Why Deck Cadets and Trainee Marine Engineers are Jobless – No Placements

Unveiling the Challenges Faced by Deck Cadets and Trainee Marine Engineers in Job Placements

When most of us think about Merchant Navy all we think about is the money, glamour, and lavish lifestyle. These are the things that attracted most of us to this profession. We looked up to the seafarers who had been in this industry for the past 5-10 years and we got inspired by seeing their lifestyle. However, things were really different when most of these veteran seafarers joined the shipping industry. At that time Merchant Navy was a really isolated and unknown profession. The job opportunities were really high while the number of trained professionals in the industry was really less. Therefore, there was no dearth of jobs for anyone willing to join this profession. 

The journey of aspiring deck cadets and trainee marine engineers towards a successful career in the maritime industry often involves various challenges. One major hurdle faced by these individuals is the scarcity of job placements. In this article, we delve into the reasons behind the joblessness experienced by deck cadets and trainee marine engineers, shedding light on the complexities of the industry. By understanding these challenges, aspiring professionals can make informed decisions and better navigate their career paths.

Industry Shifts and Economic Factors

One contributing factor to the lack of job placements for deck cadets and trainee marine engineers is the ever-evolving nature of the industry. The maritime sector is heavily influenced by global economic conditions, which can result in fluctuations in shipping demands and operations. During periods of economic downturn, shipping companies may reduce their workforce or freeze recruitment, leading to limited opportunities for fresh graduates.

Over the last decade, things have changed drastically in the shipping industry. Especially in our country, as now the situation is completely opposite to what it used to be 10-15 years ago. Currently, the jobs in this industry are really scarce while the number of students joining this industry every year is really high. 

Every year hundreds of maritime colleges across the country churn out thousands of trained deck cadets and trainee marine engineers. However, most top-notch shipping companies do not have such high requirements of fresh deck cadets and trainee marine engineers. Hence, only the few who completed their pre-sea training from some of the best maritime colleges in the country are able to land jobs after course completion. 

The majority of these Deck cadets and Trainee marine engineers roam around looking for jobs and opportunities after course completion. This has become a thriving ground for all the fraudulent agents and colleges. They scam these students desperately looking for jobs by selling them fake promises and dreams that are never fulfilled. In this blog, we list some of the reasons which have led to the current situation of the high unemployment rate in the Indian maritime sector.    

Flooding of Deck Cadets and Trainee Marine Engineers

Another significant factor contributing to the joblessness among deck cadets and trainee marine engineers is the oversupply of candidates in the job market. With a growing number of maritime institutes and training centers worldwide, there has been an influx of graduates seeking employment. This oversupply creates intense competition for available positions, making it challenging for all candidates to secure jobs.

This is currently one of the biggest reasons for the high unemployment ratio of fresh Deck cadets, Trainee marine engineers, and junior officers. There is a huge supply and demand imbalance for merchant navy professionals at the junior level in our country. There is still a huge demand for high-ranking officers in merchant navy. They face no problems in finding jobs and opportunities in different companies. However, seafarers who have just graduated from their maritime college or those who have just cleared the competency exams struggle to find jobs due to the flooding of candidates at this level. 

This problem will continue to persist unless the Government authorities put a limit on the number of candidates pursuing a particular course each year according to the available job opportunities.

Lack of Experience and Onboard Training

Employers in the maritime industry often prioritize candidates with practical experience and onboard training. Unfortunately, many fresh graduates lack the necessary hands-on experience, which puts them at a disadvantage during the job search. Shipping companies typically prefer candidates who have completed their mandatory training periods onboard vessels, as it demonstrates their ability to handle real-world challenges and responsibilities.

Preference for Experienced Seafarers

Due to the demanding nature of the maritime industry, shipping companies often prefer hiring experienced seafarers who have successfully completed multiple contracts. Experienced professionals are considered more reliable and capable of handling the rigors of life at sea. This preference for experienced seafarers further limits the job prospects for deck cadets and trainee marine engineers seeking their initial placements.

Most shipping companies these days only hire seasoned and experienced seafarers. They are completely reluctant towards hiring fresh cadets or junior officers. It is really ironic how these shipping companies expect seafarers to be experienced and competent in their jobs. While neglecting them the opportunity to gain any kind of experience. In the current scenario, the harsh reality is that very few companies are willing to accept freshers into their companies.    

