The Merchant Navy is the name given to the international commercial shipping industry. It is made up of a large number of shipping companies who recruit their own Officer Cadets. Merchant seafarers, both officers and ratings, are employed by these companies. Companies vary greatly in the size of ships, types of ships and areas of the world where they operate. Types of modern merchant ship include container ships, cruise liners, oil tankers, gas tankers, chemical carriers, bulk carriers, Ro/Ro ferries, car carriers and general purpose cargo ships. Their trade routes may take them to every continent and across every ocean on the globe. On board ship there are three main operational departments. The Deck Department is staffed by Navigating Officers while the Engineering Department is staffed by Marine Engineering Officers, which may also include Marine Electro-Technical Officers. The third is the Catering or Hotel Department, which provides the crew and any passengers with catering and domestic services. Officer Cadet entry is currently restricted to the Deck and Engineering Departments. Catering and Hotel staff are normally recruited from applicants who have already obtained suitable qualifications ashore.
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