Career in Merchant Navy services - Complete Guide


Wed, 08/03/2022 - 16:56

What are Merchant Navy services, and how to apply and enroll?

The merchant navy plays a crucial role in international trade as it is responsible for oceanic transportation of freights and carrying cargo to different parts of the world. Transportation of goods remains at the core of worldwide associations and economies as a part of the world exchange between countries. Hence this job requires extensive traveling as well as allows you to explore various countries of the world.

Merchant navy courses are designed to provide knowledge and build the entire team of the naval force. Vendor ships use a lot of laborers to start merchandise with one nation and then onto the next. Professionals dealing with these business ships are called sailors or marines.

The merchant navy is one of the most lucrative jobs of all. If you are interested to pursue your care laborer in the merchant navy it is important to understand the skills, qualifications, and eligibility criteria required to join the merchant navy. Position on-board trader boats can be classified into four offices:

  • Deck division/route
  • Building office
  • Electro-specialized office
  • Stewards’ office/accommodation.

Here in this article, we will discuss how the merchant navy differs from other navy entities, also about know if there is a government job available in this sector and why it is a promising career the average salary and skills required, and understand how to join the merchant navy.

Difference between merchant navy and other navy entities.

The merchant navy is a commercial marine service responsible for shipping cargo from one place to another. It is a commercial form of sea career that is governed both by government and private shipping companies. Also, defense or the Indian navy refers to the nation's maritime military wing. It is the unit of the country's armed forces and is in charge of the nation's sea security.

Perks of joining merchant navy.

Merchant Navy can be a promising career option because of the following reasons:

High salary pays: one of the benefits of pursuing a career in the merchant navy is that the jobs are lucrative. Officers in this field get well salaries and have growth potential.

Get an opportunity to travel and explore: Along with the higher wages, they get other benefits as well, like traveling from one place to another. Since they deal with overseas trade business, traveling from one place to another is a part of their job. Hence, they may get a chance to travel to different parts of the world.

Gets to know about different cultures: All the professionals working in this field are from different cultures and nations. Hence, they get to know about each other’s nuances of other cultures and increase their adaptability to work with individuals from different countries.

Plenty of job opportunities: There are plenty of job opportunities with lucrative packages. Merchant Navy can find employment in various types of cargo. Bulk carriers carry cement, grains, coal, ore, and unpacked bulk cargo whereas the referred ships carry perishable goods like fruits, vegetables, fish, and meat. These ships are designed specially to control temperature variations.

Tax benefits:

Sailors serving in the merchant navy get a lot of tax benefits. Taxes income of a seafarer is applied based on his/ her residential status.

1. Income tax for resident seafarers

The resident seafarer or merchant navy personnel will be taxed as per the Indian Income Tax Law. However, there are no income tax exemptions for merchant mariners/ seafarers.

2. Income tax for non-resident seafarers

If a sailor serves in the sea for more than 183 days or more in the sea, then his/ her CDS (Continuous Discharge Certificate) or passport, and his/ her residential status change to a Non-Resident Seafarer. They are exempted from paying any taxes in India.

Is the merchant navy a government job?

The merchant navy is a both government and private job. In India, there is a Shipping Corporation of India (SCI) which is a government shipping company. So, if you work in SCI, then you work as a government employee. Other than SCI, all other sectors are private companies.

How to enroll in the merchant navy?

If you are extremely enthusiastic about sea adventures and have a zeal to be a part of plenty of sea journeys should opt for this career. You can join the merchant navy as a cadet or engineer, which completely depends upon your educational qualification. It is one of the most lucrative careers and has a lot of growth opportunities. let’s know more about how to join the merchant navy.


UG Courses:

Candidates who are aspiring to be merchant navy officers must fulfill some of the basic eligibility criteria. These criteria are mentioned below.  

  • To opt for a bachelor’s degree course, you must have completed class 12 with Physics, Chemistry, and Mathematics.
  • Must be unmarried Indian residents (male or female) within the age limit of 28.
  • Must take a boat instructional class before doing a commercial movement.

Medical Requirements

Other than the educational requirements, there are some medical requirements for Merchant Navy Courses as well. These are mentioned below.

  • Must have good hearing and eyesight.
  • Candidates must provide a medical fitness certificate by authorized authorities.

