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Maritime transport

Measures to support freight transport
18 October 2007


Maritime transport policy

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Career possibilities at sea

The maritime sector offers a wide variety of challenging career opportunities, with specialist and modern skills, which are highly transferable at sea, in the shored based maritime related industries, as well as outside the maritime sector.

The merchant navy is a collective term for the shipping industry that includes passenger ships (such as ferries and cruise liners), container ships, tankers (oil, gas and chemical), bulk carriers and other specialised vessels. Seafarers on board a ship form three distinct groupings:

  • deck officers who are assigned to the deck department, in which the highest position is the master,

  • engineer officers who are assigned to the engine department, wherein the highest rank is the chief engineer and

  • ratings assigned to supporting tasks (watchkeeping duties and/or catering services). All these functions work in fact as a team to ensure the safe operation of the ship and delivery of its passengers or cargo.

Officers and ratings are trained to perform specific roles on board ships. Their education, training and certification are conducted according to minimum international requirements laid down by the Convention of the International Maritime Organisation on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers, 1978, as amended (STCW Convention).

last update: 15-12-2008