What Positions are there on a Ship? How are their Duties Divided?

Maritime transport is currently the most commonly used mode of transportation in international trade. So, how many crew members work on a ship? What are their specific duties?

In fact, aside from ocean-going cargo ships, there are many different types of work vessels, each with different crew requirements and numbers. However, generally, crew members are mainly divided into the following categories based on their responsibilities:

  • Captain

The captain is the highest-ranking officer on a ship and the core leader who oversees the entire vessel.

  • Deck Department

The chief officer is in charge of the deck department and oversees all deck-related matters. There are also the second officer and third officer. The second officer is responsible for the navigation instruments on the bridge, conducting daily testing, maintenance, and upkeep of the equipment. The third officer is responsible for the ship’s firefighting and life-saving equipment, and similarly conducts regular testing, maintenance, and upkeep. Besides these three supervisors, the deck department also includes several sailors who are mainly responsible for the daily maintenance and upkeep of the deck, such as rust removal and painting.

Another important member of the deck department is the chef. The chef is responsible for preparing daily meals and often makes snacks or special dishes for gatherings, making them a very important part of the crew.

  • Engine Department

The chief engineer is the head of the engine department and is the chief engineer responsible for the mechanical equipment on the ship, ensuring its normal operation.

Under the chief engineer are three engineers: the first engineer, second engineer, and third engineer, each responsible for their specific equipment. They are tasked with conducting regular testing, maintenance, and upkeep of these pieces of equipment. Additionally, the engine department includes positions like the fitter and electrician, who are mainly involved in the daily maintenance of the ship’s equipment and are also responsible for regular watchkeeping duties.

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