

Open CDC

Open CDC

The other way to join Merchant Navy as an Oiler is through Open CDC.

If you do not want to do a course in GP Rating you can instead complete just 4 STCW courses and then apply for CDC on the official DG Shipping website. This CDC is known as Open CDC. 

Although at first, it might seem like a faster and cheaper way to start your career in merchant navy. But, Open CDC has its own set of problems. The vacancies for freshers in the field are already limited and companies do not easily offer jobs to students with Open CDC. 

While the initial investment for obtaining an Open CDC is very minute, the investment becomes much greater later on in the career. This is because students have to pay huge sums of money to agents, to help them get sailing contracts. Therefore, you end up spending even more money than what you would have invested to enrol yourself in a GP Rating course. 

How to Become an Oiler after Open CDC 

The career path and progression are the same as after GP Rating. The only difference is that when you join a ship as an E.T. Seaman or Trainee Wiper with Open CDC you have to complete 12 months onboard instead of 9, to get your watchkeeping certificate from the Mercantile Marine Department (MMD) Office.

Merchant navy is a career that comes with spiking career growth in the early years of sailing. But this kind of growth is seen among the officer ranks. Therefore, the best way to join ship is to opt for PCM with English in your Classes 11 and 12th. With a good percentage, you can then opt for a course that prepares you to join as a cadet from the deck or engine side in order to become an officer after promotion. 

Read here for more detailed information on how to join merchant navy.

But for all those candidates who are only 10th pass or from a background in commerce or arts, GP Rating is the only option through which you can join merchant navy. It’s best to stay clear of Open CDC, as it can be very troublesome to get trapped in the web of agents. The best plan of action is to join one of the 3 colleges mentioned above, and no other. Always check the placement scenario for the college before making a final decision.

Happy Sailing!

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[…] through our blog – “How to Become an Oiler in Merchant Navy”, to know the detailed procedure of becoming an Oiler in the Merchant […]


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Aman Manwal

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