The ordinary seaman rank is seen as a rank for the novice. There are ordinary seamen with quality sea experience and may not be regarded as a pure novices. However, for a new person who doesn’t know about seamanship and works onboard for the first time in the deck, the department is ranked as Ordinary Seaman or Trainee Seaman (TS). In some shipping companies, the full Ordinary Seaman rank must be attained with at least six months of sea experience which gives room for a person without sea experience to be ranked as trainee seaman. In the Trainee Seaman rank, the person is expected to get at least six months of sea experience before the person is promoted to the full rank of an ordinary seaman. However, for the sake of this article, the focus will be on the rank of an ordinary seaman.
The rank of an Ordinary Seaman (OS) is the last rank for deck ratings onboard a ship. The rank of the Ordinary Seaman is a rating forming the part of the navigational watch. It is the rank before the Able-bodied Seaman.
- Age: must be 18 years and above
- Certification: the ordinary seaman must hold STCW Basic Training Certificate and Certificate of Proficiency (CoP) in accordance with the provision of the STCW Regulation II/4.
Duties and Responsibilities of an Ordinary Seaman
Like every other crew onboard the ordinary seaman, even being a novice onboard is still assigned duties and responsibilities. In this regard, the ordinary seaman carries out the duties and responsibilities attached to the rank under the supervision of bosun or able-bodied seaman on board for proper direction for effective and safe work conduct. The obligations and responsibilities are listed below but not limited to;
- Assisting in deck maintenance (painting, chipping, cleaning, washing, Etc.)
- Assisting in mooring and anchoring operations
- Assisting in Garbage segregation
- Filling their training logbook and completing the project.
The ordinary seaman is expected to work closely with bosun to learn seamanship skills, and the able-bodied seaman to learn the jobs of the next rank, which includes steering the ship’s wheel.