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Career as Chief Officer (Merchant Navy)

Last Updated On 02 Nov, 2020

Career as a Chief Officer (Merchant Navy)

About Chief Officer (Merchant Navy)

Career as a Chief Officer Merchant Navy: The main function of the Merchant Navy is to trade goods from one place to another. It is the backbone of any country’s economy. More than 90% of the goods in the world are transported via ships. Merchant Navy as a career has gained a lot of popularity in the past few decades and candidates who wish to make a career in Merchant Navy have to go through extensive pre-sea training for one year, followed by onboard training and examination. Once the candidates are done with their training, they usually get appointed as either The Second Mate, The Chief Mate or The Captain.

Eligibility to become Chief Officer (Merchant Navy)

To become a Merchant Navy Chief Officer, it is important that candidates meet the following criteria. 

  • The candidate must be class 12th passed with PCM from a recognised board with an aggregate of more than 60% or a candidate must be a B.Sc graduate with more than 60% marks either in Physics, Chemistry. But, the candidate must have studied Physics for at least one year.

  • In both of the above-mentioned cases, the candidate must have scored more than 50% marks in English in class 12th.

  • The age of the candidate should not be more than 25 years.

  • The candidate must have perfect eyesight and no colour blindness.

Types of Job Roles Chief Officer (Merchant Navy)

After completing the pre-sea training and clearing the examination, there are a number of Merchant Navy job profiles that one can opt for as per their interests and goals. Given below are some of the Merchant Navy job profiles:

  • Executive Officers/The Captain: It is one of the top-most level job profiles in the Merchant Navy and is regarded as the Commander of the ship. Their job includes navigating the ship and they are the representatives of ship owners. The Captain is entrusted with multiple job roles such as assigning organizational duties, navigation and maintaining discipline.

  • The Chief Mate: Their job is to assist the Captain and they are in charge of cargo planning and deck work. They also look after the managerial work at the ship.

  • The Second Mate/The Third Mate: They are responsible for the maintenance of equipment and assists in the cargo work.

  • Engineering Officers:  The job of the Engineering Officer is to supervise the engine room rating and performing practical tasks.

  • Third Engineer/Fourth Engineer Officer: They are mainly responsible for maintaining the engineering room auxiliary and to maintain the boiler room equipment.

  • Radio Officers: They operate, maintain and repair radio device in the ships. They also maintain electronic navigational aids like radar. They record weather reports, position reports and other related data.

Employment Sector/Industry for Chief Officer (Merchant Navy)

Merchant Navy officers can find a variety of employment opportunities in various shipping companies, oil and gas shipping firms and ports. Some of the top sectors that hire Merchant Navy officers are listed below:

  • Oil Companies
  • Shipping Firms
  • Cargo Companies & Agencies
  • Shipping Corporations

Top Recruiting Companies for Merchant Navy Officers

Some of the top recruiting companies that hire Merchant Navy officers can find relevant job opportunities are listed below:

  • Oil & Natural Gas Corp Ltd
  • Garware Offshore Services Ltd
  • Visakhapatnam Port
  • Hede Navigation
  • Poompuhar Shipping
  • Apeejay Shipping Ltd
  • Varun Shipping Co Ltd

Planning to choose Chief Officer (Merchant Navy) as your career?

Pay Scale/Salary of Chief Officer (Merchant Navy)

Job Profile

Starting Salary per annum (in INR)

Mid Level Salary per annum (in INR)

Senior Level Salary per annum (in INR)

Captain/Chief Mate




Note: The above figures are an estimate and may vary from individual to individual and company to company.

Books & Study Material to Become Chief Officer (Merchant Navy)

Aspirants planning to make it to a good Merchant Navy/Maritime Institute in India are required to clear entrance tests like IMU-CET. To be well prepared for the entrance exam, aspirants must have the best books for Merchant Navy and study material with them. This makes the preparation process a lot easier. Some of the best books and study material to become a Merchant Navy Officer are as follows:

  • IMU CET Question Bank With Study Material

  • IMU-CET Gateway to Maritime Education by TMC Foundation

Pros of becoming a Chief Officer (Merchant Navy)

  • Being in the Merchant Navy is one of the best jobs in the world if you enjoy travelling the world and for free.

  • One of the biggest advantages in a Merchant Navy job is that the pay scale and salary packages will always be higher than most of the other professions.

  • One of the other benefits is that Merchant Navy employees are exempted from paying taxes as they spend more than 6 months in the sea.

  • Since work in the Merchant Navy involves a lot of international travel, it helps you form better public relations and get the experience to work with professionals from different areas, domestically as well as internationally. 

Cons of becoming a Chief Officer (Merchant Navy)

  • One of the biggest disadvantages of being in the Merchant Navy is that you tend to miss out on little joys as you are at the sea for a long stretch. You miss out on festivals and celebrations with your family and loved ones.

  • Merchant Navy professionals have to face extreme conditions at times like harsh weather and raging sea.

  • Spending long periods of time on a  ship, away from land, is not something the human body is accustomed to deal with. This leads to several physical and health issues.

Career path for Chief Officer (Merchant Navy)

There are certain mandatory requirements that one needs to fulfill before joining merchant navy. Also there are multiple career paths through which can join merchant navy as per their choices and career interests.

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