What is the Average Merchant Navy Salary in India?

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Not everyone can join the merchant navy. The candidate has to be patriotic enough to bear all the pain that he/she would face in training, the things he/she would have to sacrifice, and all the problems they would face. Now, if you are going to face all this, then shouldn’t you know everything about it, like the merchant navy average salary, merchant navy posts, merchant navy eligibility criteria, etc.

Working in the Merchant Navy is not only a lucrative profession but also an alluring profile especially for the ones who are travel freaks and want to see the whole world.

Merchant Navy is the backbone of the Indian economy as it facilitates international trade by carrying and transporting cargo across the world. However, some people often mix both the professions that are the Merchant Navy and the Indian Navy, together. Although, both of them are way too different from each other.

It is inevitably important to understand that the Merchant Navy is a profession that involves commercial services. Whereas the Indian Navy is the profile that is dedicatedly involved in the defense of the nation.

Average Merchant Navy Salary

Although, perusing the merchant navy profession is not very easy as you might have to bear with considerable hardships, based on which the selection process is carried out. Also, it can be very challenging both physically and mentally for you to stay in the waters for a couple of months and that too when your family is not along. This is one of the reasons that the Merchant Navy job offers to pay you well.

Many Indian Navy employees opt for the Merchant Navy job profile upon the completion of active service. You can also directly enter into the Merchant Navy profile by undergoing the entire process and if you can meet the eligibility criteria which we will discuss further in this blog.

A career in Merchant Navy

You have 2 options if you want to jump into the Merchant Navy profession:

1) Domestic Merchant Navy

This includes the cargo ships that ply among India’s ports carrying cargo or different types of goods ranging from crude oil to military hardware, eatables, metal ore, and plentiful other stuff that is cheaper to be transported via sea.

2) Foreign or International Merchant Navy

It means the large cargo or other stuff containers that ply between different countries containing oil or natural gas tankers, automobile carriers, ore freighters, and much more.

In India, the scope of the foreign merchant navy is much wider as compared to the domestic one. The reason is simple. As India has extensive connectivity in terms of roads and railways, the need of transporting goods via sea turns out to be an expensive option. Thus, mostly all Indians prefer international merchant navy option over the domestic option.

Best Colleges/Institutes for Merchant Navy Course

  • CV Raman College of Engineering (CVRCE), Bhubaneswar
  • Oceanic Maritime Institute (OMI), Dehradun
  • Mumbai Maritime Training Institute (MMTI), Mumbai
  • MASSA Maritime Academy (MMA), Navi Mumbai
  • Amet University, Chennai
  • Chidambaram Institute of Maritime Technology
  • Hindustan Institute Of Maritime Training Post Sea Training Centre, Chennai
  • Institute of Petroleum Safety, Health & Environment Management, Goa
  • Natcom Education & Research Foundation, Gurgaon
  • V. Patel College of Engineering, Gujrat
  • Cochin Shipyard Limited, Kochi
  • Indian Maritime University, Kolkata Campus (Indian Institute of Port Management), Kolkata
  • Centre for Maritime Education & Training, Lucknow
  • Sons Merchant Navy Institute, Meerut
  • Fosma Maritime Institute and Research Organization, New Delhi
  • Institute of Marine Education & Research Pvt Ltd, Patna
  • School of Higher Academic and Professional Education, Panchkula- Haryana
  • Maharashtra Academy of Naval Education & Training, Pune
  • National Ship Design & Research Centre, Visakhapatnam- Arunachal Pradesh
  • RVS College of Maritime Science and Engineering, Pondicherry

Significant Courses for Merchant Navy Job

  • Nautical Science
  • Harbour & Ocean Engineering
  • Naval Architecture and Offshore Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Marine Engineering
  • Petroleum Engineering

Eligibility Criteria to Join Merchant Navy

Listed below are the parameters that you need to meet if you want to get selected for this enticing job of Merchant Navy:

  • Candidates should have 12th passing certificate with the 3 major subjects- Physics, Chemistry, and Mathematics
  • Candidates have to be graduated in Science stream
  • Candidates should be unmarried whether it is a male or a female
  • The eye vision should be clear. Although the glasses are allowed up to 2.5 (minus or plus)

If you can meet the above criteria, then you are allowed to sit in the entrance exam that you need to clear for getting admission. The entrance exam is followed by a screening test along with the leading written examination.

If you pass the written examination, your interview will be conducted by the university/institute/college interviewers. You also need to endure a medical test.

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Before you set your feet in the voyaging, the final step is to go through and complete a ship-training course. This will brief you about the basic security concerns to ensure your safety while you are on board.

