Working in Merchant Shipping

Route into the industry

The majority of seamen who work in merchant shipping handle cargo, although some also handle passengers or live-stock. There are various types of merchant seamen functions, such as captain, able seaman and engineer positions. Depending on the position, both a nautical certificate (STCW 95), and a relevant secondary vocational degree (or higher) are required. Furthermore, affinity with working on the water and machinery, as well as a merchant shipping background, is recommended.


  • Experience with working on the water and with machinery
  • Willingness to work 12 hours a day on average
  • Ability to be offshore for a long period
  • Team player
  • Flexible attitude
  • Inventive
  • Ability to work under pressure