It has been observed that the demand for merchant navy courses has increased tremendously. This shows the increase in awareness among students about career opportunities. If you have relevant interests, enrolling in one of the finest merchant navy courses can do you wonders.
In this article, you’ll know more in detail about the merchant navy as a profession, the roles and responsibilities, the challenges involved, and more. On top of that, you’ll also get to know about the types of merchant navy courses that you can go for and their fees and career scope that comes with each one of the merchant navy courses.
The phase after you just give your 12th class examination is very confusing for a lot of students. Generally, a lot of things that they plan academic-wise do not go according to their way, and that just creates even more confusion and anxiety about the future.
Then there is just a bombardment of potential suggestions by parents, neighbors, relatives. They try to guide you about how you should go forward with your studies. In general, this just creates a lot of tension and confusion. Some students think that because they won’t get good marks in their 12th class, they will not get admission to a good college and won’t earn well. While the college part is genuine, the earning amount totally depends on you.
It is not just about studies, some people just do not have excellent academic credentials, but they are gifted in other ways. Some are very good at sports, and some have incredible endurance, some have a fantastic build. You can still have a great career even if you do not have some A-grade academic credentials. There are a lot of sectors that offer jobs to people who have good physical skills. One such sector is the merchant navy.
Through this article, you’re going to learn about the very details of the merchant navy, its scope and role in the world, the merchant navy as a career option, salary, positions, and some courses that you can take to enter the line of the merchant navy. So read the article till the very end and find out if you are willing to take this as a career option.
What is Merchant Navy?
Merchant Navy is also known as merchant marine or mercantile marine. It deals with all the commercial activities like transportation of cargo, travel of passengers via the sea routes. Merchant Navy is one of the most essential aspects of global shipping. The big vessels in the sea are responsible for the transportation of goods from one place to another. In simple words, you can say that it maintains the supply chain across the globe. Merchant navy is spread across the world because most of the global trade is made through the sea routes. It is a fleet of ships that are not used by the military of some country. You might have seen the giant container ships and giant cruise ships that take people on the world tour, and it is all part of the merchant navy. In fact, the merchant navy also carries out the transportation of crude oil through the whole world, which is one of the most essential resources for any country to function. The working professionals on the ships are known as mariners, sailors, seafarers, or seamen. The vessel involved in the merchant navy are commercial ships. It is a global industry, and a lot of countries work together on different types of ships or vessels.
The rules and regulation of merchant navy is taken care by the IMO. Its headquarters are in the United Kingdom.
A Career in Merchant Navy
As mentioned earlier, the Merchant navy is actually a global industry because all the countries import or export some commodities from other countries. This import and export are done mainly via sea routes using big vessels.
Merchant Navy can be a really good career option for people who are not very academically qualified and are more vigorous in the physical part. Don’t get me wrong, it requires sound technical knowledge, and you need a science background to work on a ship. But the job requires more physical and mental toughness than anything. That is why it is suited for one group of people than the others.
Another great perk of being in the merchant navy is that you get to see places. Trust me, and if you do go into merchant navy, you will travel to so many different regions of the world that you can’t even imagine. So if this excites you, then yes, the merchant navy is going to be a great career option for you.
Scope in Merchant Navy
As long as there is global trade, the merchant navy is only going to grow even further. There are a lot of different roles that you can fit in if you decide to have a career in the merchant navy.
For example, you can work on the dock and help in the loading/unloading of the goods. Or you can work on the ship, which itself has the crew divided into different parts.
The shipping sector itself has three different categories of personnel. It is the merchant navy, logistics, and seaport services. We will talk about other roles in the merchant navy in a dedicated section. But yes, there is just a lot of scope in the merchant navy sector, and it is only growing.
Merchant Navy Courses: Fees, Duration, Details and More
If you are one of the many students who aspire to have a career in the merchant navy then you must understand the right way to go about it. Just aspiring to be a part of the merchant navy isn’t enough, rather you must know the requirements to join the merchant navy. On top of that, you must be fully aware of the roles and responsibilities in the merchant navy and the challenges that come along with that.
Many students look for merchant navy courses and the information about such courses is available in bits and pieces. Therefore, this section is going to guide you in detail about the available courses, the eligibility criteria, and much more.
