I am student of science in class XII and want to know about merchant navy in detail : the entrance process, training programmes, fees and other expenses, salary and perks, functional set up of merchant navy, job profiles, etc.
The Shipping Corporation of India (a public sector undertaking), the Great Eastern Shipping Company, Essar Shipping Company and Chowgule Steamships Ltd are among the biggest shipping companies in India.
A merchant vessel has the following four departments of work: the crew, officers, engineers and catering.
The captain, or the chief-in-command, is responsible for the entire ship. He has to look into the details about the arrival and departure from the port, port papers, immigration, and messages. The safety of the ship is his responsibility. The second in command is the chief officer who has a number of tasks like maintenance, loading and unloading and training of cadets. Next to him is the second officer, who is responsible for navigation equipment, and who plots the course of the ship and the distance from one destination to the other. He is also involved in loading and unloading, and is responsible for hospital and medicines. Next come the third officers, who take care of safety equipment, loading and discharging, as per the orders of the chief officer. The entry point is that of cadets.
The crew has chief officer, the bosun, the able seaman (AS) and ordinary seaman (OS). An OS has to learn navigation, as well as look after the maintenance of the ship. Some shipping companies have a lower rung, that is first and second seaman below the OS. Next comes the Able Seaman (AS) who is involved in the control of steering and maintenance of the ship. Higher up on the ladder is the Bosun, to whom OS and AS report. He is turn gets his orders from the chief officer. The crew also has a motorman, who is in charge of engine room maintenance and looks out for oil leakage, machinery, error, etc.
There’s the department of engineers, consisting of the chief engineer and fourth engineer, who are there to check and maintain all the machinery. There are also staffers like stewards to take care of the cooking for the entire ship and cleaning the rooms and the work area.
While roles are clearly defined in the various departments, there is continuous activity on the vessel, and one shift takes over the baton from the earlier shift. There’s activity at 12.00 p.m. and there’ activity at 4.00 a.m. So the ship never sleeps.
Salaries are very lucrative in the merchant navy. For example, an ordinary seaman earns Rs 25,000 to 30,000 per month, a fourth engineer draws Rs 40,000 to Rs 60,000 per month, a chief officer earns about 1.25 lakh, and the captain, Rs 2 lakh to 3 lakh. But then, it’s a hard life too. There may be occasions when the sea gets too dangerous. Those are the moments when you would have to remain calm and think well, despite any duress. A crisis situation would also require the navigators to handle the steering manually. The engineers would have to fix any major systems’ failure so that the vessel can at least reach the nearest port.
TS Chanakya, Navi Mumbai, MERI, Kolkata and LBS College of Advanced Maritime Studies and Research are the leading institutes in India for a comprehensive range of courses for merchant navy personnel. Most of these courses are open to candidates who have done their 10+2 and the duration is of three years for some courses, and four years for others. Candidates should be physically fit for the arduous life of the sea and candidates of nautical science should also have a normal vision. Candidates of marine engineering are, however, allowed glasses of plus or minus 2.5.
Since your son has already joined a B.Sc. course and cannot join a nautical science course now, here’s a piece of information that will cheer him up. The Shipping Corporation of India recruits Nautical Officer Cadets, for which science graduates with physics and mathematics are also considered. They have to undergo a three-stage training: a pre-sea training of four months, an on-board training of about two years, and then a post-sea education course. This training is expensive, however. The pre-sea training costs about Rs 85,000 the post-sea education, about Rs 1.2 lakh.
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