Impact of Global Regulatory Frameworks

The maritime industry is regulated by various international conventions and frameworks, which impose specific requirements on shipping companies regarding crewing and training. These regulations aim to ensure the safety and welfare of seafarers. However, compliance with these regulations often incurs additional costs for shipping companies. As a result, some companies may hesitate to recruit fresh graduates, opting instead to hire experienced seafarers who are already familiar with these regulations.

Fraud Agents/Colleges

The lack of jobs and the growing number of desperate graduate students in search of jobs have given rise to a lot of frauds and scams in the shipping industry. These agents offer fake promises and job security to candidates who are desperate to get placed onboard. Most of the time these candidates who belong to rural parts of the country are tricked into paying 2000$-3000$ to these fraudsters who disappear after receiving the money.

In some cases, they even do provide employment on ships. However, they place you in such vessels where the living conditions are worse than hell. Where there is no safety culture onboard, no proper equipment, lack of food provision, etc. On top of it, these candidates don’t even get paid properly after surviving for months in such sickening conditions. These fraudsters are currently the biggest plague in the shipping industry. They ruin the careers and lives of hundreds and thousands of seafarers each year. 

Lack of intervention by Government Authorities 

The Government authorities so far have not taken any concrete steps to help these freshly graduated students who are struggling to find jobs. This is high time for the government authorities to adopt some strict measures regarding the functioning of maritime institutes which fail to provide employment to their students upon completion of the course. 

The government should help these candidates to land a job in a decent shipping company. Otherwise, the number of unemployed trained professionals in the Indian maritime sector will only increase in the coming years. 

Limited Shore Job Opportunities for Deck Cadets and Trainee Marine Engineers

Unlike other professions where people can migrate from one field or work to other, seafarers do not have that option. Merchant navy requires a very specific and specialized skill set which is often of no use in land-based jobs. Hence, seafarers or freshly graduated candidates find it very difficult to find decent jobs on land.

This is more challenging for deck cadets and officers. As the skill set that they have acquired or the things that they have been trained in are of no use on shore. Marine engineers still have an upper hand in finding decent jobs. As they have that mechanical engineering degree and experience that can be useful on shore too. 

Merchant navy is slowly losing the luster that it once used to have of being a lucrative and glamorous profession. Yet the candidates applying to join the shipping industry are at an all-time high. If the government fails to take any concrete steps regarding the high unemployment rate in the maritime sector. Then this industry will further lose prominence of being a promising field of work for talented and hardworking individuals.

Solutions and Strategies for Job Seekers

While the challenges may seem daunting, there are strategies that deck cadets and trainee marine engineers can employ to improve their chances of finding job placements:

  1. Networking: Building a strong professional network within the maritime industry can provide valuable contacts and potential job opportunities. Attend industry events, join online forums, and engage with professionals to expand your network.
  2. Enhancing Practical Skills: Focus on acquiring practical skills and certifications that are in high demand in the maritime industry. This could include specialized training programs, proficiency in specific vessel operations, or technical expertise.
  3. Seizing Training Opportunities: Actively seek opportunities for onboard training and internships, even if they are unpaid. Gaining practical experience will significantly enhance your employability and make you stand out among other candidates.
  4. Continuous Learning and Personal Development: Stay updated with the latest developments in the maritime industry, technological advancements, and regulatory changes. Continuously improving your knowledge and skills will make you a more valuable asset to potential employers.
  5. Exploring Alternative Sectors: Consider exploring related sectors within the maritime industry, such as offshore energy, maritime logistics, or maritime consultancy. These sectors may offer alternative career paths and greater job prospects for entry-level professionals.


The lack of job placements for deck cadets and trainee marine engineers can be attributed to a combination of factors, including industry shifts, oversupply of candidates, lack of experience, preference for experienced seafarers, and compliance with global regulatory frameworks. By understanding these challenges and implementing strategic approaches, aspiring professionals can increase their chances of securing employment in the maritime industry. Remember, perseverance, continuous learning, and networking are key to overcoming these obstacles and building a successful career at sea.

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