What is the salary in Merchant Navy? The question comes very often, but the answers you get are confusing as there is no consistency in the salary figures offered in the commercial shipping world.

So the question to be asked should be put straight:

  • What is the salary in Merchant Navy in India?
  • What salary can an Indian get in the global commercial shipping industry?
  • What salary can I get if I work for an Indian shipping company?
  • Which shipping company/country can give the highest pay if I work for them?

Answer to each of these questions is different each time.

First, let us explore what are the jobs available in Merchant Navy.

There are three main categories of jobs in commercial shipping.


  • Deck Department Jobs
  • Engineering Department Jobs
  • Support Jobs

The Deck jobs involve navigating the vessel using GPS systems and radar equipments, monitoring weather and wind, listening and responding to radio broadcasts from across all countries regarding weather, and so on. Additionally, in merchant navy Deck Officers are responsible for embarking, anchoring, loading and unloading of goods and passengers.

In Deck Department the following ranks are available:

  • Captain/Master
  • Second Officer
  • Third Officer
  • Deck Cadets

Eligibility for joining Merchant Navy:

          1. A candidate should be in the age of 17 years to 25 years
          2. Candidate with 10+2 qualification with Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics can directly join Merchant Navy as a Deck Cadet.

Merchant Navy Officers – any rank: Candidates with following degrees are eligible to join in the Deck Department or Engineering Department of a ship:

          • B.Sc. Nautical Science from TS Chanakya under Govt of India Ministry of Surface Transport. Admission to this can be secured


          • B.Sc. Nautical Science degree priovided by TS Chanakya, Mumbai


          • B.Tech Marine Engineering degree from Marine Engineering Research Institute (MERI) Kolkata and Mumbai (DMET). (Admission for this is secured through JEE Main examination conducted for the IIT’s)


          • Degree in the following disciplines from any of the recognized Indian University:
          1. BE/B.Tech. Marine Engineering
          2. BE/B.Tech. Naval Architecture and Offshore Engineering
          3. BE/B.Tech. Petroleum Engineering
          4. BE/B.Tech. Mechanical Engineering
          5. BE/B.Tech. Harbour & Ocean Engineering
          6. BE/B.Tech. Civil Engineering
          7. BE/B.Tech. Electrical & Electronics Engineering
          8. B.Sc. Marine Catering



Apart from the above degree, all Deck Officers should carry a Certificate of Competency issued by

          • Director General of Shipping, Govt of India


          • International Maritime Organization


          • Seafarers International Union


          • An Authority of a foreign country regognized by DG Shipping, Govt of India



Captain or Master is also known as Chief Officer/Chief Mate. Captain is the senior most officer of a ship, whether a cruise ship or cargo ship. The captain holds a Master/First Officer Certificate of Competency and works on instructions of the ship owner. Captain is responsible for the navigation, management of the ship and overall security of the crew/passengers and the ship and goods it is carrying.

Salary of Captain/ Master: Rupees 500,000 – 1,220,000

Second Officer (Second Mate)

Second Mate or Second Officer is mainly responsible for the navigation of the ship. Second Officer is a licensed deck officer holding a Second Masters Certificate of Competency. Second Mate has vast responsibilities, like navigation, preparing the Navigation Chart of the vessel, medical care of seamen and assisting the Chief mate in cargo operations and security matters.

Salary of Second Officer ranges from Rupees 300,000 to 600,000 per month.

Third Officer (Third Mate)

A Third Mate is a licenced officer holding Third Masters Certificate of Competency issued by Director General of Shipping or another recognized International maritime agency. Third mate is traditionally responsible for the safety of the ship including firefighting, lifeboats and other safety systems. He is also responsible for controlling ship operations, sea watching, traffic management and cargo handling at ports.

Salary of Third Officer can vary from 150,000 to 300,000 per month

Deck Cadet

Deck Cadets are still trainee Deck Officer who learn while performing a lot of responsibilities aboard a merchant ship. Deck Cadets study the responsibilities of a Deck Officer while he performs jobs like maintenance of ship, cargo operations, mooring and anchoring, tank sounding, life saving and fire fighting, deck work, berthing and unberthing, cargo operations on port, ISPS watch, legal and commercial documentation, etc.

Deck Cadet Salary can be anything from Rs.60,000 to 150,000 per month.


Chief Engineer/First Engineer

Chief Engineer of a Merchant ship is the incharge of the engine department. Chief Engineer reports to the Master of the ship and holds responsibilities of operating prpulsion plant and other ship systems. He is responsible for power generation plant operations, lighting, fuel, lubrication, water supply, air conditioning, communication systems, electronics, hydraulics, etc.

Salary of First Engineer: Rupees 550,000 – 800,000 per month.

Second Engineer

The Second Engineer assists the Chief Engineer in the engine room and other installations operations of the ship. He is also the team lead of other engineers of the engine room and ensures the safety of them as well as the ship. He is also responsible for the life saving appliances and fire fighting appliances and emergency equipments of the ship.

Salary of Second Engineer: Rs.350,000 to 550,000 per month

Third Engineer

Third Engineer is the duty engineer who is responsible for the maintenance and repair of ship engine, surface cleaning and painting. Third engineer looks after the electrical, electronic and console operations of the ship as instructed by the Chief engineer. Third Engineer carries out the orders of duty engineer in the engine room, temporarily relieves Second Engineer as and when necessary, handls SEMS and AMOS routine procedures, maintains the safety and environment protection policies of the ship.

Third Engineer Salary: The Third Engineer takes a salary ranging from 250,000 to 400,000

Fourth Engineer

Fourth Engineer is a qualified and Certified ~ of Competency Engineer. Fourth Engineer reports to the Second Engineer and carries out instructions given by Second Engineer. He checks all inventories including supplies, purifiers, fuel, compressors and spares. He is required to check the running hours of machinery and implement procedures and policies of running of internal equipments and supplies. He is also responsible fort the sludge and disposal of wasts generated in the ship.

Salary of Fourth Engineer: 150,000 to 250, 000 per month

Fifth Engineer/Trainee Engineer

Fifth Engineer is the trainee engineer in the engind department, and is the engine room counterpart of the Deck Cadet. Apart from getting training in the engine room operations of the ship he has to handle responsibilities like transfer of Bilge, drain air bottle, dry whas of turbocharger, economizers, boilers and start up of incinator, boilers, main engine and pumps.

Fifth Engineer Salary: Rs.60,000 to Rs.150,000

Apart from Certified Officers and Certified Engineers in the Deck Department and Engine Room respectively, the ship has uncertified employees like the following:

UnLicensed Deck Staff of Merchant Navy

          • Bosun
          • Able Seaman (AB)
          • Ordinary Seaman (OS)
          • Trainee OS

UnLicensed Engine Staff of Merchant Navy

      • Motorman
      • Engine Cadet
      • Oiler
      • Wiper