Deck Officers

The stowage has to be arranged so that goods to be discharged at the first port are accessible first and so on without disturbing the ship’s stability; remembering that the cargo may have been loaded at several different places. This same problem exists even in modern container ships but as they calculate their loading time in hours and minutes rather than days, there is no time for the Mate’s artistry. Instead, a team of ‘Ship Planners’ assists the ship’s command by recording every container as it is booked and using sophisticated computer systems they calculate where each container must go both to satisfy stability and acces­sibility. Considerable time has been spent describing some aspects of the Master’s role because, as mentioned at the beginning, most contact between the manager’s office and the ship will be via the Master.  Quite often there will be the paradox of instructions being sent to the Master – a highly qualified person – from, perhaps, someone with far less knowledge an experience. Nevertheless one should never overlook the status of a ship’s Master in his own world. By the same token, it could well be the manager’s job to recruit the Masters for the ships under his control and the foregoing glimpse at the role he has to fulfil gives an idea of the calibre of person needed to fill the post. This need for care does, of course, extend to all ranks even more today than ever before.  The economic pressure to reduce the size of crews makes it impera­tive that every member of the ship’s company is an efficient unit. Ship’s officers and ratings need proper training if they are to do their job safely and competently.  Deck and Engineering Officers obviously have separate training routes.  In the case of Deck (or Navigating Officers) there are three levels of certification, Second Mate, First Mate and Master, each of which requires a mix of both study with examination and time spent serving at sea in order to qualify. Engineering qualifications are similarly structured. In all cases the qualification achieved is identified by a Certificate of Competence.