Merchant Navy Salary

As far as salary is concerned, it can vary extensively. It solely depends upon your position/ranking, the nature of your duty, employer for whom you are working for, and the type of merchant navy vessel.

The Merchant Navy jobs are of 2 types:

1) Licensed Crew

These merchant navy jobs are for personnel who are highly experienced, qualified and certified by a national or international organization, are eligible for getting selected for licensed jobs.

2) Unlicensed Jobs

These jobs are primarily required for menial tasks as assistants in every department of the ship. Personnel who do not have any specific qualifications can opt for unlicensed jobs. However, they need certification from national as well as international authority to work across the countries on waters.

You might want to consider the Merchant navy option because of the remunerative salaries it offers. However, you must know all the kinds of jobs in Merchant Navy profession which will indicate the salaries precisely before you think of this as your career:

I. Deck Jobs

There are 4 types of Deck jobs which are listed below:

a) Deckhands

Deckhands in the merchant navy are responsible for performing all tasks related to the ship’s deck. Deckhands personnel are also known as deck cadets.

They are primarily responsible for managing and operating all the duties assigned to them by the Captain, second, and the third officer such as assisting them in navigation, establishing communications, ensuring safety, mooring and anchoring, coordinating with other crew members, and many other crucial tasks.

Their average earnings vary are between Rs 1 lakhs-2 Lakhs per month.

b) Third Officer

Third officers are chiefly responsible to perform all the technical operations/tasks of the ship including speed, get mechanical or technical problems resolved from engineers, fuel position, and ensuring all the safety standards onboard along with completing the work assigned to them. They are equally responsible for coordinating with the between the ships, ports and other vessels in the area in order to ensure safety and gentle sailing.

Third mates also maintain an inventory of certain things including tools, engine oils, fuel, foodstuffs, and ensuring life saving/emergency equipment on board is well maintained.

They are also assigned to look after the loading and offloading of cargo from the ship. In case of any damage, they immediately report it to the port captain. The loading and offloading tasks involve proper placement of cargo containers, adequate temperature for oil and natural gas tankers along with their offloading at the terminus, and turning on the power for reefers carrying perishable cargo.

They are entitled to earn between Rs 4 lakhs to 8 lakhs per month.

c) Second Officer

The Second Mate is answerable to the captain directly and is involved in various complex activities such as monitoring the vessel’s routes, charting alternative sources, deducing and gauging the weather data from satellites, and assigning the specific duties to the team leaders of other crew members.

They play a vital role in keeping tabs on well being of other crew members, and sending messages about the safety of cargo to the shipping company or vessel owner.

The most important role they are responsible for is to resolve any issue or dispute that arises at the time the ship is on board. These disputes can menace the other crew members.

Second officers comparatively earn more than the third officers, as their earnings fall between Rs 4 lakhs to 10 lakhs per month.

d) Captain

The Captain of the ship earns a massive amount, they indeed get the highest salary in Merchant Navy. However, they have a plethora of complex duties which they are responsible for such as managing the entire ship and the crew members, entire navigation and sailing of the ship, cargo safety, and keeping all hands secure on board.

Undoubtedly, Captain is the most impeccably qualified personnel and is capable to operate any type of Merchant Navy vessel. The captain of the ship is called by various other names such as Chief Mate, Master, Chief Officer, and Skipper.

The captain is only accountable to report to the company who owns the ship and is expected to go down once the entire crew has vacated, which barely happens in the current era.

The average earnings of the captain are between Rs 6 lakhs to 13 lakhs.

II. Engineering Jobs

Engineering jobs in merchant navy consists of the following types:

a) Engineering Cadet

Engineering cadets are mostly fresh graduates with not any working experience. To become an engineering Cadet, one has to complete the course from a maritime institute. Generally, people taken as cadets in the merchant navy are the diploma holders in mechanical and electrical engineering streams.

They are assigned for various crucial tasks related to repairs of the engine, keeping a log of fuel, check-in on sensitive electrical, communications, and navigational equipment, assisting in sewage and garbage clearance from the ship in line with on-hands maintenance and internationally accepted environmental norms.

They have the potential to earn from Rs 1.5 lakhs up to Rs 3 lakhs per month.

b) Fourth Engineer

Personnel who is appointed as a Fourth engineer in the merchant navy are in charge of logistics and supplies that are crucial for the voyage.

The duties they are assigned includes the daily intervention of fuel, engine oils, spare parts, and other imperative parts necessary for the smooth running of the ship. They are also liable to assist the second and the third engineers in the maintenance work of communications, electrical and navigational systems. Furthermore, they assist third engineers in the maintenance of hygiene and ensuring safety during the voyage.