PG Courses:

  • To pursue GME, a candidate must have a bachelor's degree in Naval Architecture and Mechanical Engineering
  • To opt for MBA, in Merchant Navy, a candidate must have a bachelor's degree from a recognized university.

Entrance Exams:

To enroll themselves in the top colleges in the Merchant Navy, students need to appear and qualify in some entrance exams. Some of the well-known entrance exams are mentioned below.

  • AIMNET (All India Merchant Navy Entrance Test)
  • Post Graduate Diploma in Marine Engineering (PGDME)
  • JEE Advanced
  • MERI Entrance Exam
  • HIMT-OET Hindustan Institute of Maritime Online Entrance Test


Aspiring candidates can join the diploma programs just after the completion of their 10th standard. If you complete your 12th exams in the Science stream then there are various bachelor’s and master’s degree programs that you can choose.

Courses For Joining Merchant Navy after 10th

  • Near Costal Voyage (NCV)
  • Diploma in Nautical Science (DNS)
  • Diploma in Marine Engineering (DME)
  • Commercial Diving
  • G.P. Rating

Bachelor’s Programs

  • B.Sc Nautical Science
  • B.E Marine Engineering
  • B.E. Mechanical Engineering
  • B.E Harbour and Ocean Engineering
  • B.Tech Marine Engineering
  • B.Tech Harbour & Ocean Engineering
  • B.Tech Ship Building
  • B.Tech Naval Architecture and Offshore Engineering

Master’s Programs

  • M Tech in Naval Architecture
  • M Tech in Dredging and Harbour Engineering
  • M Tech in Marine Engineering
  • ME in Naval Engineering
  • ME in offshore engineering
  • Me in Marine engineering

MBA Programs

  • MBA Shipping Finance
  • M.B.A. Shipping & Logistics Management

Other courses

  • Electro-Technical Officer Course
  • B.B.A. Logistics & Supply Chain Management
  • Marine Engineering under Alternate Training Scheme
  • BBA Shipping

Top Colleges for Merchant Navy in India and Abroad.

Several merchant navy colleges are located throughout the country which provides training to those who wish to pursue their career in this field. The list of top colleges to pursue merchant navy courses is mentioned below. You will need to fulfill all the eligibility requirements to enroll yourself in these colleges.

The list of top colleges to pursue merchant navy in India are:

  1. TS Rahaman Mumbai
  2. Tolani Maritime Institute (TMI)
  3. B.P. Marine Academy Navi Mumbai
  4. Training Ship (TS) Chanakya-Mumbai
  5. Indian Maritime University (IMU) Chennai
  6. Vels Academy of Maritime Studies Chennai
  7. International Maritime Institute (IMI) Delhi
  8. Coimbatore Marine College (CMC) Coimbatore
  9. Samundra Institute of Maritime Studies- Mumbai
  10. Hindustan Institute of Marine Technology-Chennai
  11. Institute of Technology & Marine Engineering (ITME) Kolkata
  12. Maharashtra Academy of Naval Education and Training (MANET) Pune

The list of top colleges to pursue merchant navy abroad are:

  1. Australian Maritime College- Australia
  2. Manukau Institute of Technology- Australia
  3. Aarhus University, School of Marine and Technical Engineering- Denmark
  4. The University of New Orleans- USA
  5. British Columbia Institute of Technology, Pacific Marine Training Campus- Canada
  6. Edith Cowan University- Australia
  7. Fleetwood Nautical College- UK
  8. Hiroshima National College of Maritime Technology- Japan
  9. The University of Strathclyde- UK
  10. Griffith University- Australia

Types of Merchant Navy Ships

Choosing the type of navy ship plays a crucial role in your professional career as a merchant navy. Those who are aspiring to make a career in the merchant navy must have the types of ships they will be getting into.

  • Bulk Carrier- they deliver unpacked bulk cargo that includes ore, coal, cement, and other such materials.
  • Reefer Ship- they mostly temperature controlled as they transfer perishable items such as vegetables, dairy products, fish, and meat
  • Roll on/off Ship- these ships are in charge of moving vehicles and other transport equipment. They have advanced ramps structured to drive in and out vehicles such as cars, trucks, railroad cars, and more.
  • Oil Tanker/Chemical Tanker- Probably one of the most in-demand and equally tough cargo ships is the oil tanker or the chemical tanker. There are two types of oil tankers. One carries crude oil and the other carries different petroleum products.
  • LNG Carrier- They carry Liquified Natural Gas and are some of the highest paying ships for the merchant navy.

