The world of merchant navy is indeed an intriguing one for all of us. Haven’t we all at one point or the other been mesmerized by the sight of those huge ships, the stories of sea farers and the long voyages?
Crews on board work like a well-oiled machine, with each crew member fulfilling an essential role. So what are the profiles of these seafarers who are on board the ships?
The ranking system is usually divided into the following categories on our ships: Deck, Engine, and Catering. Overseeing all the ranks in these categories is the rank of the Captain.
The Captain (or Master) of the ship holds the highest rank in the crew of the ship. The overall accountability of the ship lies with Captain and he is the company’s representative on board. His duty is to command the vessel in accordance with the national and international rules and with the Company’s policies and procedures. The command of the vessel lies with the Captain. Right from the vessel’s upkeep, to cargo handling, to people management onboard, to crucial decisions regarding the safety of the ship and the crew, the Captain shoulders all these responsibilities.
The deck department as the name suggests caters to the tasks on the bridge of the vessel. This department oversees the procedures like ship navigation and cargo handling. The ranks associated with this department are:
Chief Officer: Second in command of the vessel and the head of Deck Department. His main responsibilities include navigation watch keeping, loading, discharging and care of cargo during the voyage in compliance of the company’s instructions. The responsibility of safety, environmental protection, firefighting and lifesaving equipment also lies with the Chief Officer.
Second officer: Third in command, the main responsibility of second officer includes maintenance of Global Maritime Distress and Safety System equipment and the upkeep of navigational charts.
Third officer: The Third Officer is in control of the safe conduct of navigation and collision avoidance. The Third Officer is also responsible for maximising safety, quality and environmental protection.
Deck cadet: A Deck Cadet is on board for training. He undergoes the pre-sea training and joins the ship as a cadet for training. A cadet must observe and lend a helping hand, and try to gain as much of knowledge as possible.
Able seaman: An able seaman (AB) possesses a merchant mariner’s document and is eligible to assist the deck department.
An ordinary seaman can undertake the maintenance activities like overhauling, splicing ropes, wiring, rigging, etc. and conducting repair-work on the deck.
The Engine department comprises of the ship’s engineers and is responsible for the operation and maintenance of ship’s machinery.
Chief Engineer: Chief engineer is the head of the engineering department. Responsible for the engine room, the responsibility of the operations and ship’s machinery lies on the shoulders of Chief Engineer.
Second Engineer: One of the busiest beings in the Engine Room, the Second Engineer is responsible for the day-to-day activities. He oversees functioning of the machinery in the engine room and looks after the job assignments to the engine crew.
Third Engineer: Third Engineer reports into Second Engineer and is mainly responsible for maintaining the machinery of the engine room.
Fourth Engineer: The fourth engineer looks after the proper functioning of the machinery.
Engineering Cadet: Engine cadet is a trainee assisting and learning while observing and carrying out activities in the engine room.
THE CATERING DEPARTMENT
The catering department is responsible for the food supplies and meals on board the ship.
Chief Cook: Chief cook shoulders the responsibility of preparing meals for the crew of the ship along with the looking after the food stores.
Trainee Cook: The trainee cook helps the Chief Cook with the meal preparations.
Steward: The steward helps with the meal preparation and takes care of the serving of the meal on time among the crew members.
You can get some interesting information about the Maritime Education programs run at Maersk that include Officer, Deck Cadet and Engineering Cadet programs here. Additionally to know more about the shipping career at Maersk Line and about how to be one of the seafarers with us, you can visit here.