Essential Duties Of The 3rd Engineer On A Ship


  • The 3rd Engineer holds an intermediate rank in the merchant navy, positioned two ranks above junior engineers and two below senior engineers.
  • This role bridges the gap between junior and senior ranks, acting as a mentor to 4th Engineers and an assistant to 2nd Engineers.
  • The responsibilities of a 3rd Engineer vary depending on the ship type, company policies, and specific situations. Below is a detailed overview of their key duties.

Engine Room Watchkeeping Duties

  • Independent Watchkeeping: Responsible for independent engine room watchkeeping from 0000-0400 and 1200-1600 hours on non-UMS ships, or during 6-on, 6-off shifts from 0000-0600 and 1200-1800 hours.
  • Operational Oversight: Ensures all necessary machinery is operational and addresses any issues during their watch.
  • Logging Operations: Maintains accurate logs of all operations in the engine logbook and adheres to company MARPOL rules and SMS checklists.
  • Fuel and Lubricant Management: Monitors and maintains fuel, lube oil, and cooling water levels, ensuring operating parameters are within range.
  • Pre-Departure/Arrival Tests: Independently conducts pre-departure and pre-arrival tests as per company checklists.
  • Engine Preparation: Prepares the main engine for sailing, with assistance from the motorman or cadet.
  • Training: Assists in training cadets and ensures good housekeeping in the engine room.
  • Spare Parts Management: Helps the Chief Engineer plan for spares and stores, raising requisitions as necessary.
  • Environmental Compliance: Complies with MARPOL and company rules regarding emissions, waste management, and sludge burning.

Safety Officer Duties

  • Promoting Safety: Acts as the safety officer in the engine room, promoting a culture of safety and organizing safety meetings.
  • Reporting and Rectifying Defects: Conducts safety rounds, reports defects, and ensures they are rectified.
  • Ensuring PPE Availability: Ensures adequate personal protective equipment (PPE) is available and used correctly, especially in chemical dosing areas and workshops.

Maintenance of Machinery

  • Machinery Management: Manages auxiliary engines (diesel generators) and boilers, and handles sewage treatment plants, including chemical dosing and maintenance.
  • Water Testing: Conducts regular boiler water and cooling water tests, and tests fresh water quality.
  • Fuel Management: Assesses fuel oil samples during bunkering and reports results to the Chief Engineer.
  • Supporting 2nd Engineer: Assists the 2nd Engineer and may handle main engine jobs if experienced enough.
  • Routine Maintenance: Manages routine maintenance tasks, including testing emergency equipment and handling operations of onboard machinery during loading/discharging.
  • Chemical Inventory: Maintains chemical inventories and raises requisitions for necessary supplies.
  • Exhaust Gas Cleaning: Manages exhaust gas cleaning systems, including weekly maintenance routines.

Miscellaneous Duties

  • Permit Preparation: Assists in preparing safe entry permits and hazardous energy permits for various maintenance tasks.
  • Report Assistance: Helps the Chief Engineer in preparing reports on auxiliary machinery for the office.
  • Substitute Roles: Can act as a substitute for the 4th Engineer or 2nd Engineer when necessary.

The role of the 3rd Engineer is dynamic and integral to the smooth operation of the ship. While this overview covers most aspects of their duties, the merchant navy is a dynamic field where the scope of work can extend beyond these tasks. The 3rd Engineer often steps in to support other crew members, ensuring the vessel operates efficiently and safely.

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Source: Marine Insight