Merchant Navy is the backbone of international trade, carrying cargo across the globe. Without the merchant navy, much of the import-export business would grind to a halt. Therefore trained personnel is required for various departments of the ship and this widens the scope for employment in this field.
Foreign shipping companies also offer good job prospects.
The Deck Officers:Deck officer or navigation officer as the name suggests is in charge of the navigation of the ship. That particular department is called Deck department. The captain or the master of the ship is in charge of the ship. He is not only responsible for the safe navigation of the vessel but also for the discipline on the ship and safety of passengers, crew and the cargo. He must ensure the observance of national and international codes of conduct guiding sea transportation. The captain of the ship is further assisted by first mate, second mate and third mates. The First Mate / Chief officer is the right-hand man to the Captain; the second in-command. He overseers all the cargo planning, assists during navigation, allocates duties and work for the maintenance and upkeep of the ship to the Deck Cadets and deck crew, ensures that discipline and order are maintained. The Second Mate / Second officer, assistant to the First Mate is in-charge of checking all mails and keeping the navigational equipment and charts in good condition and also assists in navigational watches at sea and cargo watches at port. The Third Mate / Third officer is responsible for keeping safety equipments -the lifeboats, firefighting and signaling equipment in top condition; acts in the capacity of signal officer and assists with cargo work.
The deck department also has other staff with specific duties called 'ratings'. They act as look outs and helmsmen, assist with the securing of the ship as it docks at ports and help clean tanks and holds before the cargo is placed in them.
Marine Engineers: Marine Engineers have the complete responsibility of the ship's engine room. The main personnel in this department is the Ship engineer/chief engineer who ensures safe and economic running of all engines, boilers, electrical, refrigerating and sanitary equipment, deck machinery and steam connections aboard the ship. He supervises the work of the engine-room crew and is assisted in his duties by the Second, Third, Fourth and Fifth Engineers and other junior personnel.
Second engineer looks after the day to day work in the engine room. Third engineer is in charge of the main engine, spare parts for the main engine, all purifiers, boilers, compressors etc. Fourth and fifth engineers are in charge of the numerous generators onboard ship as well as certain small pumps.
Besides the officers of the navigation and engineering teams most ships have a Radio Officer and an Electrical officer. The Radio Officer is in charge of the radio room and handles the operation of the wireless and transmitting of signals. Electrical Officer is responsible for the functioning and handling of all electrical equipment onboard the vessel. There is another one named seaconny, who ensures that the ship is on course and that the gangway at port is well-guarded.
The work undertaken here revolves around the living and catering services for all the crew on board. A chief steward heads a large team of stewards, bakers, messmen etc. Apart from this, the department also has other services such as the services of Divers for underwater examination of the heel of the ship, propellers, pipes etc. Light Keepers, who operate light house signaling equipment to guide incoming and passing ships, and Nautical surveyors, who prepare charts of particular regions of the seas, with regard to topography and conditions of the sea.