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Officer's Duties

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Officer's Duties

A ship is run by dedicated seafarers who follows a system of chain of command. Each individual working onboard a ship has specific duties and are qualified for certain functions.

In order for the ship to sail safely, there have to be a specific number of qualified individuals onboard. For example, all flag administrations for ships registered in their country always specifies that there should at least be a Master, a Chief Officer, a Chief Engineer and a Second Engineer onboard before it can be allowed to sail. Depending on the trading pattern, other officers like 2nd Officer, 3rd Officer, and 3rd Engineer might be included also. One or two GMDSS radio operators might also be specified.

Furthermore, there should be a specific number of watch-keeping ratings on board to support the operation of the ship. The number and qualifications of these crew members are all stated in the Safe Manning Document issued by the flag administrations.

Below are some typical duties of the crew members on board. Shipping companies may differ in assigning some of the duties specifically to their officers, but generally the duties are quite similar.

Captain: Overall in charge of the ship. Management role includes safety and security management, business and finance, compliance to regulations, reporting, decision making, navigation.

Chief Officer: Executive role for cargo and stability, safety, security, navigation, maintenance, water.

2nd Officer: In charge of lifesaving appliances, firefighting equipment, navigation charting, navigation equipment, medical supplies, publications.

3rd Officer: Helping out as needed.

Chief Engineer: Management role for engine department. Maintenance of all mechanical and electrical equipment. Reporting, bunker, spares.

2nd Engineer: Executive role for safety equipment, maintenance of all mechanical and electrical equipment. Main engine.

3rd Engineer: Maintenance of specific assigned equipment, e.g. Diesel auxiliary engines.

4th Engineer: Maintenance of specific assigned equipment, e.g. Boiler, purifier, pumps

Electrical Engineer: Maintenance of electrical equipment. Not qualified for watch-keeping duties.

Ratings Duties

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