There are three departments on an oil tanker: the Deck Department, the Engine Department and the Steward's Department. The members of each department are all certified seamen, holding merchant mariner credentials issued by the U.S. Coast Guard. The senior members of the Deck and Engine Department also hold licenses as U.S. merchant marine officers. There are numerous specialised jobs in each department, ranging from housekeeping to navigation and command of the ship.
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The Deck Department
The most junior jobs in the deck department are the Ordinary Seaman, a "newbie" learning the craft of seamanship; the Able Seaman, who is skilled in both the craft and art of seamanship and capable of everything except work in the engine room; the Third Mate, an officer still learning how to manage a ship; the Second Mate, who is the Navigation Officer, in charge of charts, voyage planning and underway navigation; the First Mate, in charge of cargo planning, loading and unloading, as well as a competent watch officer and the Master, whose authority and responsibility are unlimited.
The Engine Department
The Chief Engineer is in charge of the Engine Department, assisted by a First Assistant Engineer, a Second Assistant Engineer and a Third Assistant Engineer, all licensed merchant marine officers. The junior members of a tanker's engine department include Wipers, who are new trainees, Qualified Members of the Engine Department, who have taken the first steps toward and engine certification like Oiler, an expert mechanic; Fireman/Watertender, an engine expert; or Tankerman, a specialist in fuels, pumps and oil transfer systems.
The Steward Department
The Chief Steward runs a department of Ordinary Seamen who would be a credit to any hotel staff. The Steward's Department is in charge of housekeeping for the crew and the galley--the kitchen and food services--two of the most important functions related to crew morale. In addition to hospitality-type services, the Steward's Department also provides, or assists in providing medical care for the members of the crew and any persons aboard in addition to the crew.
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