Scope for Women in Merchant Navy

Scope for Women in Merchant Navy

Merchant Navy since its very inception has been a male-oriented profession. The maritime industry opened up its arms to women in the last couple of decades. According to the data released by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), there are around 2% of women seafarers in the shipping industry worldwide and 1% in India. The following blog will take you through the opportunities and scope for women in merchant navy.

Scope for Women in Merchant Navy

However, with time employment opportunities for women in the Maritime Sector have increased tremendously. According to a recent survey, there are an estimated 24,059 women seafarers serving onboard, which is a 45.8% increase compared to the report from 2015.

Initiatives Undertaken by IMO for Women Seafarers

In the last few years, the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) has taken an active initiative to increase the involvement of women in the shipping industry. In 2019 The Maritime Day’s theme was declared “Empowering Women in Maritime Community”. The IMO Assembly also adopted a resolution that proclaimed that the 18th of May would be recognised as ‘International Day for Women’ in the Maritime Industry.

However, there is still a lot of work to be done to significantly increase the ratio of women in the maritime sector. In this blog, we discuss the scope and future of women in Merchant Navy.

Career Opportunities Onboard 

Although the IMO’s gender program was started way back in 1988, it has only been in the last few years that the shipping industry acknowledged the huge gender disparity in the maritime sector. The last few years have seen a lot of rigorous discussions and talk about increasing the participation of women in Merchant Navy. 

Today there are a lot of above-average shipping companies that are actively recruiting women onboard their ships to increase the inclusivity of women in this field.

The opportunities for women onboard are the same as for men. There are three departments in Merchant Navy –

  1. Deck Department 
  2. Engine Department 
  3. Saloon Department 

Deck Department

women in Deck Department

The deck department onboard is managed by licensed deck officers under the supervision of the Captain/Master. The deck officers are primarily responsible for the safe navigation of the vessel. However, their duties also include handling the maritime cargo onboard, supervising the maintenance of the deck and upper hull structure, maintaining the stability of the vessel including loading and discharging ballast water, carrying out mooring operations, and anchoring the vessel. 

There are two ways to join the deck department as an officer – 

  1. Diploma in Nautical Science Leading to BSc degree
  2. BSc in Nautical Science 

Engine Department

women in Engine Department

The Engine department onboard is managed by licensed engineers who are responsible for the operation, maintenance, and repair of engines, boilers, pumps, generators, and other machinery important for the vessel’s safe operation. These engineers work under the supervision of the Chief Engineer who is the head of the engine department. 

Although, the majority of girls interested in joining the field of merchant navy, prefer the deck department over the engine department. The major reason for this preference is that girls consider the job of a deck officer to be easier than that of an engineer. Deck officers have more of a “White Collar Job” as they have to work in air-conditioned bridges or cargo control rooms most of the time. On the other hand, engineers have to work in hot engine rooms with temperatures of almost 40 degrees centigrade throughout the day.

There are three ways to become an Engineer Officer onboard –

  1. B.Tech/B.E. in Marine Engineering
  2. Graduate Marine Engineering 
  3. Diploma in Marine Engineering 

Electro-Technical Officer

Electro-Technical Officer

Women can also pursue the Electro-Technical Officer course through which they can serve as an Electro-Technical officer onboard. An ETO is a member of the engine department and works directly under the Chief Engineer. They are responsible for the operation and maintenance of all electrical equipment and machinery onboard.

Saloon Department 

Saloon Department 

This department deals with preparing and serving meals to the ship’s crew, maintaining and cleaning the galley and mess room, accommodation decks, etc. There is no officer in the Saloon department and although women can join this department if they want, it is not advisable. Most shipping companies are still a bit hesitant to recruit women in the crew department and hence job opportunities for women are less in this department when compared to others. But in case you’re still interested to join this department then you can pursue GP Rating.

GP Rating

GP Rating

The ship’s crew consists of officers and ratings, wherein the officers are involved with more important tasks onboard, ratings serve onboard to assist the duty officers and for other physical menial tasks such as carrying out maintenance on deck/machinery, cleaning/wiping, painting, de-rusting, etc. As mentioned above although women can join GP Rating if they want to, it is not advisable as the job opportunities are very limited for women in GP Rating. Candidates who pursue GP Rating can join the Deck/Engine/Saloon side as a rating. 

Shore Based Career Opportunities

The jobs and career opportunities in Merchant Navy are not just limited onboard but include a plethora of job opportunities in shore-based offices. Below we list some of the onshore career options for women once they decide to quit sailing. 

