Travelling around the world, managing cargos, checking ship direction, maintenance of the ship, cleaning of the vessels, exploring various cultures, etc. This is what the life of a Merchant Navy officer is all about.
It is an exciting and adventurous career for the ones who are bitten by the travel bug. They are paid for what they love – Travelling. But there is a flipside too, their work-life balance might be affected as they won’t meet their family for months. They work for 6-7 months at a stretch and are given vacations for 4-5 months. Hence, they get the best of both the worlds.
Merchant Navy is Tax-Free Job. Yes, you read it right- You don’t have to pay any tax to the government, and you will also get an NRI Status, as you live outside India for over 6 months. During the article, we will discuss how to join Merchant Navy, top institutes, eligibility and scope of the field.
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How to Join Merchant Navy in India
There are 2 major profiles through which you can join the Merchant Navy – Engineer & Cadet.
1. Deck Cadet or Navigating Officer
In this category, the career will start as a Deck Cadet, and the job responsibility would primarily be that of maintenance and running of the ship, tanks, cargo, etc. It is their responsibility to supervise the loading and unloading of the cargo. They will then become the third officer, second officer and then Chief Officer with experience.
Education Required to be a Cadet in the Merchant Navy
If you wish to join as a cadet, you can pursue your B.Sc. Nautical Science, B.Sc Marine, B.Sc. Marine Catering, etc. You should have PCM in Class 12th to pursue a career in Merchant Navy.
Admission Process to be a Cadet in the Merchant Navy
IMU CET – You are required to clear IMU- CET which is conducted by Indian Maritime University. Once you clear IMU-CET, you are eligible for B.Sc Nautical Science in all the colleges affiliated to Indian Maritime University. The entrance exam is followed by an interview and medical check-up.
JEE – In various government colleges, the admission is based on the marks secured on the JEE exam which is conducted by the IITs. The admission in T. S.Chanakya, Marine Engineering & Research Institute, Kolkata, & National Maritime Academy, Chennai. is based on the JEE marks. They are required to fill the forms for IMU as well.
Training & Examinations to be a Cadet in the Merchant Navy
After completing the course and before joining the ship as a Cadet, the candidates undergo 1 year of pre-sea training in the Maritime Training Institute. It is a compulsory training after the graduation and before joining the ship as a Cadet. It is not a part of your graduation, it is later graduation.
After the pre-sea training, the cadets are placed on ships for training for a period of approximately 18 months. The cadets can take a break in between, and this could be dispersed over different ships. Cadets get a stipend of around 15-40k. After their training, they are eligible to appear for competency examination conducted by the government of India. Once you pass this exam, you can join the ship as a third officer. With experience over the ship and some examinations, cadets move up the position. Generally, it takes around 11 years to reach the highest position, i.e. Captain of the Ship.
After their training, they are eligible to appear for competency examination conducted by the government of India. Once you pass this exam, you can join the ship as a third officer. With experience over the ship and some examinations, cadets move up the position. Generally, it takes around 11 years to reach the highest position, i.e. Captain of the Ship.
Colleges offering B.sc Nautical Science/ B.Sc Marine Science/ Diploma in Nautical Science
HIMT College (Hindustan Institute of Maritime Training), Tolani Maritime Institute, Anglo Eastern Maritime Academy, Applied Research International School of Maritime Studies, Great Eastern Institute of Maritime Studies, etc.
Some of the other entrance exams are TMI SAT (Tolani Maritime University), WBJEE (West Bengal Joint Entrance Examination), CUSAT CAT (Cochin University of Science and Technology), etc.
You will start working as a Cadet or Junior Engineer. The other positions are Third Engineer, Second Engineer, and Chief Engineer. You will move up the position with experience on the sea and various exams conducted at each level. They take care of the engine, boiler, generator, etc. and make sure that all the machines on the board are working fine.
