How Can You Join the Merchant Navy?

If you are determined about establishing a career in the field of merchant navy, here’s the process that you need to follow.

Joining the Merchant Navy 

The first thing to do is undergo training and find a company that can sponsor you. You need to look online for a shipping company that trains cadets. Large companies such as Shell or BP enroll new cadets each year. It is a good idea to fill in an online application form so that your initial work is complete.

After your written application to join Merchant Navy gets approved, you will be contacted through mail to attend an interview. During the interview, you will be questioned by ex-captains, experts who know the job in and out. Through this process, the interview panel will judge the right person who is likely to be successful in this field. 

Prior to attending this interview, prepare well and get a good knowledge of the field. You need to ensure you possess a basic idea of the way life on the sea is going to be and the kind of training that you will get as well as the equipment you need to use. In case you manage to convince the board of interviewers with your expectations of the way life could be like on a ship and can represent yourself as a person who they could spend three months on board with, you will be likely to pass through this stage, while the interviewers recommend you to the company.

You will get to know the result in a few weeks. If you pass, you will be called for another interview. You don’t need to worry much about this because it is less formal and more like an induction. This will mainly focus on you as a person. This time, the company representative will give you a lot of information regarding the job. Once this goes smoothly, you can secure your sponsorship and now have your studies paid for. You can attend the training course for three years to acquire all of the required qualifications.

The sponsor company will pay the fees along with a weekly allowance for living costs. Now, you need to pass your exams to be a qualified merchant seaman.

There are two main profiles through which you can join Merchant Navy – Engineer and Cadet.

1. Deck Cadet 

In this sector, your career is going to begin as a Deck Cadet, with the job responsibility primarily being that of upkeep and maintenance of the ship, cargo, tanks etc. It is the deck cadet’s task to oversee the loading or unloading of cargo. After serving in this cadre successfully, they can rank as the third officer, then a second officer, and finally Chief Officer as they gain experience.

Educational Qualifications for a Cadet 

In case you want to enter as a cadet, you are required to pursue a graduation in B.Sc. Nautical Science, B.Sc. Marine Catering, B.Sc. Marine, or something similar. It would be best to have a PCM combination in 12th for pursuing your career with the Merchant Navy.

Training or Examinations

After completion of the course, but before joining, you will need to undergo a year of training at the Maritime Training Institute. This is a mandatory training post-graduation and prior to joining to work as a Cadet in a ship. Although this does not form a part of the graduation, it can be considered as later graduation.

Post this pre-sea training, cadets are posted on ships to train for a duration of roughly 18 months. You are allowed to take a break in between, with possible dispersion over several ships. Cadets receive a stipend of about 15-40k.  Once this training is done, they are eligible for appearing for an aptitude exam conducted by the Indian government. After passing this exam, it is possible to join a ship as the third officer. As you gain experience over the years and getting through a few examinations, you will move up the ranks. Commonly, it takes approximately 11 years for reaching the top position, which is the Captain of the Ship. 

2. Engineer

In this category, you are going to begin working in the rank of Cadet or Junior Engineer. Other positions include the Third Engineer, followed by Second Engineer, and finally Chief Engineer. You are going to move up the rankings as you gain experience on the ship with several exams.

Educational Qualifications for an Engineer

For working as an Engineer, you need to pursue a bachelor’s degree in any one of these disciplines: Marine Engineering, Petroleum Engineering, Harbour & Ocean Engineering, Naval Architecture and Offshore Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Electrical & Electronics Engineering, Civil Engineering

There is a great scope in this field, with Merchant Navy being among the most lucrative career opportunities. There are several types of ships that carry different kinds of cargos. People can look for employment complying with their zone of interest or market availability.

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