List of Merchant Navy Courses:
- B.Tech in Marine Engineering
- B.Sc Nautical Science
- DME(Diploma in Marine Engineering)
- GP Rating(General Purpose) Course
- Diploma in Nautical Science
- Electro-Technical Officer(ETO)
- BBA in Shipping Management
Eligibility and Requirements for Bachelor Courses in Merchant Navy
- Must have completed class 12 with Science stream and PCM as compulsory subjects.
- Minimum 60 percent of passing marks in class 12.
- Age requirement is somewhere between 17 to 25 years.
Eligibility and Requirements for Diploma Courses in Merchant Navy
There are a lot of different diploma courses with additional requirements. However, the common ones are:
- The age limit of the candidate must be between 25-28 years.
- For the majority of the diploma courses with a duration of 1 year, the candidate must have passed class 12 in the science stream with PCM and English as compulsory subjects.
- For the majority of the diploma courses with a duration of 2 years, the candidate must have passed the Diploma in Electronics/Engineering/Marine Engineering/Mechanical Engineering/ Electrical Engineering with a minimum of 50 percent of passing marks.
Eligibility and Requirement for Short Courses in Merchant Navy
We are talking about the short six months courses here.
- The age limit of the candidate should be between 17-25 years.
- Must have passed Class 12 with Science stream with Physics, Chemistry, Maths, and English as compulsory subjects and a minimum of 40 percent passing marks.
Eligibility and Requirement for Post Graduate Courses in Merchant Navy
- The upper age limit for MBA courses in the merchant navy is 25 years.
- The upper age limit for GME is 28 years.
- For MBA in merchant navy-related specialization, you need a bachelor’s degree from any recognized university.
- For GME, you need a BE degree in Naval Architecture/Mechanical Engineering.
There are a lot of colleges that conduct their own entrance exams for the courses in the merchant navy. The most famous exam is IMU CET, and then some colleges also take admissions on your JEE Mains score or even your class 12 score. Then there are admissions via sponsorships. After the completion of the course in the merchant navy, all the candidates are required to undergo pre-sea training. The training is conducted by the Maritime Training Institute. Before the cadets could start to work on a ship, they are required to go through this training. The duration of this course also varies from 6 to 12 months, depending on the course that the candidate has taken.
Role of Merchant Navy in Global Trade
Sea routes have been used for travel and trade from the beginning of the civilization itself. There has been a constant evolution in the vessels that carry out the trade via sea routes.
In the last two decades, shipping itself has become one of the biggest international industries. In order to add some context, the shipping industry handles about 90 percent of the global trade. It carries the cargo safely, and it is one of the most cost-effective ways to move cargo over long distances in large quantities.
In simple words, the merchant navy is the backbone of the global trade as most of the import and export depends on the merchant navy itself.
The Indian Context
India has a very rich maritime heritage. It has a very broad coastline spread from West Bengal in the East to Gujrat in the West. The merchant navy is actually an integral part of the economy of India. India moves about 95 percent of the goods to other countries by merchant ships. So in simple words, the merchant navy controls and maintains the proper supply of goods for any country to function.
Roles and Responsibilities in Merchant Navy
There are different roles in the merchant navy and with those different role comes different responsibilities. So let us look at them one-by-one:
The very first one is the navigation/deck officer. If you decide to become one, you will have the following responsibilities:
- The navigation of the vessel by using equipment like radar systems and various technologies like the range of satellite and a lot of other stuff as well.
- Making assessments by checking the weather, making navigation reports, and then taking the right actions.
- You will be responsible for the safe loading, stacking/storage, and unloading of the cargo.
- If you are working on a cruise ship or any ship that has passengers on board, then it will be your responsibility to take care and provide safety to the passengers.
- You will also have to manage the operation and maintenance of all the machines that are present on the deck, like cranes and winches.
- You will also have to manage the ship communication systems.
- Monitoring and maintenance of safety equipment like fire-fighting, life-saving equipment will be your responsibility.
- You will also have to maintain the legal and operational records of the ship.
- You will also have to keep up with all the maritime legal matters along with commercial and political developments as well.
Then there is the engineering officer. If you decide to become an engineering officer, then you will have the following responsibilities:
- To make sure the smooth operation of all the mechanical and equipment on the ship.
