Interested in rolling your career as a Seafarers?
Who are Seafarers?
A seafarer is a person who works aboard a watercraft as part of its crew and may work in any one of a number of different fields that are connected to the manoeuvre and maintenance of a ship.
What are the qualities of a good seafarer?
Boldness: Seafaring is not for the timid, frightened and fearful. A seafarer needs to possess courage and leadership as the job requires stepping out of the comfort zone – rather often.
Flexibility: Seafarers work with varying cultures and must be willing and able to adjust to connect and work effectively.
A good seafarer must be capable of managing their own unique hazards and those around them.
What does a career in seafaring include?
The role of a seafarer includes a variety of ranks, with different levels of duties. Each role requires the seafarer to hold a valid Certificate of Proficiency (Ratings) or Certificate of Competence (Officers).
And each of these ranks plays very high roles which carry unique responsibilities and integral to the successful operations.
A vessel’s complement is divided into three main categories:
- The Deck,
- The Engineering and
- The Catering departments.
- The lowest rank is that of the Ordinary Seaman (OS Deck) whose duties are to assist the Able Seafarer
- The Ordinary Seaman (OS Engine, a.k.a. Wiper) performs manual work in the engine department.
- The Messman is an ‘all-rounder’. He may execute any of the following duties: Setting tables, serving food or waiting on tables.
- The Able Seafarer (AB Deck), duties include the ability to splice wire or fibre line, to work upward and over the side of the ship, to operate the deck machinery.
- The Able Seafarer (AB Engine – a.k.a. Oiler) oils the bearings of the key engine and auxiliaries and stands watch in the engine room.
- The Bosun (Boatswain) is an experienced able seaman responsible for anything and everything in the maintenance, care and safety of deck equipment and deck cargo.
- The Cook oversees the maintenance and operation of the kitchen and living and eating requirements of the officers and crew.
- The Third Officer (Mate) is the junior deck officer and is accountable for all life-saving gears, keeps the ship’s log, follows the captain’s orders and assists in the navigation of the vessel.
- The Fourth Engineer is a afresh graduated cadet, who stands engine room watch under 3rd or 2nd Engineer on larger ships.
- The Third Engineer keeps electrical equipment and auxiliaries under the direction of the Chief Engineer.
- The Electro Technical Officer (ETO) oversees the working of computer-controlled machinery, as well as refrigeration and air conditioning.
- The Second Officer (Mate), typically the navigation officer, plots a course and takes celestial and terrestrial fixes and also handles the after deck when tying up.
- The Second Engineer is responsible for fuel, oil, fresh water and care of the boilers.
- The Chief Officer (Mate) is in charge for the maintenance of the ship and proper stowage of cargo.
- The Chief Engineer is in charge of and accountable for all of the machinery aboard ship.
- The Master (Captain) is in charge of everything and everyone aboard ship. He/She must be as thoroughly familiar with the steward’s department and bridge.
What do I do next if I want to work at sea?
1. Gain an understanding of the various roles.
2. Decide on a career path (i.e. Deck, Engine or Catering) and query about the entry necessities and the capacity, (i.e. Rating or Officer).
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Future of Marine Jobs during ongoing COVID 19
"Seafarers have been among the hardest hit from the fall-out of the pandemic, said Corinne Vargha, Director of the ILO’s International Labour Standards Department."
If you're trying to decide what your next steps should be, and where the world of work is going during and post-pandemic, read on!