  1. Harbour Management & Pilotage 
opportunities for women in merchant navy
Reshma Nilofer, first woman Marine Pilot of India

Ports are some of the biggest sites for employment in the shipping industry. These ports have to evolve continuously in order to keep up with the competition. As a result, they require talented and skilled people to grow. Technical work, administration, management, vessel traffic services, and pilotage are some of the employment options in port operations. 

  1. Maritime Lecturer
Maritime Lecturer

There are a large number of maritime colleges that require professionals who have first-hand experience of working onboard to serve as lecturers in their respective institutions. Seasoned seafarers, who have worked onboard can commit themselves to such institutes to educate the next generation of budding seafarers. 

  1. Maritime Author

Becoming a maritime author is an alternate career option for experienced seafarers. Such veteran seafarers know exactly what is required from junior officers for them to clear their competency exams. They can write books that can prove to be effective in aiding aspirants to gain an in-depth understanding of various topics.

  1. Maritime Surveyor
Maritime Surveyor

Any seafarer who holds the certificate of competency as a Master on a foreign-going vessel is eligible to apply for the post of a class surveyor who is responsible for checking the seaworthiness of a ship. The same goes for any engineer who holds the certificate of competency as a Chief Engineer on a foreign-going vessel.

  1. Ship Broker
Ship Broker

Shipbrokers are negotiators between the ship owners and the charterers who use ships to transport cargo. This profession has grown in popularity in recent years and it requires detailed knowledge about ships and cargoes, methods of loading and discharging various cargoes, etc. 

Initially, girls can feel a bit out of the loop on a vessel as the rest of the crew members will all be males most of the time, but once they get accustomed to the ways and culture of working onboard a ship then there’s nothing that can stop them as we all know how mentally tough women can be.

It is a job that requires an individual to be mentally strong as one has to stay away from the comfort of his/her home for a span of 6-9 months. A major reason why girls are discouraged from joining the merchant navy is the existence of orthodox social norms present in our country, and the idea of girls being delicate. 

Despite all the recent efforts by the IMO and the national governing bodies of various countries, there is still an astronomical gap between the employment of men and women in the shipping industry. However, in the current scenario, many shipping companies are undertaking active initiatives for increasing the number of women in their workforce both onboard their fleet and at their shore-based offices. Moreover, successful woman marine engineers and deck officers have now become an inspiration for many girls who dream of sailing on the high seas.

“Give a girl the right shoes and she can conquer the world.”

Marilyn Monroe

If you want to know about IMUCET and how to join the Merchant navy, you can contact.

JMDi Academy

Contact no:                           +919051206790, +917417085906
JMDi Academy’s Result
IMUCET Decoded Telegram Group

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Muskan bisht

Sir girls we apply gp rating course with commerce stream??

Praneet Mehta

Hi Muskan bisht
We suggest you that if you can repeat 12th with pcm then do it and get more than pcm 70% and English 60% then join Merchant Navy as a officer.

If you have a lot of doubts and clear on calll with Chief Engineer Praneet Mehta sir and our courselling team then we would recommend go through our paid portal link and clear your all doubts

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Vibhuti gurav

Sir मी एक ITI student हु मी Electronics mechanics trade किया है तोक्या मी merchant navy mai job कर सक्ती हू क्या

Praneet Mehta

Hello Vibhuti Gurav,
Yes tm GP rating ka course kar sakte ho Great Eastern Maritime studies se.

Team Merchant Navy Decoded.

Vibhuti gurav

Sir kya mujhe aur information Milne ke liye apka phone number ka Jo mujhe sahi information denge unka number mil sakta hai kya Jo mujhe iske clg admission process fees ke bare me totally bata sake

Praneet Mehta

Whatever the questions you having or doubts having regarding Merchant Navy or Merchant Navy joining, for solving your query we have appointed Merchant Navy Experts who will give guidance in proper direction which helps you for clearing your doubts. So you need to go through our ASK YOUR QUERY PORTAL

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Hiba Zafar

Can girls get admission in T.S. Rehman under GP rating?

rinkey kushawaha

sir mene painter general iti ki hai kya me merchant navy ka coures kar sakti hu

Aman Manwal

Hi Rinkey, to know about the eligibility in Merchant Navy, you can check out our Merchant Navy Eligibility calculator.

Shini yadav

Sir Hindi medium se B.a graduation kar ke kya ladkiya marchant Navy join kar sakti hai

Aman Manwal

Yes absolutely, you can join merchant navy but your 12th PCM percentage matter more than B.A percentage. So, to check your eligibility check out our Eligibility Calculator and find out which company or college you are eligible for.

Shini yadav

Sir gp rating liye Haight kitni honi chahiye

Aman Manwal

Minimum height required for GP Rating is 157. If you are above 157cm then you can go for GP Rating. But before that you need to check your eligibility for GP Rating with our GP Rating Eligibility calculator