In my previous posts of this series, I have so far dicussed three kind of organisations... namely the oil majors, ship owners and the shipyards. In short, shipyards either make, repair or break ships, shipowners buy these ships and oil majors either hire these ships or directly buy from the yards to transfer their products from one place to another.
But I have not discussed how these ships run. I mean who are the people who are involved in the day to day sailing of the ships. The people who run these ships (micro level) are termed mechant navy officers. Normally, in a sailing ship, there are two departments... the deck department and the engine room department. The deck department is led by the chief officer and the engine room top guy is the chief engineer.The chief officer is responsible for all kinds of cargo operations like cargo loading and discharge. The chief engineer is resposible for the engine side of the ship. Both these people are assisted by a series of other officers who are well aware of the heirarchy level.( Democracy is not a good idea in a ship. thats what I feel at the moment). Now both the people report to the captain of the ship who is the master of the ship.In other words the ship is under the command of the captain, who is responsible for the safety of the ship. The captain reports to the technical service team of the shipping company presenting all the details of the happenings of the ship.In case the ship faces any problem (lets say her rudder failed, or the main engine is not in good shape), the captain informs this to the shore based technical team and the members of the technical team (often designated as superintendents) bear the responsibilty to get back the things into shape by dealing with the respective technicians and helping them to reach the ship.
There are various manning companies whom the shipping companies provide the responsibility to find suitable officers for the fleet. It is really nice that most of these manning companies are India centric considering the professionalism and worth of the Indian officers. Two of the best known examples are Executive ship management doing the manning for British Petroleum ships while OMCI doing the same thing for the US tanker major OMI.
Thus with this post I complete the discussion on merchant navy and day to day technical management of ships.