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  • Training Experience

    Hi,

    I'm currently applying to be an Engineering Cadet and from my limited knowledge just now, being and engineer on a ship is broadly the same across all the different fleet types.

    Would you qualified engineers agree?

    During a cadetship, is there certain fleet type that offers a wider training experience/hands on that others?

    Is it better to be on an older ship with less automation as apposed to a spanking new cruise ship with a starship enterprise control room?

    I know I will be at the mercy of the training establishment and the ship type where I go, but this is just research for me. It's more to do with if I get more that one offer which one would be better for me.

    thanks.

  • #2
    It is VERY different across certain ships, but many ships are similar. I’d probably place cargo ships in one class and passenger ships in the other, but as cargo cadets are maybe 60% and passenger cadets are 40% you could experience either. The below is generalisations but probably fairly accurate.

    Cargo ships are very hands on engineering and they try to fix everything and overhaul everything themselves as they have a lot of spare time. It also means the skill level for that type of work onboard is probably quite high. These ships are often UMS which means at night their engine rooms can go unmanned and the alarm system will sound for the duty engineer in his cabin, and he’ll respond by himself and wake people up as required. The plant on these ships is fairly similar across various vessel types and is generally slow speed engines so very, very big engines.

    Passenger ships are much less hands on and are more operations based for engineers. Ferries would offer significant control room experience, cruises would offer significant plant operations experience. The technology on ferries is fairly simple but it’s run so intensely in suboptimum conditions that the amount of overhauls and breakdowns is generally too much to handle in-house so they have teams which come onboard for big jobs. Generally a third engineer would spend his entire watch in the control room as the control rooms are often 24/7 manning required at sea, if there are two third engineers on duty the other will he stripping purifiers, changing fuel injectors or doing planned maintenance/checks.

    Cruise ship third engineers are almost always paired with a second engineer, the second will be in the control room all the time whilst the third engineer takes radio calls from him to check on this and that. It’s a lot of walking around and making sure everything is ok, starting water generators and checking engines as they come online. There is always a spare third engineer working day shift doing maintenance but he works with a first engineer and several skilled motormen, they’ll do anything from cylinder head removals to hotel repairs. Again, the larger jobs are likely to be done by outside contractors or even a team of engineers employed by your company to do nothing but overhauls on the fleet.

    Direct answers would be that you’re no better off on cargo or passenger, but you’re likely to be stuck on cargo if you train on cargo. You’ll be a better operations engineer with passenger ships and it may prepare you for shoreside work a bit better, but you’ll be a better hands on engineer with cargo.

    Old ships vs new, I’d say there wouldn’t be a lot of benefit on either. During my cadetship I learnt on 20-30 year old ferries and at the end of my seagoing career I sailed on the most modern cruise ship in the world, and I didn’t feel out of depth on either. The principles are all still there, and you pick up the quirks of new or old in your first few weeks of changing ship!

    Feel free to ask anything else, I’m happy to answer.


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