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There is a lot of complex equipment on board modern ships so it is necessary to have skilled crews to operate the ships. The organization of the crew of a cargo ship is changing, but usually one can find at least two departments on such ships: the deck department and the engine department.

The deck department includes navigators, radio officers, a bosun, sailors and a doctor. We call navigators according to their rank on board ship: the Master (Captain), the Chief Officer (First Mate), the Second Officer (Second Mate), the Third Officer (Third Mate), the Fourth Officer (Fourth Mate). The Master is responsible for the ship, her cargo and the crew. He must be an experienced navigator.

The Chief Officer is the Master’s main assistant and the head of the Deck Department. He must be always ready to replace the Master and perform his duties. All the navigators must keep watch on the navigating bridge. They may not leave it when on watch. The navigators relieve each other of watch every four hours. Every navigator must know how to define the ship’s position, plot her course on the chart and take bearings.

Radio officers keep watch in the radio room and are responsible for radio-communications. There are often one or two radio officers on board the ship, but on ships with continuous radio watches there may be even three radio officers. A bosun and sailors must keep the ship’s hull, holds and tackle in good condition.

The engine department consists of the Chief Engineer, the Second, Third and Fourth Engineers, some motormen and two or three electricians. They keep watch in the engine room and must maintain and repair its equipment.

Only well-qualified sailors can perform their duties properly that’s why the crews’ training is very important.


ANSWER THE QUESTIONS:1. Who is the head of the Deck Department?
2. How many departments are there on board ship? What are they? 3. Who is the head of the Engine Department? 4. Who keeps watch on the navigating bridge?
5. Who keeps watch in the radio room? 6. Who keeps watch in the engine room?
7. Why is it necessary to have skilled crews on board ships? 8. What are the duties of the Chief Officer and the Second Engineer? 9. Who is responsible for the ship’s cargo; radio-communications; the engine?


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