What Is Merchant Navy ?
THE MERCHANT NAVY - A brief introduction
1. The Merchant Navy is the name given to the international commercial shipping industry. It is made up of a large number of shipping companies who recruit their own Officer Cadets. Merchant seafarers, both officers and ratings, are civilians employed by these companies. Companies vary greatly in the size of ships, types of ships and areas of the world where they operate. Types of modern merchant ship include container ships, cruise liners, oil tankers, gas tankers, chemical carriers, bulk carriers, cable layers, Ro/Ro ferries, car carriers, oil-rig supply vessels and general purpose cargo ships. Their trade routes may take them to every continent and across every ocean on the globe.
2. On board ship there are three main operational departments.
a) Deck Department: Staffed by Navigating Officers(Ship Management)
b) Engineering Department: Staffed by Marine Engineering Officers, which may also include Electro-Technical Officers
c) Catering or Hotel Department: Staffed by General Purpose Crew(GP-III/ Ratings)which provide the crew and any passengers with catering and domestic services
Officer Cadet Programme is restricted to the Deck and Engineering Departments. Catering and Hotel staff is normally recruited from applicants who have already obtained suitable qualifications ashore.
THE ROLES OF NAVIGATION (DECK), MARINE ENGINEERING and ELECTRO-TECHNICAL OFFICERS
Navigation (Deck) Officers
Navigation Officers maintain watches on the bridge at sea and about the ship in port. They are responsible for passage planning, the safe navigation of the ship, cargo loading and discharge, ship stability, communications and the maintenance of the hull and deck equipment.
The ship’s Captain, or Master, is in overall command with ultimate responsibility for the safety of the crew, ship, cargo and environment. Only Navigation Officers can be promoted to the rank of Master.
Marine Engineering Officers
Marine Engineering Officers are responsible for the maintenance and operation of the ship’s main propulsion machinery and auxiliary plant, including deck machinery, air conditioning plants, refrigeration plants, and domestic and electrical services. Depending on the type of ship and operational circumstances, Engineer Officers will be required to keep watches in the ship’s Engine Room.
The Chief Engineer Officer is in charge of the department and is responsible to the ship’s Master for its efficient operation. Whilst the law demands that only one person can be in overall command of the ship and by tradition that person is the Master, the Chief Engineer Officer’s status and salary is very similar to that enjoyed by the Master.
Electro-Technical Officers (ETOs)
These specialist officers work within the Engineering Department where they take particular responsibility for the maintenance of on board control engineering and electronic systems including propulsion control, radio communications and electronic navigation aids.
Electro-Technical Officers (ETOs) may have the opportunity to develop their careers along a similar path to that of Engineer Officers, perhaps leading to the rank of Chief Engineer Officer.
PERSONAL QUALITIES - what makes a successful ship’s officer?
A successful ship's officer requires particular personal qualities in order to cope with the demands of the profession. He or she will spend several months at a time away from home living in close proximity with other crew members. The ability to cope with the stresses of separation whilst exercising tolerance towards others on the ship is therefore essential.
Young officers must be able to accept a higher level of responsibility than would be expected at a similar age in most other professions and possess the leadership qualities necessary to direct the work of others, often under difficult circumstances. Self-reliance, self discipline, initiative and the ability to work as part of a team are also required as are the commercial awareness and management skills demanded by a competitive modern industry.
Each Officer Cadet programme consists of a number of training phases, alternating between phases at the Academy and phases at sea aboard one of the shipping company’s vessels.
At the Academy, Officer Cadets will develop the academic and professional underpinning knowledge (UPK) required for professional certification by the IMO, and also undertake specific safety courses required by international convention (STCW ’95). While aboard ship, Officer Cadets will gain practical shipboard experience and develop their operational competency as watch keeping officers.
