Jobs in Merchant Navy

Merchant Navy Jobs

Merchant Navy is a term used for the commercial shipping sector which is responsible for transporting goods and cargo throughout the world. People who sail onboard these merchant ships are called seafarers or mariners, and they perform various jobs in the merchant navy. Their primary responsibility is to ensure the safety of the vessel and cargo while transporting it from one country to another.

Jobs In Merchant Navy

Merchant Navy is not just a Profession, It’s a Lifestyle, as you’ll be spending a major part of your life onboard ships, you’ll get accustomed to the ways and culture of working on ships which will remain with you throughout your life not just while you’re onboard. If you want a life full of adventure, thrill, and challenges, then this profession will not let you down. As every day on a merchant vessel comes with new challenges and opportunities to learn something new. 

But don’t get misguided by the pictures of seafarers wearing crisp white uniforms, earning high lucrative salaries, and travelling exotic ports. This profession is much more than what you see on the internet or on social media. You’ll have to work tirelessly day and night depending on the schedule of your vessel, there will be no fixed work schedule, and initially as a fresher you can just forget about rest or sleep on board ships. You have to be physically and mentally tough if you want to survive in this profession.  

If you have the will and determination to work hard and face challenges head-on without hesitating then merchant navy is an ocean of opportunities and you can dive right into it.

Merchant Navy Jobs at Sea

Jobs in Merchant Navy at Sea

Today there are thousands of Ship Management and Ownership companies who hire seafarers to work onboard their vessels to look after the safe operation and maintenance of the vessel. There are many different kinds of vessels such as Bulk carriers, Container ships, RO-RO vessels, ferries, Tankers (Oil/Gas/Chemical), etc. 

Now, there are different departments in merchant navy and each department requires a different kind of skill set. Depending on your preference and your interest you can either join the Deck department, Engine Department, or Salon department.

Merchant Navy Job at Deck Department

Jobs in Merchant Navy : Deck Department

The deck department consists of licensed deck officers who work under the Master/Captain. The deck officers do various jobs onboard the ship but their primary responsibility is ensuring the safe navigation of the vessel. Along with this, they are also responsible for the cargo onboard and its safe loading and discharging, maintaining the stability of the vessel including ballasting and de-ballasting, mooring operations, anchoring the ship, and ensuring the maintenance of the deck and accommodation. 

Ranks in merchant navy

Deck Officer Career Progression

Deck Cadet < 3rd Officer < 2nd Officer < Chief Officer < Captain

Deck Rating Career Progression

Trainee OS < OS < AB < Bosun

CaptainOverall in charge of the vessel and holds the ultimate command of the vessel.
Chief OfficerA certified watchkeeper and responsible for cargo operations.
2nd OfficerShip’s navigator and creates the passage plans, also the designated communication officer, and a watchkeeping officer.
3rd OfficerIn charge of the fire fighting and life-saving appliances onboard, and a watchkeeping officer.
Deck CadetTrainee under the Chief Officer.
BosunHead of the crew department.
AB(Able-Seaman)Assists duty officer in bridge watchkeeping, mooring operation, cargo watches and carries out maintenance of deck and accommodation.
OS(Ordinary Seaman)Required to work on a ship for a set period of time in order to be certified as an Able-Seaman.
PumpmanResponsible for the entire deck machinery and the liquid cargo system.

Merchant Navy Job at Engine Department

Jobs in Merchant Navy : Engine Department

The engine department consists of licensed marine engineers who work under the Chief Engineer. They are responsible for the operation, maintenance, and repair of the propulsion system and support systems for the crew, passengers, and cargo. The engine department is considered equally important to the deck department as trained engineers are required to handle the machinery on a ship.