Job Profiles:

There are several job roles and rankings in the merchant navy. Depending on your area of interest you can choose which course you can opt for in the merchant navy. There are usually two departments for ship officers- Deck and Engineering.

List of job profiles according to their ranking.

There are seven positions for Deck officers;

  • Captain
  • Chief Officer
  • Second Officer/ Mate
  • Deck Cadet
  • Bosun
  • Able seaman

There are 5 positions for engineers;

  • Chief Engineer
  • Second Engineer/ Assistant Engineer
  • Third Engineer/ Second Assistant Engineer
  • Fourth Engineer/ Third Assistant Engineer
  • Fifth Engineer/ Fourth Assistant Engineer

Apart from these, there are also catering and housekeeping staff.

Top Recruiting Companies:

The Merchant Navy field has a lot of lucrative job options in India, as well as abroad. Below mentioned are some of the top companies in the merchant navy field.

The list of top Merchant Navy Companies in India is mentioned below

  1. The Shipping Corporation of India Ltd.
  2. Essar Shipping Ltd.
  3. The Great Eastern Shipping Companies
  4. Bharti Defence and Infrastructure Ltd
  5. ABG Shipyard
  6. Mercator Ltd
  7. Gujurat Pipavav
  8. Varun Shipping
  9. Global Offshore Services Limited
  10. Shreyas Shipping

List of top Merchant Navy Companies Abroad:

  1. Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha (NYK)
  2. Evergreen Marine Corporation
  3. Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC)
  4. Hapag-Lloyd
  5. American President Lines (APL)
  6. China Ocean Shipping Company (CSCL)
  7. Mitsui O.S.K Lines Ltd. (MSLOY)
  8. M/S. Torm Shipping India Private Limited
  9. ABS Marine Services Pvt Ltd
  10. Goodwood Marine Services Pvt Ltd
  11. MSC Crewing Services Private Limited
  12. Shan Ship Management Private Limited

Salary Ranges:

The salary of the sailors depends on their position, experience, and extra education. Below mentioned are a few of the careers and salaries of a merchant navy graduate.

Sailors serving in the merchant navy get a lot of tax benefits. If they serve in the sea for 183 days or more in international waters, otherwise, then their salary is exempted from paying taxes in India. Resident seafarers will have to pay taxes in India.

Job Profile          

Average Salary (Per Month)

Deck Cadet        

INR 25,000 to 85,000

3rd Officer/ 2ndOfficer 

INR 1,50,000 to 3,00,000

Chief Officer     

INR 4,00,000 to 6,00,000


INR 8,65,000 to 20,00,000

Skills required to become a merchant navy officer

Below mentioned are some of the skills that you must have before joining the merchant navy:

  1. Leadership skills

Professionals in the merchant navy often have to make some crucial decisions that involve the cargo or safety and maintenance of ships. Hence employers prefer candidates who possess excellent leadership skills as the leaders should be confident, honest, and must have a positive outlook for every problem they encounter. Also, leadership techniques can help them inspire and influence other sailors working on the ship.

  1. Communications skills

Since you’ll have to work with multiple teams offshore, hence it is important to communicate properly and avoid instances of miscommunication. One of the foremost skills required from a sailor is his/ her communication skills. One must be able to communicate his/ her ideas to ensure everyone understands what you are saying.

  1. Teamwork

Sailors often work in both in-house and offshore teams to ensure the safe delivery of cargo. Hence employers look for candidates who have the ability to work in a team. Also, using their teamwork skills, sailors can combine ideas with colleagues to achieve a common goal.

  1. Critical thinking

You may face some problems during the sea voyage or while working offshore. Hence you will need to have a critical thinking ability to help them find a viable solution. So you must have the quality to think clearly and rationally to come to a logical solution to the problem at hand.

  1. Self-control

Keep your, is the top job of the

Self-control is a very important ability that you must possess to keep your behavior, emotions, and thoughts in control and accomplish your goals. Employers want their professionals to have excellent self-control to avoid inappropriate behavior as sailing for most of the year can be challenging and candidates may face immense emotional and mental pressure. Hence you need to be mentally strong enough and have a sense of responsibility for your duties and the safety of others on the ship.