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Ship-board organizational structure - Deck , Engine & catering department

The ship’s crews are the personnel who sail on board a ship and are responsible for its operation, primarily when the ship is at sea (with some responsibility when at port). For the purpose of ship operation and traditionally, the crew of a commercial ship is divided into three departments :
The Captain or Master is the ship's highest responsible officer, acting on behalf of the ship's owner/operator or manager. The Captain/Master is legally responsible for the day-to-day management of the ship. It is his/her responsibility to ensure that all the departments perform legally to the ship's the owner /operator or manager's requirements. The ship has several deck officers that assist the master.

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Master also usually has pilots' advice while the ship is navigating in restricted waters, such as narrow or shallow channels. Also, each shipboard department has a designated head who reports to the master. The deck department is headed by a Chief Officer. The engine department is headed by a Chief Engineer. He has other licensed engineers to assist him with engine room watch and the performance of maintenance and repair activities in the engine room. The Chief Steward is the head of the catering department. He assists the captain in dealing with embarkation (entering a port) and disembarkation (leaving a port) formalities and other administrative tasks.

Additionally, in ports, he will take care of ordering and supervising the delivery of provisions, galley supply, and distribution, crew wages, etc. The above roles and their level of engagement will vary from one ship type to another.

Shipboard Organization
Typical Shipboard Organization

Deck Department

Chief Officer: The Chief Officer, also called Chief Mate or First Mate, is the head of the deck department. He is second-in-command after the ship's master. The Chief Officer's primary responsibilities are the vessel's cargo operations, stability, and supervising the deck crew. The Chief Officer is responsible for the safety and security of the ship, as well as the welfare of the crew on board.

The Chief Officer typically stands the 4-8 hours of a navigation watch. Additional duties include ensuring good maintenance of the ship's hull, cargo gears, accommodations, the lifesaving and firefighting appliances. The Chief Officer also trains the crew and cadets on various aspects like safety, firefighting, search and rescue and various other contingencies.

Second Officer: The Second Officer, also called Second Mate, is usually in charge of ship navigation with a position below Chief Officer and above Third Officer. He/she is the third-in-command, after the Master and Chief Officer. The second officer typically stands to watch from 1200 to 1600 at noon and again from 0000 to 0400 in the nights.

Third Officer: The third officer also called 3rd Mate primarily charged with the safety of the ship and crew. The Third officer generally serves as the ship's chief safety officer. The Third Officer is the next licensed position on board the vessel, as fourth-in-command.

Engine department

The engineers on board ships are also called technical officers. They are responsible for keeping the machinery maintained and operational. Today, ships are complex systems that combine a lot of technology within a small space. This includes not only the engines and the propulsion system but also, for example, the electrical power supply, devices for loading and discharging, garbage incineration, and freshwater generators. Additionally, more and more environmental protection technologies, fuel treatment systems, and cargo conditioning devices are used onboard ships. The upkeep of all these are in the hands of engine department staff.

Chief Engineer: The Chief Engineer on a commercial vessel is the official title of someone qualified to manage and oversee the engine department. The qualification for this position is colloquially called a "chief's ticket." The Chief Engineer is responsible for all operations and maintenance of all engineering equipment throughout the ship.

Second Engineer: The Second Engineer is the officer responsible for supervising the daily maintenance and operation of the engineering systems. He or she reports directly to the Chief Engineer. The Second Engineer is second in command in the engine department after the ship's Chief Engineer. The person holding this position is typically the busiest engineer onboard the ship, due to the supervisory role this engineer plays and the operations duties performed. Operational duties include responsibility for the refrigeration systems, main engines, and any other equipment not assigned to the third or fourth engineers.

The Third Engineer is junior to the second engineer in the engine department and is usually in charge of boilers, fuel, auxiliary engines, condensate, and feed systems. This engineer is typically in charge of bunkering if the officer holds a valid certificate for fuel transfer operations.

Fourth Engineer: The Fourth Engineer is junior to the third engineer in the engine department. The most junior marine engineer of the ship is usually responsible for electrical, sewage treatment, lube oil, bilge, and oily water separation systems. Depending on usage, this person usually stands a watch. Moreover, the fourth engineer may assist the third officer in maintaining the lifeboats' proper operation.

Steward's department

Chief Steward: The Chief Steward directs and assigns personnel that does functions such as preparing meals, cleaning and maintaining officers' quarters, and managing the stores. The Chief Steward also does other activities such as overtime and cost control records and may require or purchase stores and equipment. Other additional duties may include taking part in cooking activities. The Chief Steward is assisted by a chief cook and his/her assistant cooks, mess men and assistant stewards.

Note of Reference

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Other info pages !

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