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The Work

The work of the officers of the Merchant Navy involves the transportation of all cargo by seafaring vessels to destinations around the world, in the most efficient manner possible.

Major Tasks Performed

The major tasks performed are in the three major departments of the ship, the deck department, the engine department and the service department.


There are several navigational tasks performed by those in the deck department. The Captain or Chief Mate, also known as Master of the ship, functions as the head of the ship, ensuring its safe navigation. The captain exercises complete control over the officers and crew on board and carries out the ship's business at ports of call.

Being the chief navigator of the ship, the captain decides the course of the voyage and maneuvers the vessel under adverse weather conditions and emergencies. He also maintains the liaison between the ship owner, the customs and port authorities, and the crew.

The captain is assisted by other deck officers when he is in charge of navigation of the ship. The First Mate is second in command to the captain and he is assisted by the Second and Third Mates All these officers, besides assisting the captain, have specific duties in their charge, relating to proper navigation and maintenance of the ship.

The pilot of the ship also assists in navigation in that he directs the movement of the ship in and out of confined waters, including harbors and canals.

Other special duties are performed by the Serang, who is responsible for the control and supervisory work of the deck crew and the Harbor Master, who exercises complete administrative control over the docks and wharves and the movement of vessels in and out of the ports.


The chief officer in this department is the Ship Engineer, who ensures safe and economic running of all engines, boilers, electrical, refrigerating and sanitary equipment, deck machinery and steam connections aboard the ship.

He supervises the work of the engine-room crew and is assisted in his duties by the Second, Third, Fourth and Fifth Engineers and other junior personnel. The Electrical Officer is in charge of the maintenance the electrical equipment.

The Radio Officer handles the operation of the wireless and transmitting of signals. The Seaconny is mainly involved in steering vessel keeping the vessel on its course and guarding the ship’s gangway in port.


Officers in this department handle the operation and maintenance of living and catering services for officers and crew on board. The chief steward supervises the entire operation and works with a team, which includes stewards, cooks, bakers and messmen.

There are also other services, such as the services of divers for underwater examination of the heel of the ship, propellers, pipes, etc. Light Keepers, who operate light house signaling equipment to guide incoming and passing ships; and Nautical Surveyors, who prepare charts of particular regions of the seas, with regard to topography and conditions of the sea.

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