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Ship doctor

education Updated: Sep 22, 2011 11:00 IST

Hindustan Times
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The lowdown
Modern ships use the latest technology and equipment that a marine engineer has to understand, operate and maintain. The job demands a high degree of discipline, because a chief engineer is in charge of a ship as well as cargo costing hundreds of millions of dollars. A marine engineer can be assigned to a cargo ship, container ship, or oil and gas tanker. To work on a gas-carrying ship, one will be required to do a short certification course

Clock Work
On ship: Watch-keeping duty in blocks of four hours round the clock
At port: Junior engineer keeps watch and other engineers carry out repair and maintenance from eight in the morning to five in the evening. While the ship remains at the port, crew members are allowed to go ashore and visit local places

The payoff
The salary of a marine engineer at operational level is $1,000 to $2,000 a month (average Rs70,000 for a junior engineer), going up to $8,000 with promotions. A chief engineer gets around $10,000 about Rs5 lakh a month

Skills/TRAITS
. Mental strength, ship’s maintenance is literally a matter of life or death
. Resolute ambition, since career progression depends on regular, tough exams
. The ability to get along with people, since at sea, the crew is your family

Getting There
After completing Class 12 with physics, chemistry and maths one can appear for various entrances to enrol for a degree programme. The Marine Engineering & Research Institute in Kolkata, the oldest such college in India, offers a four-year BMarE degree through an affiliation with the Jadavpur University

Institutes
. Indian Maritime University, Chennai
www.nipm.tn.nic.in
. Lal Bahadur Shastri College of Advanced Maritime Studies & Research, Mumbai
www.dgshipping.com
. Haldia Institute of Maritime Studies & Research, West Bengal
www.himsar.org

Pros and cons
. It is a very highly-paid job
. You acquire world-class skills
. You travel the world