Ship’s Officers

The engine-room department will usually employ shore-based marine engineers customarily referred to as engineering superintendents.  They have to oversee the routine operation of the ships’ main and auxiliary machinery, keeping a close watch on routine servicing, maintenance and replacement of those parts which wear out and need regular renewal.  A small but vital element of their job is to ensure that the correct grade and quality of bunker fuels and lubricants are supplied to the ships. Superintendents have to be ready to react without delay with advice or physical presence in the event of a breakdown and to oversee major repairs, inspections and overhauls. The deck department is also often staffed by ship’s officers who have decided to work ashore and they have the title of marine superintendents.  Their duties, like their engineering colleagues, are concerned with maintaining the structure of the ship from overseeing major surveys and repairs to ensuring the paintwork is kept in good condition. Failure to ensure efficiency in the technical departments will quickly run the ships into trouble which can vary from classification being temporarily withdrawn pending seaworthiness being restored to the extreme of a major catastrophe with human lives as well as goods being placed at risk.  As a result of international conventions initiated by the International Maritime Organization (IMO), which is a division of the United Nations, most of the worlds maritime nations have enacted laws which permit Port State Control, a device which enables a ship to be detained until sub-standard items are put right.  Such detention is one of the risks an owner runs if his technical departments are inadequate.  The International Ship Management Code of Practice (ISM code) is another international convention established by the IMO which sets out the minimum levels of training, administration and management of ships and which has been adopted by the majority of the maritime nations of the world.