Job Prospects :

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. They are offered jobs in the following major areas :

  • By various shipping companies in the government and private sector.
  • Foreign shipping companies also offer good job prospects.

Career Options :
Deck Department
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.


The starting salary varies between Rs 15,000 to Rs 20,000 a month. A person gets a variety of benefits such as free food, accommodation, paid leave, two-way free passage and facilities for families. In other words, the salary can be saved totally while one is on ship. The perquisites include bonus, holiday travel and other annual benefits. Foreign companies pay higher, and a starting salary of $ 1,500 to $ 2,500 can be expected.

Merchant Navy

A career in the Shipping Industry offers the chance of a unique and adventurous lifestyle packed with exciting career prospects. With the ocean as your backdrop and the most advanced and sophisticated ships in the world as your workplace, there really is nothing to compare with a life at sea.


Opportunities exist in navigation, engineering and catering & hospitality for enthusiastic and hard working people. Once qualified you will be rewarded with generous pay and leave periods. Merchant navy fleet consist of cargo ships, container ships, barge carrying ships, tankers, bulk carriers, refrigerators ships, passenger ships as well as many others

To meet the requirement of trained man-power there are pre-sea and post-sea training institutes under the Directorate General of Shipping, Ministry of Surface Transport.On successful completion of training at these institutes the candidates are eligible to take up jobs on board Indian/foreign vessels.


Sea cargo transportation takes 99% of the world cargo market and leaves about 1% only (by weight) for the air transportation industry. The recent boom in the global economy has driven the sea freight market high and the order books of most of the world’s shipyards are full through the next 5 years. There are 70,000 ships plying across the oceans, and numbers are expected to increase very fast. Each ship requires a Captain and three navigating officers. With the growing demand for new ships, there is expected to be a shortage of officers globally. Our course leads the students through a structured training program preparingthem for their first professional career as Rating.

The Merchant Navy offers a career like no other. Not only does it offer excellent remuneration and promotional opportunities, but also tremendous scope for adventure and travel. The Merchant Navy is a non-combatant commercial fleet, which deals with transporting cargo and, occasionally, passengers, by sea. The Merchant Navy fleet includes cargo ships, container ships, barge carrying ships, tankers, bulk carriers, refrigerator ships, passenger ships as well as roll off/roll on ships.

The commercial purpose of the fleet offers lucrative openings for engineers and navigators. The work of many other professionals and support staff required on board a sailing vessel have been described here, under the section “Jobs in Merchant Navy”.

Among all developing countries, India ranks as one of the countries having the largest merchant shipping fleets. Therefore, there is enough scope for employment in Indian as well as foreign ships.

Career Prospects

Qualification as a merchant navy officer can lead to opportunities throughout. Since the marine sector is growing, there are strong prospects for work. The merchant navy provides a range of career paths, with opportunities at sea and onshore. Following are the career options in merchant navy :

Deck Officer – The officers from this branch primarily look after the ships navigation, loading/unloading of cargo and the general maintenance and administration of the ship. The officer joins in the rank of 3rd officer and is subsequently promoted to the rank of 2nd officer, Chief Officer and finally the Master of the ship.

Engineering Officer – These are the officer who are qualified in Marine Engineering. They join as 4th Engineer and step by step, get promoted to 3rd, 2nd and Chief Engineer, subject to their passing the competency exams and performance onboard the ship. The Engineering department in addition to looking after the main engines, are also responsible for associated equipment like power generation equipment, cargo pumps and air – conditioning etc.

Purser – He is an officer who looks after all the administrative work related to pay and perks of personnel onboard. However, this category of personnel has also been almost phased out and their duties passed over to other deck officers.

Ratings – There are three kinds of ratings – deck, engine room and catering. Deck rating is responsible for cargo handling, mooring/ unmooring and general maintenance of the ship. Similarly the engine room ratings assist the engineering officers in maintenance and operation of engines and associated equipment. The catering crew consists of Steward / Cooks and as the name suggests, they look after the catering and the house keeping of officers cabin.

Job / Employment Opportunities

Merchant Navy is the backbone of international trade, carrying cargo all over the world. Without the merchant navy, much of the import-export business would come to a grinding halt! Placement may be found on various types of ships such as tankers, cargo and passenger ships. Companies that run merchant ships require trained people who can operate and maintain the ships. Trained people are required for the three main departments of the ship: the deck, the engine and the service department.

Therefore, there is enough scope for employment in Indian as well as foreign ships. And since the Merchant Navy offers excellent remuneration and good career prospects, many young people are being attracted to the profession.

Today, there is hardly any career which can fetch such high salaries at such a young age that the Merchant Navy offers. It provides a career like no other – a career at sea and opportunities ashore in the evergrowing maritime sector.

Diploma in Nautical Science :
The above program is duly approved by Director General of Shipping, Government of India. The design of the course is as per the guidelines laid down by the Directorate. This training provides a school (X+II) (‘A’ Level) leaver sure path to become a qualified Deck Officer.
The candidate undergoes a 12 months two semester residential Pre-sea training at AIMS where apart from the academics he will undergo practical training in seamanship apart from familiarizing him with various aspects in workshop comprising of Carpentry, Plumbing, Machine Shop, Electrical shop and Hot-work. Also required to Mandatory STCW course as required for seafarers. On successful completion of the semester 1 & 2 Diploma in Nautical Science being awarded by Indian Maritime University (IMU).

On completion of the pre-sea training he undertake the sea phase comprising of 18 months comprising semester 3, 4 & 5 of on board ship residential training along with correspondence course with Indian Maritime University (IMU). On successful completion of Phase 2 (semester 3, 4 & 5) IMU will award the trainee with Advance Diploma in Nautical Science.

After obtaining Advance Diploma in Nautical Science, Trainee required to undergo 4 months post-sea training in any training institute (2 Mate Function). On successful completion of the training & passing the exam he will be awarded Certificate of Competency by Director General of Shipping and B.Sc. Degree in (Nautical Science) by IMU.

10 + 2 with Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics with minimum 55% marks in PCM or B.Sc. Graduates with 55% marks in the final year. Minimum 50% marks in English at 10 + 2 or 10th level is must. Should be fluent in written and spoken English. Required to clear the OPEN-NET Examination conducted by IMU.
Age: Not exceeding 25 years as on the date of commencement of training (subject to DG’s guidelines).

Medical Fitness:
Medically fit with eyesight 6/6, without external aids. No colour blindness.

Career Flow Chart

10+2 with PCM 55% aggregate & 50% in English at either in 10th or 12th.

12 month two semester program along with mandatory 4 STCW courses at AIMS.

Award of Diploma in Nautical Science by IMU

18 months  on-board training comprising semester 3, 4 and 5 along with correspondence course with IMU

Award of Advance Diploma in Nautical Science by IMU

4 months Post-sea training at any recognized institute followed with examination by MMD

Award of  2nd Mate COC by Director General of Shipping, G.O.I.

Award of B.Sc. (Nautical Science) degree by IMU

18 months approved sea service as Officer I/c Navigating Watch

Preparatory as per A-II/2 for 6 months plus Radar & ARPA at Management level, Search  & Rescue Training, Carriage of dangerous cargoes, Medical care & Quality Standards followed by
Written & Oral Examination

Certification as First Mate (F. G.)

18 months sea services as Officer I/c of
Navigating Watch

Ship management Course Ship handling / maneuvering simulator training
Navigating Watch

Written & Oral Examination & certification as Master Foreign-going