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They are also responsible for supervising water supplies and ensuring the working of all the plumbing supplies on the ship. The control of the ventilation and the air conditioning systems is also in their hand.

Their average salary is between Rs 3 lakhs to Rs 5 lakhs per month.

c) Third Engineer

Third engineers play a vital role in the functioning of the ship. They are expected to keep tabs on the ship structure and frame to ensure there is no possibility of leakage. They are also responsible for the ship’s paint.

Third engineers in the merchant navy have an on-hands job, which means they have various departments to keep a check on including navigational equipment and Maintainance of communication, electrical generation, propulsion system, and the other duties assigned by the second engineer.

They also keep a check on cargo freighters as they take temperature readings to ensure all the perishable food is stored aptly and does not stale.

Third engineers are capable of earning that starts from 4 lakhs and goes up to Rs 9 lakhs.

d) Second Engineer

Second engineers ensure the functioning of all the emergency systems on board. They only report to the captain and the chief engineers. They play a substantial role in supervising the engine, navigation, fuel positions, and safety equipment during the voyage.

They relieve the chief engineer by handling several protocols of the ship and ensuring all the crew members are adhering to those policies. Second engineers also keep a check on the pollution levels of the ship and ensure that it is adhering to the environmental policies of international waters.

They are responsible for assigning the duties to junior engineers in case the need for any specific task arises whether it is related to maintenance or repairs of the equipment.

Second engineers have the potential of earning Rs 4 lakhs to Rs 10 lakhs per month.

e) Chief Engineer

The chief engineer is accountable for the entire functioning of the vessel and their ranking as well as salary is similar to that of the captain of the ship. They are liable to keeping tabs on fuel consumption, engine maintenance, advising the speed of the vessel based upon radar readings, and ensure whether the propulsion system is working fine.

If any mechanical or electrical problem arises on board, it is brought to the attention of the chief engineer. This is their duty to assign the related crew members and solve the issue.

They have other facilities too that they are answerable for including entertainment facilities on board,  ensuring proper power generation and its supply to all parts of the ship, appropriate functioning of navigation and communication systems, and the keeping tabs on the ventilation system, which is very crucial.

They have plentiful tasks which they are liable for, which makes their role quite challenging. However, all that is worthwhile as they are entitled to get a stupendous salary package that goes up to Rs 12 lakhs and starts from Rs 5 lakhs.

III. Logistics and Support Jobs

Personnel responsible for performing the assigned duties and tasks to them consists of unlicensed crew members, under the Logistics and Support jobs category. They also serve as an assistant to deckhands or other crew members for various tasks required to perform onboard.

The unlicensed crew members can be the Seaman Cadet, Able Seaman, Ordinary Seaman, Oiler, Bosun, or Motorman. All of them have different roles and responsibilities assigned to them such as Bosun is a ship officer who is in charge of the equipment and crew.

They are capable of earning between Rs 75000 to Rs 1.25 lakhs per month.

Privileges for Merchant Navy Personnel

Apart from highly-paid salaries, people working in the merchant navy are also enticed as they are entitled to immense perks and benefits. Some of them are mentioned below:

  • Numerous benefits from the Indian government even if you are Non-Resident Indian (NRI) such as exempting income from foreign companies of Income-tax.
  • Various types of insurances including Life insurance, Accidental Insurance, and Health Insurance.
  • Free lodging and meals at ports and during the whole voyage.
  • Allowance for expenditure incurred in abroad.
  • Annual leave with paid air tickets and the best part is you can choose the destination of your choice
  • Long day leaves that can be for up to 90 days, which you are allowed to take a stretch or in parts (of course depending upon your employer and the type of vessel you are working in)
  • Membership of seafarer clubs
  • Entitled to get risk allowance by shipping companies when you are required to sail in pirate-infested waters.


You might have heard; ‘Love what you do and do what you love’. You can prove this right if you want to explore the world and sailing in waters is what you always think of. It is quite challenging to get into this profession but if you have the requisite skills set and endurance, it becomes a little easy for you to get your hands on into merchant navy.

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Merchant Navy is one of the highest paying professions in India. If you are focused and committed, its high time to join a maritime course and get selected for the merchant navy.

We hope that we have provided you with all the essential information that you ought to know before you could start your Merchant Navy practice. You can let us know how this article has helped you in the comments box below in facilitating your merchant navy journey.

Sushma Singh

Sushma is a full-time blogger and financial expert. Join Sushma and 10,000 monthly readers here to learn how to save and invest your money wisely.

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