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Merchant Navy
Merchant Navy refers to the merchant (commercial) fleet or ships of a country that transport cargo& passengers. This fleet usually consists of passenger vessels, cargo liners, tankers, refrigerator ships etc. It’s a glamorous career option as it offers a heady mix of excellent pay, steady growth & constant travelling to exotic locales. One should not confuse merchant navy with Indian navy. Merchant navy officers don’t indulge in combat. Career Options

* Captain of the ship
* Navigating Officers – Chief Officer, 2nd Officer, 3rd Officer * Marine Engineers – Chief Engineer, 2nd Engineer, 3rd Engineer, 4th Engineer * Deck Cadets
* Radio Officers
* Electrical officers

Career Prospects

Opportunities exist in navigation, engineering and catering & hospitality for enthusiastic and hard working people. Once you are qualified you will be rewarded with generous pay and leave periods. There are numerous shipping companies in the government and private sector which regularly hire qualified officers in the deck, engine and service departments. Foreign shipping companies offer particularly lucrative placements. The Government of India (Ministry of Surface Transport) itself looks after the training needs and conducts competency exam through the Directorate General of Shipping (DGS). A career in merchant navy offers bright prospects to navigating officers and marine engineers. Opportunities for promotions are dependent on clearing the requisite competency exams conducted by the Ministry of Surface Transport.

Payoff

The starting salary varies between Rs 15,000 to Rs 20,000 a month. Officers get a variety of perks like 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. Other perquisites include bonus, holiday travel and other annual benefits. Foreign companies pay even higher with a starting salary of $ 1,500 to $ 2,500. Since the job involves travelling abroad for extended periods, one can take advantage of becoming an NRI and thus earn tax-free income.

The entry level for a fresh Marine Engineer (ME) is at the rank of fifth engineer or junior engineer. Promotions depend on examinations and a steady performance. The fourth engineer should complete18 months of sea-time and clear the examination (conducted by Marine Mercantile Department, Government of India) to be promoted to the rank of third engineer. At each stage, exams have to be cleared and after many years of experience, one may hope to become the chief engineer, the highest rank that an ME can reach. At this level, salary may reach Rs 1.50 lakh per month. Some competent officers reach this stage by their mid-30s. The chances of promotions are quite high, though it needs to be clarified here that there are no higher positions after becoming the captain of a ship.

A merchant navy aspirant can do the 3-year B.Sc (National Science) course or the 4-year Marine Engineering course at the TS Chanakya, Mumbai and Marine Engineering Research Institute (MERI), Calcutta. The first is a navigation discipline course while the second is an engineering course. The eligibility is class 12 with Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics. Admission is through the IIT Joint Entrance Examination. Application forms can be obtained from Chairman, JEE of any IIT and some designated banks. Application forms for TS Chanakya and MERI are available from: Director General of Shipping, Jahaz Bhawan,

WH Marg, Ballard Estate, Mumbai.

Candidates have to be unmarried Indian citizens (male or female). After clearing the test, there is an interview and a medical test. Normal vision is required but glasses up to plus or minus 2.5 may be allowed. There are some private institutes which offer training for merchant navy as well. These institutes prepare students for jobs such as deck cadets and marine engineering jobs. Look out for notices in the local...
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