Frequently Asked Questions
Maritime Profession Related:
- What is Merchant Navy?
Answer: Merchant Navy is traditionally considered as a second line of Defence for a Maritime Nation after the Navy. Here lot of goods and produce of a country are exported and national requirements are imported globally. Thus Merchant Navy contributes in the economic defence of a nation.
Merchant Navy handles 90% of the goods by volume and 80% of the goods by value for our country. Merchant navy is comprises of various types of ships which handle passengers,liquid cargoes and solid cargoes like crude oil, LPG, LNG, derivative oils and bulk cargoes like iron ore, coal, fertilizers etc. Packaged cargo is carried in containers.
To operate these ships a lot of highly skilled manpower is required.
- Some more details about Merchant Navy:
Answer: Ships that carry goods, passengers or render services from one country to another across the seas or along the coastline of a country constitute Merchant Navy. These are different from the armed ships of same country.
Merchant Navy touches every body’s life in one way or the other. Material for building a house may have been brought by a bulk carrier, the fuel used in your vehicle was brought by a tanker and fruits in the market from different countries were brought in a refrigerated container carried on a ship.
- What is it like to live and work at sea?
Answer: Working at sea is unlike working anywhere else. A person lives and works on the ship where he is employed. A lot of dedication to duty is required to be able to function effectively. People work during the day time on maintenance of equipments, routine operations etc. Apart from this people are keeping “watches” round the clock. This means that they are they are watching or keeping an eye on machinery operation in engine room and working of navigational equipments on the bridge (wheel house) and keeping a look out on the ‘heading’ of the ship i.e. in which direction she is moving.
It is a highly satisfying professional life in which a lot of camaraderie is also developed between the people on board the ship due to living and working together in close proximity.
- Is it very risky to work at sea?
Answer: Like all professions, working in merchant navy has its own risks because of the natural environmental of high seas. Earlier most of the issues affecting a safety of a person were related to the weather conditions in the area of movement of the ship and mechanical failure of ships’ machineries.
Happily with the advancement of weather forecasting technology and in communications, a ship is always well informed about the surroundings weather conditions. Hence, ships nowadays avoid severe weather conditions by diverting their course. Similarly, a vast improvement in machineries has led to increaseed reliability in performance. Thus machinery breakdowns are relatively less in well maintained and managed ship.
- Why Join Merchant Navy?
Answer: Merchant Navy offers a very lucrative career. Some of the many attractions of this profession are listed below:-
o High income (Tax Free)
o Independence and responsibility at a young age
o Quick promotions
o No expenses whilst on board (High class accommodation and cuisine)
o Travel around the globe and experience the world
o Adventure – No two days on the ship are the same
o Long Vacations – Time to pursue your hobbies
o Future opportunities to pursue a career ashore
- What about Piracy at sea?
Answer: One of the persisting risks in working at sea over the last five centuries has been piracy in various parts of the World. In spite of severe action being consistently taken against the pirates, this nuisance springs up now and then in some areas.
The most recent being the incidents of piracy in the Red Sea and Arabian Sea areas off the coast of Somalia. Stringent action by the Navies of all the Maritime Nations has almost wiped out piracy in these areas.
Ships staff is trained well and given protection if the ship has to sail through piracy affected areas.
- Till what age you work at sea?
Answer: A person can work up to the age of 60 provided they maintain their physical fitness.
- What about family life for a Seafarer?
Answer: Initially when a person joins a ship he is cannot carry his family. Once he reaches senior positions he can take his family on board.
Foregoing family life for a period of time is a sacrifice required by the profession of sea faring. The Seafarer makes up for this by enjoying extended vacations or holidays from work by being completely available to his family during this time. He earns approximately 15 to 20 days leave for every month served on board ship.
The parents, wife and children of a seafarer have to learn to adapt their lives without the presence of the Seafarer all the time. This does require some sacrifice on their part also.
- Who should join Merchant Navy?
Answer: All those who are willing to explore new horizons at work and not be tied down to a 9 to 5 job can join the Merchant Navy.
- What are the safeguards for an Indian Seafarer?
Answer: The Government of India issues to every Seafarer a continuous Discharge Certificate (CDC) which identifies him or her as a Seafarer and also a Passport just like a every other citizen, which identifies his Nationality. Further, recruitment and placement of Indian Seafarers is permitted only through approved and registered ship manning, ship owning companies. The employment guarantees to the Seafarers for the duration of his employment the following: his rank and salary, terms of employment, living and boarding arrangements, transportation from home town before and after the employment to the ship etc. Indian Seafarers are protected under Merchant Shipping Act 1959.
- What is Marine Engineering?
Answer: Marine engineering is a profession wherein the trained Seafarer looks after all the machineries and equipments on board a ship. He operates, maintains and supervises all the machineries of engine room of a ship as well as maintains all the machineries and equipments on the deck and on the bridge of a ship. It is a very proud profession which gives a Seafarer a lot of confidence and ability to think and improvise while working with the machineries. To enter this profession a person broadly studies a combination of mechanical, electrical, workshop technology, controls, refrigeration and air- conditioning, metallurgy engineering subjects. In short, he starts a jack of all trades and ends up master of all trades after gaining sufficient experience at sea.
- How is the career of a Marine Engineer in Merchant Navy better than any other career option?
Answer: Machineries on board ships include diesel engines, electrical generators, boilers, turbines, pumps, hydraulic machineries, refrigeration, air conditioning, electrical machineries, electronic equipment’s etc. practically a mini city. Marine Engineers are involved in the running, operation and maintenance of all these machineries on board ships. Since they are in-charge of all the machineries on the ship, they get hands on experience on variety of machineries, which is normally not possible in a shore based industry. Promotions to higher ranks are based on passing examinations and experience. So if you are hard working, you may become a chief engineer of a ship after about seven to ten years of joining a ship as a junior engineer. This kind of promotion and holding high responsibilities in shore based industry is normally not possible.
After you complete you shore based training of 1 year / 2 years, you join as a junior engineer and your training on board ship continues for 6 months. During this period of training you get a stipend of around between US 400 to 1100 month. After completion of this on board training you appear for an examination (MEO Class IV) conducted by Mercantile Department (MMD), Government of India. On passing this examination you start working as a fourth engineer on board the ship and earn wages to the tune of US 2000 + per month.
You then continue to pass further examinations after obtaining the required sea going experience and you will see enhancement in your salary.