Rank Of Fourth Engineer

Rank Of Fourth Engineer

     The fourth engineer (Third Assistant Engineer), commonly known as ‘4E’, is an engine licensed officer in charge of an engine watch that holds a certificate of competency (COC) STCW Regulation III/ 1. The fourth engineer position is the first rank or position an engine attains after getting the Engine Officer of the Watch license, but this rank may not be in some vessels due to the size of the vessel.


The fourth engineer has expected to read & sign the handover report or note of the outgoing fourth engineer and familiarize with the engine room routines & operations, emergency exit, starting and stopping procedures of all the types onboard. Also, the fourth engineer is has expected to know the tank capacity of all the tanks in the engine room, daily consumption of fuel and lube oil, inventory of assigned machinery.

By Arvin Francisco Pablo

As an Officer in charge of the watch (OOW), the fourth engineer is the head of the 0800H – 1200H & 2000H – 2400H watch where an engine rating (Motorman or Oiler) is attached to him/ her to oversee machinery performance and carry out various maintenance as at when due. The duties are but are not limited to;

  • watchkeeping
  • tank soundings which include fuel oil, water, lube oil, bilge, waste oil, sludge tanks for the daily consumption report.
  • record-keeping of assigned machinery especially running hours.
  • compiling and preparing an end-of-the-month report.
  • transfer of fuel oil for purification.
  • cleaning of filters and strainers.

Since the fourth engineer is a holder of the certificate of competency, a few sorts of machinery in the engine room are allocated to him for routine upkeep, for example, yet not restricted to;

  • Purifiers
  • Pumps
  • Air compressors
  • Sewage treatment plant

The duties of the fourth engineer may differ due to company policies, type of ship, or even by the instruction of the chief engineer.


The fourth engineer resumes duty for an engine room watch at least 15 minutes before the watch time to take rounds in the engine room to be sure and look out for abnormalities in the engine room and machinery behavior before reporting to the engine control room where he will be given a briefing by the officer he is taking over from before taking over the watch.

The fourth engineer starts his/ her day by going breakfast 0700H – 0800H, the morning watch of the fourth engineer starts from 0800H – 1200H, after which he goes for a lunch break from 1200H – 1300H then resume for overtime if there is any job that requires his presence from 1300H – 1500H, then he goes to rest from 1500H – 1700H, from 1700H – 1800H is dinner time after which he/ she prepares to resume the night watch from 1800H – 1900H and takes over the watch from the second engineer from 2000H – 2400H. This circle of the fourth engineer’s lifestyle while onboard, but sometimes the rest and working hours may be changed to suit the ship’s operation.

The fourth engineer is to check, read and sign the chief engineer’s night order booklet for every watch where there may be instructions to be carried out for the watch.
Uniform: The fourth engineer can be identified onboard on the uniform by the epaulets, which have one strip (bar) and diamond or propelled symbol.


The wages of a fourth engineer should earn about $3,000, but this amount may vary in deduction or increments depending on the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) or company policies.

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