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Maritime engineering officers have a job that is varied in many ways as the above-deck officers and one that often involves working directly alongside their counterparts on the deck. Where their job differs is in the more technical aspects of the craft’s running. A Maritime engineering officer will be called upon to ensure the smooth mechanical running of a ship, and depending on rank may stretch as far as the design and construction of complicated systems to ensure the same.
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Roles and Responsibilities
The maritime engineers on board any craft are the people responsible for ensuring, in short, that the craft moves. They operate and maintain the systems that allow a ship to operate – from the propulsion system to the living facilities on board, including but not limited to the sewage, lighting and water systems on board. From all of the above it is easy to gather that the Maritime Engineering Officers on board a ship are responsible for nothing less than allowing the ship to function as a seagoing vessel and as a living quarters for all on board, and that the job is as varied as any job on any ship.
If a ship needs to take on fuel in bulk, it will be a member of the engineering staff that oversees this to ensure that it is carried out fully, promptly and safely. Other tasks in that spirit may include helping with the loading and unloading of gear on the boat – although this task is limited to equipment necessary to the smooth running and safe journey of the boat – all issues to do with cargo and passengers are the sole responsibility of deck officers.
Diverse Knowledge Arenas
An engineer may not have the glamorous role on board a ship of those working above deck, but it would be wholly incorrect to even suggest that the job is limited to the heavy “grunt work" of moving sturdy equipment. A modern engineering officer will have knowledge and practical experience of many different forms of technology from simple mechanics to far more complicated technical matters, going through electrical, pneumatic, hydraulic and chemical systems and even as far as having some expertise with nuclear technology.
A maritime engineer’s eyes will need to not only be on the inner workings of the ship on which they are employed, but also overboard, where natural resources indispensable to the smooth running of a passenger, cargo or other craft may be found. A knowledge of systems and how to apply them – and also ideas on how to develop them – are key parts of the job of a maritime engineering officer.
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3 Diverse Areas
It is held that there are three main areas of maritime engineering:
The offshore element involves the knowledge of oil, gas and minerals and how they can be used and developed. The marine element concerns itself with the design, production and operation of propulsion systems and onboard equipment, while the shore-based maritime engineer will be involved with designing ships and building them for various purposes. All three elements can be and are closely involved at numerous levels.
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A Typical Routine
Here is typical day for a marine engineer on a normal commercial vessel and this could be different based on the type of ship, automation of the engine room and so forth.
Basically the modern ships have Unmanned Machinery Spaces (UMS for short) where the work done is of typically 9-5 in nature. But since there are hundreds of types of machineries which are running continuously one senior engineer is in charge for the night. He does not have to be present physically in the Engine Room all the night but only comes down whenever any fault occurs in any of the systems which is notified to the engineer's cabin via an automated alarm system.
In the older ships or even in the modern ships under certain circumstances such as navigation in close waters, there is another system where each engineer gives four hours of duty and then gets 8 hours of rest in the 4 On, 8 Off manner.
But this is mostly in theory and if you are planning to be a marine engineer do not expect such exact schedules, but these watch or duty hours often get extended due to some reason or the other. Moreover there is difference in the type and nature of duties depending on your rank on the ship. The typical day of an engineer at different ranks will be discussed in detail in future articles so if you are interested just wait and watch.