Warships Tribute to Our Men at Sea


Professional mariners Seafarers hold a variety of professions and ranks, each of which carries unique responsibilities which are integral to the successful operation of an ocean-going vessel. (From Wikipedia)

A ship’s crew can generally be divided into four main categories: the deck department, the engineering department, the steward’s department, and other.

Deck department Officer positions in the deck department include but are not limited to: Master and his Chief, Second, and Third officers. The official classifications for unlicensed members of the deck department are Able Seaman and Ordinary Seaman. A common deck crew for a ship includes:• (1) Chief Officer/Chief Mate• (1) Second Officer /Second Mate• (1) Third Officer / Third Mate• (1) Cadet/Officer Cadet• (1) Boatswain• (2-8) Able Seamen• (0-3) Ordinary Seamen Engineering department.

A ship’s engineering department consists of the members of a ship’s crew that operates and maintains the propulsion and other systems onboard the vessel.

Marine engineering staff also deal with the “hotel” facilities onboard, notably the sewage, lighting, air conditioning and water systems. Engineering staff manage bulk fuel transfers and require training in firefighting and first aid. Additional duties include maintaining the ship’s boats and performing other nautical tasks. Engineers play a key role in cargo loading/discharging gear and safety systems, though the specific cargo discharge function remains the responsibility of deck officers and deck workers.

A common engineering crew for a ship includes:• (1) Chief Engineer• (1) Second Engineer / First Assistant Engineer• (1) Third Engineer / Second Assistant Engineer• (1-2) Fourth Engineer / Third Assistant Engineer• (0-2) Fifth Engineer / Junior Engineer• (1-3) Oiler (unlicensed qualified rating)• (0-3) Greaser/s (unlicensed qualified rating)• (1-5) Entry-level rating (such as Wiper (occupation), Utilityman, etc.) American ships also carry a Qualified Member of the Engine Department. Other possible positions include Motorman, Machinist, Electrician, Refrigeration Engineer, and Tankerman. Steward’s department.

A typical Steward’s department for a cargo ship is a Chief Steward, a Chief Cook, and a Steward’s Assistant. All three positions are typically filled by unlicensed personnel. The chief steward directs, instructs, and assigns personnel performing such functions as preparing and serving meals; cleaning and maintaining officers’ quarters and steward department areas; and receiving, issuing, and inventoried stores. The chief steward also plans menus; compiles supply, overtime, and cost control records. The steward may requisition or purchase stores and equipment. Galley roles may include baking.A chief steward’s duties may overlap with those of the Steward’s Assistant, the Chief Cook, and other Steward’s Department crew members.

A person has to have a Merchant Mariner’s Document issued by the United States Coast Guard in the United States Merchant Marine in order to serve as a chief steward. All chief cooks who sail internationally are similarly documented by their respective countries because of international conventions and agreements.


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