The Ultimate Guide To Join Merchant Navy
Finishing one’s 12th board exams is a big deal in India. There are all these pressures and expectations to excel in life and get into the field that’ll be the perfect choice for the future, professionally speaking.
Everyone at that stage in life has massive dreams about having a job that takes them places and gets them paid really well at the end of the month.
Of course, these times are dynamic with a plethora of options wherein a lot of the individuals are bent towards entrepreneurship and starting something on their own; those are great options but having a startup that early in life is much harder than one can imagine.
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As far as salaried professions are concerned, the merchant navy remains one of the most rewarding lines of work that there is, personally too. The prospect of travelling the whole world, earning money that is far better than those that are handed out onshore, the ability to don a uniform and call oneself an officer, the pride and maturity that are to come with handling responsibility- the responsibility of running a multi-million dollar ship and her cargo as well as running the manpower behind it- these are the salient features of this profession that not many others can boast of.
Ask any seafarer and they’ll tell you the respect and curiosity it ignites in anyone that is not from the industry. They’ll also tell you that there’s a great deal of happiness in answering those questions, happiness with regard to the appreciation that a seafarer garners from the average Joe. A career at sea definitely sets an individual apart, and rightfully so.
Although a popular choice of career in India, it isn’t exactly advertised with the required information across the media. Everyone usually has to consult someone within the maritime industry before making the right choice with respect to the choice, of course, eligibility for entry and the other qualifications that may be required to become part of the merchant marine.
We at Marine Insight decided it would be a step forward in charting out a detailed article to help anybody make the right choice towards his or her career. Joining the merchant navy after Class 12th is no rocket science and the following are the course options that may be pursued:
Merchant Navy Courses after 12th
To join as a Deck Officer
- BSc Nautical Science (3 Years)
- Diploma in Nautical Science (Leads to a BSc Nautical Science. Duration is 1 year)
To join as an Engineer
- BE/B Tech Marine Engineering (4 Years)
To join as a Rating after Class X or XII
- Pre Sea GP Rating Course (6 Months)
To join in the catering department after Class X or XII
- Maritime Catering Course (6 Months)
- BSc in Marine Catering (3 Years)
Above are the merchant navy courses that may be pursued after Class XII. Note that this list is indicative and not exhaustive and other/new courses may be prevalent or come up with the growing demands of the industry.
Earlier these courses would be affiliated to different universities across India with the multitude of options and eligibility criteria. However, after the inception of the Indian Maritime University, most of the courses (the recognized ones) have come under the purview of IMU. The degrees and diplomas are awarded by the IMU and this was a huge step in amalgamating all the different courses under one standardised umbrella. There were discrepancies about the validity and acceptability of different courses that have now been ironed out. The important dates and timeline and the brochure for the examination carried out for admission into these various courses can be found out in the official IMU website. The link to the brochure is as follows: https://www.imu.edu.in/
Depending on the marks on the IMU CET (Common Entrance Test), candidates are accepted into the various campuses of IMU and its affiliated institutions. Registration for the exam can be made on the above-mentioned website including the merchant navy application form (Form for 2017 is not yet released) and every other bit of information.
Eligibility to join the Merchant Navy
AGE: The minimum age is 17 years and the maximum is 25 years to be eligible for examinations pertaining to the merchant navy. As per the Government rules, the maximum age relaxation for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes is 5 years.
PHYSICAL FITNESS: Physical fitness is of utmost importance for a career at sea. A certificate of fitness from a registered medical practitioner is mandatory for admission into a course. Candidates with disability aren’t eligible for admission into courses with regard to the merchant navy. This hasn’t much to do with discrimination as such as it is supremely important to be fully able in carrying out the duties on board a merchant ship.
EYESIGHT:6/12 in each eye or 6/9 in better eye and 6/18 in other eye for distant unaided vision. Color blindness in any case is absolutely NOT PERMITTED.
Both genders are allowed to join the merchant navy. In fact, female candidates are encouraged. Individuals ought to be unmarried at the time of joining the course. For the purpose of the application, the board pursued in Class XII (and Class X in some cases) must be one that is a recognized board as per the Government of India.
For the officer grade, it is mandatory to have at least 50% marks in English and an aggregate of 60% marks in Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics. As far as the ratings are concerned, the requirements are different with the requirement set at 40% marks in English in Xth and XIIth and a 40% aggregate in Xth or XIIth with English, Mathematics and Sciences in Xth and any stream for the XIIth board. The same applies to those wishing to join the catering department on the ship. Having said that, the criteria for the eligibility might differ with the different institutes and it is advisable to check the website of the desired institute to check the specific requirement set for the admission into the desired course.
While there are myriad institutes offering these courses, under the purview of IMU or not, it is important to check the legitimacy of the institute in question seeing as a lot many agencies and such try and dupe individuals owing to the lucrative nature of this career and the many youths wanting to choose this field.
A lot of institutes also make promises of placement and the likes that should not be taken as a guarantee for employment; there is a difference between 100% placement assistance and 100% placement and the same should be checked and verified before choosing an institute.
While the industry is ever demanding for manpower, especially due to the permanent nature of the shipping industry, one must be aware of the current status of the industry in determining the choice to join it. Employment is not as easy as it used to be and it imperative to be aware of merchant navy job prospects before taking the leap.
Disclaimer: The authors’ views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of Marine Insight. Data and charts, if used, in the article have been sourced from available information and have not been authenticated by any statutory authority. The author and Marine Insight do not claim it to be accurate nor accept any responsibility for the same. The views constitute only the opinions and do not constitute any guidelines or recommendation on any course of action to be followed by the reader.
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Shilavadra Bhattacharjee is a shipbroker with a background in commercial operations after having sailed onboard as a Third Officer. His interests primarily lie in the energy sector, books and travelling.