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The work in a merchant ship can be divided into three main areas — deck, engine and service. These do not stand separate as watertight compartments. Consequent on the increasing application of electronics and computers, there are changing norms in the division of work among the three departments. In many instances there has to be co-operative effort and teamwork, since there are areas of overlap in functions. Studies in the growth of merchant navy services indicate great prospects for those who get trained in this area. Right aptitude is essential for success.

Deck/Navigation Department:

Deck officer or navigation officer as the name suggests is in charge of the navigation of the ship. That particular department is called Deck department. He is not only responsible for the safe navigation of the vessel but also for the discipline on the ship and safety of passengers, crew and the cargo.

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Engine Department:

Marine Engineers have the complete responsibility of the ship’s engine room. The main personnel in this department is the Ship engineer/chief engineer who ensures safe and economic running of all engines, boilers, electrical, refrigerating and sanitary equipment, deck machinery and steam connections aboard the ship.

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Service Department:

The work undertaken here revolves around the living and catering services for all the crew on board. A chief steward heads a large team of stewards, bakers, messmen etc. Apart from this, the department also has other services such as the services of Divers for underwater examination of the heel of the ship, propellers, pipes etc. Light Keepers, who operate light house signaling equipment to guide incoming and passing ships, and Nautical surveyors, who prepare charts of particular regions of the seas, with regard to topography and conditions of the sea.

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