Deck Crew Structure On Board Merchant Vessels

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Published: 12th February 2013
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Life on of a vessel is quite different from any other shore centered occupations or organization. Each and every crew member holds a specific grade and carries specific assignments in order to sustain the vessel operations successful.


Mainly, the vesselís crew has got 2 types of seafarers: officers and ratings. Both these crew members have the capacity to perform either on deck or in the engine room.


The Deck department the vessel navigation, watch keeping, the maintenance of the shipís hull, cargo, equipment and accommodation, looking after the shipís life preserving and firefighting appliances. The deck department is also the one in charge with receiving, discharging and caring for cargo. As stated by the vesselís hierarchy, the deck officers are as follows: Master, Chief Officer, Second Officer, Third Officer and Deck Cadet (deck officer to be).


The supreme authority on board a merchant vessel is the Master. The whole crew is under his command. He is in charge of the safeness, use and maintenance of the vessel and takes care that each individual crew member carries out his work correctly. He is also responsible for the following: payroll, shipís accounting, inventories, custom and immigration regulations, and the shipís documents. To become Master, a seafarer needs to first have a number of years of practical experience as a deck officer and also as Chief Officer.


According to the vesselís hierarchy, the first deck officer and head of the deck department after the Master is the Chief Officer or Chief Mate. He is responsible with the ship navigation, watch assignments, charging and discharging operations. The Chief Officer furthermore guides the other officers on deck, generates and posts watch tasks and implements the Masterís instructions so as to preserve safe operations and maintenance of the ship.


Second Officer or Second Mate is the following in rank after the Chief Mate and the shipís navigator, working on creating the shipís passing plans and keeping charts and publications up to date. Besides from watch keeping, the Second Officer may also be designated to instruct the cadets on the ship or to perform the rank of security, safety, environmental or medical officer.


The Third Officer or Third Mate is the 4 th deck officer in command and is usually the Shipís Safety Officer, in charge with providing the good performance of the fire-fighting equipment and life saving equipments. He undertakes bridge watches and learns how to become a Second Officer.


A Cadet on board a merchant ship acquires structured guidance and knowledge on the ship and gets to know the right way to become a deck officer.


Apart from the officers, the deck department crew at the same time contains ratings, like AB (Able Body Seaman), OS (Ordinary Seaman) and Boatswain.


The AB is a member of the deck crew and carries jobs which include: doing watches, steering the ship, working with the Officer on watch, mooring and unmooring the vessel, deck maintenance and cleaning up. The AB also secures and unsecures the cargo and takes on deck and accommodation patrols.


OS is the crew member whose main duty is to keep up the cleanliness of the whole ship and may serve as assistant for the AB. Being an OS is actually an apprenticeship, an interval identified as ďsea timeĒ so as to be permitted to take courses and training for AB.


Both the AB and OS usually are monitored by a Boatswain, who happens to be also a rating, in charge with evaluating the cargo-handling gadgets and lifesaving equipment as well. The Boatswain usually holds an AB certification as well.


The configuration for the deck department on board merchant vessels is primarily the exact same on all vessel categories.
Nedcon Maritime recruits deck officers and rating for varied vessel categories like general cargo, bulk, container vessels, tankers, offshore vessels etc. Our data-base contains well skilled crew men who, apart from the usual requirements, possess a number of other certification such as: AB Crane Operator, AB Cook, DP Officers etc.


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