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2nd Officer - Vacancies, Salary, Description

Maritime officers in the shipping industry are accountable for the properly functioning of a vessel or an offshore oil rig. On board of a ship these officers ensure that the safety and communication procedures, international regulations and all other instructions are being followed up, while technical issues will be handled by engineers, managed by the Chief Engineer.

The 2nd Officer, also known as the 2nd Mate – or when he’s certified and with work experience on DP vessels as Dynamic Positioning Officer (DPO), is a certified member on deck of a ship. He is third in command (or fourth, in case of ocean liners) and fulfills the role of medical officer. His duties range from keeping watch to customarily navigating.

Passage plans include the undocking procedures, the approaching of a port, the departure, the on-routing of a voyage and the mooring at a terminus. The scope of the 2nd officer jobs include the following, but not limited:

  • Being in charge of the distress signaling equipment,
  • taking the role of Medical Officer,
  • monitoring and running the ship’s deck.

The ship’s 2nd officer jobs also include the ability to tackle cargo handling and the ship's operations. During emergencies the 2nd Officer is responsible for safeguarding passengers and crew.  At offshore platforms 2nd officer job varies and is slightly different from the 2nd mate one in the Marine. This last one's job include a wide range of responsibilities, such as:

  • Navigation in compliance to International Collision Regulations,
  • good Safe Working Practice,
  • uninterrupted communications between Supply Vessels, Deck and Radio Operator,
  • monitoring and passing on weather reports,
  • navigation and Bridge Ancillary Equipment.

Next to the above mentioned, 2nd mate jobs also consist of various other technical and documenting related tasks. Open waters exhibit a rather harsh working environment, it could, at occasions take up to 20-30 days before seeing a hint of land.

Nowadays, 2nd Officer job offers, both in Marine and offshore drilling, constitute a large share of all the job vacancies for graduates. In the second half of last century, 2nd mate jobs have seen a dramatic rise. The demand for 2nd officers seems to be rising significantly again, thanks to the huge investments in offshore drilling.

With extensive privatization and foreign investments into Oil and Gas companies and Marine Engineering companies both entities have been raising funds for further expansion. Many nations urge for oil reserves and offshore excavations. They have aggressively trying to find find crude oil deposits. This has - as expected - enhanced the job opportunities for 2nd Officers and made room for more 2nd officer DPO jobs.

The 2nd mate salary is rather high compared with that of the 3nd engineer, either in the Marine or Offshore Industry. However, the geographical location and the company’s size account for the annual pay of the employees. The average income of a 2nd mate at an Offshore Oil and Gas subsidiary based in Australia is around US $100,000, while this is US $55,000 for an oil trading company based in UK.

The wages of a 2nd officer onboard of a Vessel can range from US $64,000 to US $160,000 with an average salary of around US $90,000 annually – while a DPO’s salary can easily top this. Anyway, with six months onboard and the rest of the year onshore this kind of annual payment seems to be quite a good package. However, the individual officer is required to attend several tests, while lifetime schooling forms an essential part of his career.

With American, Canadian and Australian companies paying significantly better than the rest of the world, many aspirant maritime professionals consider to make the high seas their workfield. For many job seekers the high salaries in the maritime industry forms the main driver to opt in a Marine job, or for a position on an Offshore Oil Rig.