- Management of the power generation and distribution systems.
- Smooth operation and maintenance of refrigeration area, ventilation, and pumping systems.
- Monitoring, repair, and up-gradation of systems and equipment like air compressors, pumps, and stuff.
- Regular inspection of all the equipment.
Then there is the ship captain that is responsible for the smooth sailing of the ship throughout the course.
There are a lot of different other roles and responsibilities as well, which I am going to list down in short below:
- There is a cooking staff that manages the food quantity and cooks food for the whole crew throughout the entire journey.
- There is a dedicated medic officer that takes care of all the medical-related emergencies.
- There are different deck workers that have different responsibilities like operating the equipment such as cranes and winches, stacking the containers over each other.
- The cleaning staff is responsible for maintaining the cleanliness of the ship.
- If it is a passenger ship, then there is a whole dedicated crew that takes care of the hospitality and provides a proper cruise experience to the passengers.
- So overall, there are a lot of different types of roles and responsibilities in the merchant navy that you can take up and make a career out of it.
Types of Merchant Navy Ships
Merchant navy is full of diversity, there are a lot of different roles, and similarly, there are a lot of different types of ships as well. Let me tell you about the major types of ships in the merchant navy:
- Bulk Carriers: These are giant ships that carry all sorts of unpacked cargo like grains, coal, ore, cement, etc.
- Container Ships: These are the ships that carry containers in which the cargo is stored. The advantage of containers is that they can be easily loaded and unloaded.
- Reefer Ships: Such ships carry vegetables, fish, meat, dairy products, and all sort of perishables. These ships are refrigerated to maintain the freshness of the items.
- Tankers: These ships carry all the petroleum products or liquid products like liquified natural gas in huge quantities.
- Roll-On Roll-Off Ships: These are the ships that carry wheeled cargo such as automobiles that are consistently on-loaded and off-loaded from the ships.
- Passenger Ships: These are the ships that carry passengers from one place to another. These can be giant cruise ships or ferries.
It is important to know that the job profile of the merchant navy is best suited for a particular group of people. Apart from the technical skills, you need great physical strength and endurance as well as mental strength too. There are some challenges that only a limited number of people can endure as a sailor, and some of them are:
Disturbed Life Schedule
If you ask someone what the most important thing for growth apart from hard work and skills is, you will get a common answer, and it is a balanced life schedule. That is not something you are going to get if you enter the field of the merchant navy. The work hours are very flexible. There is a lot of work always. The sleeping patterns are irregular as well, and overall, it is just not the most fun daily schedule. Sometimes you even have to do work outside of your roles in order to maintain the onboard operations.
The toll on Personal Life and Relationships
Another challenge in the life of a sailor is that the merchant navy takes a heavy toll on their personal lives and relationships. For the most part, the people in the merchant navy are always traveling and very far from their homes. This gives them very little time to spend with their families and friends. After a long and tiring sail, you would want to spend some time resting at your home and play with your kids, go out with your friends and do fun stuff. But you don’t even realize when it’s time to go back on the ship again. So it is very hard to have a good personal life and relationships when you are in this field.
You see, in the beginning, you will go on a ship with a group of 24 people or so, and after the tour is done, you will go your way, and the other people will go their own ways. Only after repeating this cycle a few times will you realize that there is no such thing as socializing, it is just we work together for some time and then go on our own way, and that is going to be the rest of your life in the merchant navy at least.
Political Tensions and Pirates
There is always some political tension going on every now and then, and some countries are less friendly than others, so you might see that in the behavior of people on the dock or nearby. Then there are also pirates. Yes, it is still a real thing. These pirates try to steal goods from ships. However, it is a lot safer now with naval fleets from different countries providing security to the merchant navy.
These were some of the details that one must be aware of before applying to join the merchant navy. There are numerous courses for the merchant navy. The duration of the course and the course fees as well varies depending upon the type of course and also the institute from which you’re pursuing the course. Post completion of the course, the students get the opportunity to serve at cargo-carrying ships and they’re also eligible to apply for the Indian Navy. So, if you’re looking for merchant navy courses, ten take a thorough look into the course details and eligibility criteria. Conduct a thorough research to understand the requirements, the future scope, salary, and more.