All of us have had that one friend or colleague whose father was out there sailing at seas and hence could not make it to the parents-teachers meeting. A career in the Merchant Navy can often keep officers away from their families. But before that let us understand what we basically mean when we say Merchant Navy.
We all know that the navy pertains to ships and harbours and seas and oceans, however, the functions of the two are what differentiate the two from each other. Merchant Navy is different from the navy in the sense that it offers commercial services as opposed to the navy, which is largely involved in the defence of a nation.
Role of Merchant Navy in Indian Economy
Merchant Navy is the backbone of India’s international trade, carrying cargoes to and fro from all over the world. Merchant ships employ a large number of workers to carry and deliver goods from one country to another. Without the merchant navy, much of the import-export business would come to a grinding halt.
The opportunity to travel around the world and the lure of adventure on the high seas, besides the possibility of high remunerations attracts many youngsters to make a career in the Merchant Navy.
A career in the merchant navy is considered a glamorous job, especially by the people who have been bitten by the travel bug. It offers an opportunity to visit new and exotic places all around the globe. Merchant Navy career is not only monetarily rewarding but also satisfying and quite challenging.
Apart from the thrills of the job, there are terrific employment opportunities in this field. Candidates who have finished the basic course in merchant navy can get decent jobs with the right effort through various consultants and placement agencies.
List of Merchant Navy fleet
- Cargo ships
- Container ships
- Barge carrying ships
- Tankers and bulk carriers
- Refrigerator ships
- Passenger ships, etc.
However, the possibility of finding employment in cargo ships is more as compared to the others. Companies that run merchant ships require trained personnel who can operate and maintain the ships for them.
Companies running Merchant Ships
- Chevron and Mobil of USA
- Wallem Ship Management of Hong Kong
- Denholm of UK,
- Bibby Ship Management, etc.
Three main departments of the Merchant Ship
- Service department
Eligibility Criteria to become the Merchant Navy Officer
+2: Have to graduate in Science stream
Admission through entrance examination
The eligibility for joining merchant navy is completing intermediate with Physics, Chemistry, and Mathematics. All candidates must be unmarried Indian citizens (male or female). There is also a requirement of the standard, normal eyesight, however, glasses up to plus or minus 2.5 may be allowed.
Admission procedure is through an entrance examination, which is followed by a screening test and a main written examination. After clearing the written tests, there is an upcoming interview and a medical test for each candidate.
Interested candidates also need to complete a ship-training course prior to the employment. The course is generally short-term where the candidates are taught basic security concerns of voyaging.
There are some private institutes also that offer training for merchant navy. These institutes prepare students for jobs such as deck cadets and marine engineering jobs.
List of courses related to Merchant Navy
- Sc. Nautical Science
- E. Marine Engineering
- E. Naval Architecture and Offshore Engineering
- E. Petroleum Engineering
- E. Mechanical Engineering
- E. Harbour & Ocean Engineering
Institutes for studying courses related to Merchant Navy
- CV Raman College of Engineering (CVRCE), Bhubaneswar
- Oceanic Maritime Institute (OMI), Dehradun
- Mumbai Maritime Training Institute (MMTI), Mumbai
- MASSA Maritime Academy (MMA), Navi Mumbai
A day in the life of a Merchant Navy officer
Hey there! I’m a Merchant Navy officer and my job is to ensure that the engine of the ship keeps running smoothly. The designation that I work on is also called ETO (Electro Technical Officer).
Aboard a ship, Electrical Officers are responsible for monitoring all electronic and electrical equipment onboard to maximize the operational safety and efficiency of the vessel.
As an electrical officer, you’ll work in close association with deck and engineering officers for all electrical and hydraulic technology and machinery related challenges. You’ll be responsible for power generation and distribution systems and for other equipment such as lifts, reefers and electrical bus systems.
It’s a difficult job that requires me to stay away from home for long time spans. I often crave the feel of walking barefoot on land. But amidst all these things my love for the ocean and the sea conquers all, and besides I harbour back home to a bunch of smiling faces and vacation of true luxury. Here’s how a working day in my life goes:
4:00 AM: Time to rise and shine. We’re leaving for Australia today. I just about have enough time to freshen up, get dressed and reach the port.
6:00 AM: It’s a passenger ship that I’ll be sailing on today. The departure is scheduled for 8:30 AM. I must perform the engine check before the passengers start to arrive and board, in order to avoid confusion later.
8:30 AM: We’re all set to sail. This ship is carrying 300 people, out of which 60 are staff members. I’ll be gone for a long time, this time. Not to mention, I’m going to miss my daughter’s birthday. This life isn’t for everyone. It’s not your typical 9 to 5 job, and your social life here really suffers. But, we will answer when duty calls.
11:00 AM: The service department is done serving breakfast. It wouldn’t be too bad to tip-toe around the kitchen now. Besides, I’m awfully hungry. Food is always a big challenge in open sea. My vegetarian friends often suffer because of this. However, since we’ve just left the open port, we have some variety today.
2:00 PM: We’re now approaching the open ocean. This is the time when we increase our speed and move boldly at 50 knots from our former speed of 35 knots.
5:00 PM: Companionship at the waters is what keeps us sailors cheerful. We have our own set of private jokes that are subtle in nature and to live by it, we have the luxury of good food.
Senior officers are even allowed to travel will their wives, but there is time before I get there. Network connections aren’t always the best at the sea. At instances like these, we feel particularly morose. But then, the greed of going back home keeps us going.
A lot of people have asked me why I chose this difficult life.
I joined because I want to see as much of this beautiful planet as I can before I die. I knew this was the way to do it, because even before I’d finished my training, I’d seen things that some people will never see: sailing past the Statue of Liberty in New York; cruising under the Golden Gate Bridge; humpback whales courting in the Bering Sea; waterspouts dancing together in the South China Sea; the list goes on.
I also enjoy the feeling of total solitude I get when we are in the middle of the Pacific, thousands of miles from civilization. The ship is in effect, a small close-knit community. In this one, we have two bars and mess rooms, games room, TV room and a plunging pool. We also make our own entertainment: quiz nights, lotteries, bingo, deck golf, barbecue parties, etc.
It can be hard work and sometimes it can be lonely. But as with everything, it’s only as good or as bad as you make it.
7:00 PM: We have left the coast of India far behind and Australia is about two days away. Meanwhile, our guests are served a brief session of evening breakfast and appetizers.
11:00 PM: My duty just got over and I’ve handed over my charge to my colleague doing the night shift. From here the horizon is just water and the night. I’ve had a modestly busy day. Time to find out how the family is doing. I’ll go make my phone call before bedtime.
11:30 PM: Off to sleep now.
Are you interested in exploring the world around you? If yes, then this can be the profession for you. We hope this article has added something valuable to your research. Have your say in the comment box. Enjoy Reading!