Education Required to be an Engineer in the Merchant Navy
To work as an Engineer, you should pursue a bachelor’s in one of the following disciplines:
- Marine Engineering
- Naval Architecture and Offshore Engineering
- Petroleum Engineering
- Mechanical Engineering
- Harbour & Ocean Engineering
- Civil Engineering
- Electrical & Electronics Engineering
Admission Process to be an Engineer in the Merchant Navy
IMU CET – You are required to clear IMU- CET which is conducted by Indian Maritime University. Once you clear IMU-CET, you are eligible for B.sc Nautical Science, B.tech in Marine Engineering etc. in all the colleges affiliated to Indian Maritime University.
JEE – Some government colleges admit students on the basis of the JEE score. As engineers are also eligible to join Merchant Navy, you can sit for JEE and join the traditional engineering colleges as well.
Training and Examination: They are also sent on the pre-sea training for a year before they are sent on board. Then they are placed on the ship for a training period of approximately 6 months. After their training period, they appear the competency examination and work as the fourth engineer on ships. For moving up the ladder, they are expected to complete sea time and they give competency exams.
Top Colleges to be an Engineer in the Merchant Navy
B. Tech (Marine Engineering): Coimbatore Marine College, Euro Tech Maritime Academy, HIMT College (Hindustan Institute of Maritime Training), International Maritime Institute, Samundra Institute of Maritime Studies, etc.
Post Graduate Diploma in Marine Engineering: Coimbatore Marine College, HIMT College Hindustan Institute of Maritime Training, etc.
Traditional Engineering Colleges: Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), National Institute of Technology (NIT), Birla Institute of Technology (BITS), Vellore Institute of Technology, Netaji Subhas Institute of Technology, etc.
Eligibility Criteria to Join the Merchant Navy
Subjects in Class 12th
You should take Science (Physics, Chemistry & Mathematics) with at least 60 % in your class 12th. You should also have 50% marks in English.
You should be unmarried at the time of joining.
If you are pursuing B.sc (Maritime Science, etc.) should have 6/6 for each eye. If you are joining B.tech (Marine Engineering), you will be allowed up to plus or minus 2.5. Un-aided vision should be 6/12 in both eyes minimum, or 6/9 in the good eye and 6/12 in the other eye at least. Any kind of colour blindness is not allowed.
You should be at least 17 years at the time of the joining, and not more than 22 years at the time of application. If you wish to join after B.Sc/B.tech, you should not be more than 25-28. (Different for different positions).
Physical fitness holds importance to join Merchant Navy. You would require a certificate from a medical doctor before joining the course.
Scope of Merchant Navy in India
There is tremendous scope in the field, and Merchant Navy is among one of the most lucrative careers. There are various kinds of ships carrying different types of cargos. They can find employment according to the area of their interest or availability in the market.
The starting salary of Cadets is around 40-50k. Generally, the task of the cadet is the maintenance of the ship, and they assist the officers with their task. After completing sea period, competency exams and after joining the ship, their salary would jump to 90k-1,20,000. Similarly, the engineers earn around 50k in the beginning and it can reach up to 1-2lacs.
Engineers take care of the technical issues and are responsible for the smooth running of the ship. The salaries of the various companies are different, but gas tankers generally pay 20-30% more. There are various types of cargos in which they can find employment:
There are various kinds of cargos which you can join after completing your education. You can choose the kind of ship you wish to join, although it will totally depend upon the vacancy of various fields.
Types of Merchant Navy Cargos
- Bulk Carrier: Bulk Carrier also referred as bulker carries unpacked bulk cargo like ore, coal, cement, grains, etc.
- Reefer Ship: Reefer ships are designed to transport perishable material such as vegetables, dairy product, fish, meat, fruits, etc. These commodities require temperature controlled system.
- Roll on/ Roll Off Ship: Such ships carry wheeled cargo such as cars, trucks, railroad cars, etc. The ramps are built in a way to efficiently roll on and roll off the vehicles.
- Oil Tanker/ Chemical Tanker: Oil Tanker also referred to as petroleum tanker are designed to carry bulk oil. There are two types of oil tankers- Crude Tankers and Product Tanker. Chemical Tanker is a separate type of ship and they carry chemicals in bulk.
- LNG Carrier: They are designed to carry Liquified Natural Gas and is among the rapidly growing area of the Merchant navy. It is amongst the highest paying sectors.
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