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What Is a Maritime Officer?
A Maritime Officer (MO) is a ship officer, who is educated and trained as BOTH navigator (mate) AND engineer. The term "Maritime Officer" is also used to describe the actual position (rank) on board the ship, as is the case with "Engineer" or "Officer" ("mate").

A person who is a Maritime Officer holds certificates to function in both capacities on board ships, and may perform both duties simultaneously in a dual watch rotation schedule. When following such a schedule the person will work in both the nautical and the engine department on board, for instance keeping a bridge watch as navigator during the morning and then working in the engine room during the afternoon.

If laid out properly, a dual watch schedule offers unique opportunities for flexible planning of work, and helps form a more unified team on board, where more hands are available to perform the tasks at hand.

The layout of dual watch schedules can be very different from ship to ship, some involving work in both departments on a daily basis, others using a more segregated 2-week rotation system. A. P. Moller - Maersk are at the moment working on streamlining watch schedules, so that all ships with Maritime Officers use the same system.

Career and Ranks of Maritime Officers
Maritime Officers are categorized in a similar way as traditional officers (3rd Officer, 2nd Officer etc). An inexperienced MO has the rank Maritime Officer 4 (MO4). After gaining some experience, this person can be promoted to MO3, if qualified.

To be promoted to MO2, the Maritime Officer must have completed the Senior Officer Exams. The MO2 is the highest position for a Maritime Officer before promotion to a senior officer position (1st Officer, Captain, 2nd Engineer, Chief Engineer)

An officer with the rank of MO4, MO3 or MO2 can occupy positions on ships as 3rd Officer, 2nd Officer and/or 3rd Engineer, or a combination of these (if a dual watch rotation scheme is in place).

Should the MO wish to continue in his dual capacity, he can be promoted to MO1 with duties similar to those of both 1st Officer and 2nd Engineer (some companies use the terms Chief Officer and 1st Engineer). If the MO wishes to specialize in one department, he can be promoted to either 1st Officer or 2nd Engineer after his choice, and will no longer function in dual capacities (although his knowledge is not lost, and can still be very useful in his further career).

Staying dual, the MO can later on be promoted to Dual Captain (duties both as Chief Engineer and Captain) if qualified. Choosing to specialize, the officer is eligible for promotion to the traditional positions of either Chief Engineer or Captain, if qualified.

If you have questions, please feel free to e-mail me and I'll try my best to help you.