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Deck (navigation) officer Under the captain’s direct management, the deck department is responsible for the safe navigation and operation of the vessel, both at sea and in port. While the safety of the vessel and everyone on board is the prime responsibility, all deck operations and maintenance are also managed by the team. Deck officers are a vital part of the on board management team, taking charge of an expensive vessel and its equally valuable crew and passengers. Deck officers maintain watches on the bridge at sea and about the ship in port. They are responsible for passage planning, the safe navigation of the vessel, cargo loading and discharge, ship stability, communications and the maintenance of the hull and deck equipment. The ship’s captain or master is in overall command with ultimate responsibility for the safety of the crew, vessel, cargo and environment. Only navigation officers can be promoted to the rank of master. Marine engineering officer The engineering department is responsible for the safety, performance and efficiency of the vessel’s machinery. It is their job to maintain the mechanical and electrical operations, ensure robust maintenance schedules are implemented and troubleshoot problems efficiently. Marine engineering officers are responsible for the maintenance and operation of the ship’s main propulsion machinery and auxiliary plant, including deck machinery, air conditioning plants, refrigeration plants and domestic and electrical services. Depending on the type of ship and operational circumstances, engineer officers will be required to keep watches in the ship’s engine room. The chief engineer officer is in charge of the department and is responsible to the ship’s master for its efficient operation. Whilst the law demands that only one person can be in overall command of the ship and, by tradition, that person is the master, the chief engineer officer’s status and salary is comparable to that enjoyed by the master. Marine electro-technical officer (METOs) These specialist officers work within the engineering department where they take particular responsibility for the maintenance of on board control engineering and electronic systems including propulsion control, radio communications and electronic navigation aids. With the increased use of modern technologies at sea, demand for METOs is rapidly building to manage and maintain the sophisticated range of electrical, electronic and engineering equipment at sea. METOs will have the opportunity to develop their careers along a professional electrical and electronic engineering pathway, leading to the rank of chief electro-technical officer, chief technical officer or electrical superintendent, depending on the company they work for.
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