The Indian Merchant Navy and Maritime Training Institutes in India

The commercial shipping industry of India is referred to as the Indian Merchant Navy. It is also known as the Merchant Marine. Here, we are talking about Indian Merchant Navy & Maritime Training Institutes

It is distinct and different from the Indian Navy which is the naval branch of the Indian Armed Forces, responsible for defending the vast coastline and territorial waters of our country.

Merchant Navy-Powering the Maritime Trade of India

Merchant ships of the Indian Merchant Navy are engaged in transporting agricultural produce, industrial raw material, finished goods, gas, petroleum, chemicals and livestock, liquid and general cargo for maritime trade between the countries of the world.

To transport cargo across the seas and oceans, Indian companies such as the Shipping Corporation of India (SCI), GE Shipping, Essar Shipping, Mercator, and Chowgule Steam among many others, employ specialized fleets of ships. These include container ships, bulk carriers of cargo, oil, chemical or gas tankers and supply and support vessels for the offshore oil and gas operations.

Merchant Marines on Top of the Seas

India’s commercial fleet is ranked 15th among all the countries of the world in terms of DWT or the Dead Weight Tonnage of its fleet of ships. This is a remarkable achievement as the modern Indian Merchant Navy was born only on April 5, 1919 when SS Loyalty, the first ship owned solely by Indians and The Scindia Steam Navigation Company Ltd. sailed from Mumbai to Britain.12.8% of officers and 14.5% of ratings belonging to the world’s seafaring community are supplied by India-one of the highest contributions of any country.

The Merchant Navy-For Careers that are Exciting and Rewarding

Careers in the Merchant Navy are sought after by young Indians who wish to see the world and experience the excitement of life on the sea, while drawing attractive salaries and perks. Salaries of Captains and Chief Engineers run into several lakhs of rupees every month. Moreover, these officers get very generous paid leave, running into months, after completing their quota of voyages. Almost all expenses on board the ship are taken care of by the company resulting in a huge saving potential from the salary.

Indians enjoy a great reputation not only in the Indian Merchant Navy but also on International shipping lines. Indians have built commendable careers working on the ships and on-shore facilities of some of the world’s biggest and most reputed names like Maersk, Evergreen, COSCO and Hanjin.

Top-class Training for the Shipping and Maritime Industry

The Directorate General of Shipping is the statutory maritime body appointed by the Government of India and the Ministry of Shipping under the Merchant Shipping Act 1958. It is charged with the responsibility of creating the highly trained Indian manpower required by the Indian Merchant Navy in addition to implementing other provisions of the Act. Training and Certification is done through Institutes that are part of Indian Maritime University or IMU and around 126 approved training institutes in the private sector.

Merchant Navy Careers in Nautical Sciences

Candidates who want to enter the navigational or deck side of the Merchant Navy need a degree in Nautical Science. They grow from the ranks from Deck Cadets to the position of Captain of the ship. Depending on the rank their tasks include deck operations, safe navigation with the help of radar, satellites and computer systems, cargo handling, safe storage of cargo, the safety of men and material, maintenance, dealing with shipping laws and commercial matters.

Merchant Navy Careers in Marine Engineering

A degree in Marine Engineering is required for the engineering side of the Merchant Navy. Marine Engineers work their way up from Fifth engineer to the position of Chief Engineer on the ship. Their tasks include the operations and maintenance of equipment in the engine room, compressors, pumps, power generation, water plant, sewage plants, electrical systems, refrigeration and cargo handling equipment on board. Regular inspections have to be conducted by them while at sea and at the port. An Electro Technical Officer who in many cases reports to the Chief Engineer is in charge of the electronic and electrical equipment on the ship.


Interested candidates for the Nautical Science and Marine Engineering courses must have completed 10+2 with Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics. They need to take an entrance exam and pass a medical fitness test. Those in the Navigation stream also need good vision.

T.S. Chanakya, Mumbai

Part of Indian Maritime University (IMU), T.S.Chanakya is a shore based ‘Training Ship’ that offers a 3 years B.Sc. Degree in Nautical Sciences. Admission is through IMU-CET. Students master a broad range of marine subjects and the practical aspects of seamanship. After the course they are placed on ships to acquire the sea experience and Certificate of Competency. The institute also offers a one year Diploma in Nautical Science.

Marine Engineering and Research Institute (MERI), Kolkata

MERI Kolkata is the birthplace of Marine Engineering training in India. It is the oldest and perhaps the finest Marine Engineering institution in India.  Set up in 1949, it today has more than 6000 ‘floating ambassadors’ sailing the seas for national and international shipping companies all over the world. Previously known as the Directorate of Marine Engineering Training or DMET, it is now known as the Indian Maritime University –Kolkata Campus.

It offers a 4 year course in Marine Engineering under Jadavpur University. Admissions are made through CET conducted by the IMU.

Marine Engineering and Research Institute (MERI), Mumbai

MERI offers three courses from its IMU campus in Mumbai.

A four year B.Tech. in Marine Engineering where a candidate must have passed 10+2 with Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics to be eligible.

There is a one year course for those who have completed B.E./B.Tech in Mechanical or Naval Architecture. It leads to a Post Graduate Diploma in Marine Engineering.

A three year dual certification course trains candidates in navigation and engineering and leads to a B.Sc. (Maritime Science) Degree.

Lal Bahadur Shastri College of Advanced Maritime Studies and Research, Mumbai

This college set up in 1948 offers around 46 post-sea training courses for serving officers from the Merchant Navy. The campus is spread over 6 acres in Haye Bunder overlooking Mumbai harbor. It conducts simulator, non-simulator and competency courses for marine professionals. There are simulators for radar, ARPA, Navigation, liquid cargo handling, engine room, GMDSS, LNG. A ship maneuvering simulator is being procured.

The four training institutes covered so far are part of the Government initiative called Indian Maritime University or IMU. These rank among the best courses in maritime training in the country today.

Private Colleges Offering Maritime Training

In addition, there are innumerable private colleges offering training in Marine Engineering and Nautical Sciences. It is important that you select your Maritime Training Institute with care! As in any other field of education, these colleges are a mix of both good and bad.

It is important that you choose a college approved by the Directorate General of Shipping. The approved colleges are listed on their website as are the ones that have been black-listed for a variety of reasons. Stay away from the black listed ones.

A good way to select your college is check out the facilities at the institute, the faculty, the course work and the track record of placements with Indian and international shipping companies. Which company selects from where can be a good starting point.

Do also remember that quite a few companies including international ones take on Deck Cadets directly on their ships and train them till they acquire their Competency Certificates.

A list of the maritime training institutes approved by The Directorate General of Shipping can be accessed through the link below:


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Saahil Walia

I like writing about different things going around the world. Working on my writing skills and gaining experience in this new phase of life.

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