Career in Merchant Navy

A Merchant Navy or Merchant Marine is the fleet of merchant vessels and ships that travel to different countries for trade. These fleets are registered in any country and deals with transporting cargo and passengers by sea. There are different positions that an aspirant can apply for in this field.

To put it simply, this is the closest you can get to live the experience of Captain Jack Sparrow (from the Pirates of the Caribbean)!
A career in Merchant Navy is only for those who aspire for adventure. And what greater adventure can be there other than travelling in the vast oceans, touching one country after another and meeting different people? Maritime studies programmes prepare students for a variety of careers in the civilian maritime industrial and service sectors.
The role of a Merchant Navy officer is constant. They have to oversee construction, operations and maintenance of the engine room as their fundamental responsibilities. There are many opportunities in both the private and government sectors for graduates. After finishing their studies, they work on cargo ships, container ships or oil and gas tankers.

Top Colleges

There are many top colleges across the globe which offers this course. We have come up with a comprehensive table of the best countries and colleges along with the study duration and annual fees.

Following are some of the countries which have the best universities for Merchant Navy:


Massachusetts Maritime Academy | United States Naval Academy | United States Coast Guard Academy


University of Strathclyde | Newcastle University | Cornwall’s College of the Ocean


Tolani Maritime Institute (TMI) | International Maritime Institute (IMI) Noida | Institute of Technology & Marine Engineering (ITME) Kolkata 

Note: Different countries have their own Merchant Navy rules and academies so it becomes necessary to enrol in the appropriate academy as required by the nation’s merchant marine laws to get the required qualifications.

Career Prospects

The career prospects of a Merchant Navy aspirant are vast. After having sailed in the ships starting as a trainee, and going up the hierarchy slowly, young officers can hope to become captains or chief engineers, depending on the branch they have selected. The officers can also opt for shore assignments as port pilots, surveyors, lecturers, safety auditors, shipping company management professionals or work in technical shipping management organisations and slowly rise up to secure top management positions, or can even show entrepreneurial skills to become a ship owner.

Jobs & Salary

The ship companies which hire individuals are categorised into 

  • Passenger ships - which carry passengers
  • Cargo ships - which carries cargo in solid, liquid and gaseous forms
  • Specialised ships which carry sensitive materials
Following are some of the ship companies:
  • Anglo Eastern Ship Management India Pvt Ltd.
  • CSAV Group Agencies India Pvt Ltd.
  • Drewry Maritime Services Pvt Ltd.
  • ABG Shipyard Ltd.
  • Mercator Ltd.
Merchant Navy is one of the most promising and rewarding field. Merchant Navy officer’s income mostly depends upon their qualifications, experience and organisation. The minimum salary for Merchant Navy officer in India is 7 lakhs per annum.

Pros & Cons

Following are the advantages of being a Merchant Navy officer:

  • Time off is measured in weeks and months - not just days
  • Your days would be challenging and rewarding
  • You can quickly gain responsibility and a salary to match your seniority
  • There is a lifetime of personal development opportunities
  • You get to travel to different countries 

Following are the disadvantages if being a Merchant Navy officer:

  • Though highly paid, the work is very demanding
  • You always have to stay physically fit to take the kind of physical and emotional stress related to the job.
  • You may have to be away from home for long stretches 

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