In addition to their academic studies, Officer Cadets must undertake a number of safety and survival courses during their cadetship. These include the following:
i. Personal Survival Techniques (PST)
ii. Personal Social and Safety Responsibilities (PSSR)
iii. Basic Fire Fighting (BFF)
iv. Elementary First Aid (EFA)
v. Medical First Aid aboard Ship (MFA)
vi. Certificate of Proficiency in Survival Craft & Rescue Boats (CPSC & RB)
vii. Advanced Fire fighting (AFF)
In addition, Deck Cadets must complete the following courses: Efficient Deck Hand (EDH) Global Maritime Distress & Safety System General Operator’s Certificate (GMDSS) Navigation, Radar & ARPA Simulation Training: Operational Level (NARAST)
Officer Cadets must have good health and be capable of passing the Merchant Navy Medical Examination. Navigating Officer Cadets must also have normal colour vision and be able to pass the MMD Sight Test. Anybody contemplating a career as a ship’s officer would be well advised to take a medical examination and sight test as soon as possible to find out if there are any physical bars to their career aspirations.
AFTER THE 2 YEAR OFFICER CADETSHIP
Newly qualified Navigation (Deck) Officers will usually join* a company’s fleet as a 3rd Officer, undertaking bridge watch keeping duties at sea and operational duties in port, with responsibility for the safety of the crew, ship, cargo and environment. As their skills and experience develop, young officers progress to higher certificates of competency, leading eventually to certification as ship’s Captain (Master) and possibly to the command of their own vessel.
Numerous opportunities also exist for qualified Navigation Officers ashore. Shipping companies often recruit shore based marine superintendents and fleet operations staff from their seagoing officers. Harbour authorities recruit experienced officers to train as pilots, harbour masters and port operations managers, while Classification Societies, such as Lloyd’s Register of Shipping, and marine insurance companies require the officers’ skill and experience to fill such roles as hull and cargo surveyors. The Ministry of Ports & Shipping also requires surveyors and examiners while maritime colleges recruit lecturers and assessors.
*Employment is neither arranged nor guaranteed by the Academy
MARINE ENGINEERING OFFICERS
After passing out from the Academy the newly qualified Marine Engineering Officers will first complete one year on job training at KPT/PNSC Workshop. Then he usually joins* a company’s fleet as 4th Engineer Officer, undertaking engine room watch keeping duties and having responsibility for the safe and efficient operation of the ship's main propulsion unit and other vital services. As their skills and experience develop, young officers progress to the higher certificates of competency, leading eventually to the Chief Engineer Officer’s Certificate and possibly to the position of Chief Engineer Officer.
Marine Engineering Officers acquire a range of transferable skills through professional development and experience, which have many applications in jobs ashore both related and unrelated to the marine industries. Shipping companies often recruit their shore based engineering superintendents from seagoing staff, and Classification societies and marine insurance companies recruit machinery surveyors from the same source. The Ministry of Ports & Shipping also requires surveyors and examiners while maritime colleges recruit lecturers and assessors.
*Employment is neither arranged nor guaranteed by the Academy
THE PORTS & SHIPPING WING
The Ministry of Ports & Shipping, Government of Pakistan, is responsible for issuing navigation and engineer officers’ Certificates of Competency’ (CoC) and Seaman Service Book(SSB). It also ensures compliance with international standards of training and professional conduct in consultation with other national and international authorities.
TAKING THE NEXT STEP
If you wish to undertake an Officer Cadetship and meet the requirements outlined in the previous sections, the next step is to get the application form and apply before the last date.
The staff at Pakistan Marine Academy is happy to offer any advice or assistance that they can. Please contact our Officer Incharge New Entry at the address shown below.
Officer Incharge Admissions
Pakistan Marine Academy
Hawksbay Road, Mauripur Karachi-75780
Tel. 021-99241201-5, Ext.214
Website. www. marineacademy.edu.pk
The following websites provide additional information about careers at sea, training courses
Southampton Solent University www.solent.ac.uk
Careers at Sea www.careersatsea.org.uk
Maritime Careers www.careers-scotland.org.uk/MaritimeCareers
Merchant Navy Training Board www.mntb.org.uk
The Marine Society www.marine-society.org
The Chamber of Shipping www.british-shipping.org
Maritime & Coastguard Agency www.mcga.gov.uk