Engineer Officer Career Progression

5th Engineer < 4th Engineer < 3rd Engineer < 2nd Engineer <Chief Engineer

Engine Rating Career Progression

Fitter < Motorman < Wiper < Trainee Fitter/Wiper

Chief EngineerResponsible for the operation and maintenance of all engineering equipment on the ship and supervises all engineers and engine ratings within the department.
2nd EngineerSupervises the daily maintenance and operation of the engine room.
3rd EngineerThe third engineer is usually in charge of boilers, fuel, auxiliary engines, condensate, and feed systems.
4th EngineerThe Fourth Engineer’s duty is to follow his engine rounds schedule in the engine room and manage the working of machines assigned to him. Generally, a Fourth Engineer looks after purifiers and compressors on the ship.
5th EngineerTrainee under the 2nd Engineer.
Electro-Technical OfficerResponsible for the technical and electrical aspects of the vessel.
FitterSpecialises in welding, fabrication, etc. 
MotormanAssists the duty engineer during engine room watch, performs menial tasks and assists engine officers during maintenance.
WiperResponsible for keeping the machinery spaces clean and tidy.
Trainee Wiper/FitterRequired to work on a ship for a set period of time before getting promoted to Wiper or Fitter.

Merchant Navy Job in Saloon Department

Jobs in Merchant Navy : Saloon Department

The Salon Department is made up of service personnel and typically refers to the galley (kitchens). These crew members’ are primarily responsible for preparing and serving meals for the ship’s personnel and maintaining general cleanliness in the accommodation of the ship.

Chief Cook – The senior-most member of the salon department and as the name suggests is responsible for preparing meals for the ship’s personnel as well as supervising inventory and ordering supplies.

Steward – Assists the Chief Cook with meal preparation, dishwashing, general cleaning of the galley, accommodation spaces, and officer’s cabins as well.

Onshore Jobs in Merchant Navy

Many Seafarers quit sailing in the later stage of their careers and pursue onshore jobs in the shipping industry. Onshore Jobs as the name suggests means situated or occurring on land, so basically, these are land-based jobs where you don’t really have to sail even though most of them are related to the shipping industry. Some of the onshore job opportunities for seafarers are given below – 

Marine Surveyor

Marine Surveyor

A marine surveyor inspects, surveys a vessel to assess, monitor and report on their condition and inspects damage caused to the vessel and the cargo. Marine surveyors inspect the equipment intended for new or existing vessels to ensure compliance with various standards. Marine surveys include the structure, machinery and equipment (navigational, safety, radio, etc.) and general condition of a vessel and/or cargo. Marine surveyors are highly qualified and technically sound and are usually selected after a very thorough evaluation as vessels ranging from small ferries to large crude oil carriers are approved to sail based on their judgement.

Marine Pilot 

Marine Pilot 

A Marine Pilot is a seasoned mariner who manoeuvres the vessel through dangerous, congested waters, river mouths, and harbours. Marine pilot needs to be really experienced and skilled in navigation as they are required to have immense knowledge about waterways, depths currents, and hazards. In order to obtain the title, a maritime pilot, requires being an expert ship handler licensed or authorized by a recognized pilotage authority.

Lecturers In Colleges/Universities 

Lecturers In Colleges/Universities 

There are many maritime colleges and universities around the globe that hire seasoned mariners as lecturers for their respective institutions. They need people who have first-hand experience working on a merchant vessel so that they can enlighten their students with their experiences.

Ship Superintendent 

Ship Superintendent 

A ship superintendent ensures that the necessary repair work is being carried out on the vessel especially during dry dock. A ship superintendent’s position in the shipping industry is really important as he/she is bestowed with really great responsibilities. He/she has the documents that specify the necessary repairing and conditioning required for a ship and he/she needs to reassure that the repairing and reconstruction of the ship is being carried out properly in the allocated dry dock or shipyard.

Maritime Lawyer 

Maritime Lawyer 

A maritime lawyer is an attorney who specializes in laws that pertain to navigable waters. However, these specialized attorneys focus on issues related to maritime law. Maritime law applies to incidents that take place on navigable waters, these laws apply to anyone travelling on the high seas. This includes commerce, the interaction between seafarers and employers, lost cargo, navigation, and leisure travel.

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Kapil shukla


Vijay Gupta

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Praneet Mehta

Much thanks, Nikhil.

-Team merchant navy decoded

Praneet Mehta

Hi Nikhil, kindly refer to this blog for all details regarding GP Rating.

– Team merchant navy decoded

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