Candidates possessing a B.Sc. degree in nautical science or a degree in mechanical/marine engineering from a recognized institution are eligible for joining the navigation and engineering fields in the Merchant Navy.
Those who have completed the 10+2 or equivalent exam, with physics, chemistry and mathematics, are also often taken in as Deck Cadets. In order to gain employment as Navigating Officers, it is essential to obtain a Certificate of Competency, under the regulations in force in India relating to examinations of Masters and Mates.
The competency examinations are conducted by the Ministry of Surface Transport, through the Directorate General of Shipping (DGS), Mumbai. This examination determines the prospects of promotion for officers. In the case of most ships, the Second Mate is the first certificate of competency for the navigating officers.
While a minimum of three years of service at sea is essential before a candidate can appear at the Second Mate's examination, the passing-out certificate of Training Ship (TS) Chanakya has been recognized as being equivalent to one year of sea service and therefore, cadets from TS Chanakya cam take the examination after two years of sea service.
Some shipping companies, however, take on nautical cadets after 10+2 and provide on-the job training at sea, which prepares them for the Second Mate's examination. Similarly, engineering candidates are also taken on and provided training at sea. Marine engineers are taken in as Assistant Engineers.
These officers also have to go through a similar competency examination, conducted by the Directorate General of Shipping, Ministry of Surface Transport, in order to be promoted to the ranks of Fifth, Fourth, Third, and Second Engineer and ultimately to the rank of Chief Engineer.
The minimum eligibility for courses in nautical science and marine engineering is 10+2 or an equivalent examination with physics, chemistry and mathematics. The applicants to these courses should be mentally and physically fit.
Navigators should have perfect eyesight (6/6 in each eye) whereas for marine engineers, spectacles are allowed up to plus or minus 2.5. However, color blindness is a disqualification for entry into the Merchant
Candidates are selected for the B.Sc. Nautical Science degree of TS Chanakya, Mumbai, and the four-year Marine Engineering degree course at Marine Engineering Research Institute, Calcutta, known as DMET, through the Joint Entrance Examination conducted by the Indian Institute of
Technology (IIT), which assesses the candidate’s knowledge of physics, chemistry and mathematics.
The examination is followed by personal interviews/counseling, where the interviewers assess the degree of alertness, and awareness of the external environment, in the candidates and their suitability for a career in the Merchant Navy.
The B.Sc. course in nautical science is of three years duration the training course in marine engineering is of four years duration.
Training to Navigating Officers is imparted in the Training Ship (TS) Chanakya, Mumbai, formerly known as TS Rajendra. This institution is affiliated to the Lal Bahadur Shastri Nautical and Engineering College, University of Mumbai, and serves as a degree college for conducting the
three-year course in nautical science.
After completion of training, a candidate is taken in as apprentice on board a merchant ship for a period of two years, where he receives a nominal stipend. Training in marine engineering is conducted by the Marine Engineering Research Institute (MERI), Calcutta, which was previously known as the Directorate of Marine Engineering Training (DMET).
The National Institute of Port Management in Madras also offers short-term courses to Merchant Navy officers. Officers sponsored by shipping companies are offered training courses in Ship Master's medicare, marine communications, revalidation course for Masters, proficiency in survival craft, specialized tanker safety, first-aid at sea, and survival at sea. Training is also offered to Port Sea Second mates and Pre-sea cadets.
The syllabus for the training of Navigating Officers in TS Chanakya includes training in seamanship, navigation, cargo work, and ship maintenance. They are also taught the fundamentals of naval architecture, collision prevention and marine communication.
Practical training includes maintenance work on the ship, boat work, as well as experience in handling navigational instruments. Various drills are also regularly carried out on board the ships, providing training in safety of life at sea, in addition to various exercises in physical fitness.
The syllabus and curriculum of the four-year course in marine engineering at MERI provides the candidates with a fairly high standard of practical and theoretical knowledge in fundamental engineering science, apart from a specialized knowledge of marine engineering as well as a basic knowledge of humanities and social sciences.
A lot of importance is also attached to participation in the extra-curricular and co- curricular activities of the institute. Various marine workshops are organized by the institute and cadets are engaged in the overhaul, repair and maintenance of the ship's main and auxiliary machinery, and shipboard systems.
Technical classes are held in advanced marine engineering and technology, and practical training in the powerhouse provides the cadets with an idea of the actual working situations. Visits to factories, shipyards and merchant ships are also frequently organized by the institute.
On completion of the marine engineering course, a Graduation Certificate is awarded by the institute, which is considered equivalent to a degree in engineering, by the Ministry of Human Resource Development, for appointment in the senior services of the government.
Physical and mental stamina, practical intelligence, scientific temper, spirit of adventure, team spirit, cheerful disposition, sporting spirit, love for travel, self confidence, adaptability.