When we talk about the connection between Maldivians and the sea, fisheries and tourism immediately come to mind. As we concentrate on our dependency on fisheries, historically, and tourism in more recent times, we glide over an integral part of the Maldivian maritime story, professional boating and shipping. The rich history of Maldives is enriched by not only traders who settled here but also economic and global cultural influences from trading. Maldivians themselves were far traveled on locally engineered nevi and batheli with their own navigation systems.
So are there opportunities in shipping for the present generation? Maldives State Shipping (MSS) has recently opened up a host of free scholarship opportunities and subsequent employment for several lucrative careers at sea. Exciting career opportunities await those who dream big and have adventure in their hearts.
Navigation officers are one of the most critical roles on a ship. The highly rewarding job, with an upward trajectory to captainship one day, comes with equal responsibilities too.
They are called Navigation Officers or Deck Officers sometimes, and are responsible for all maintenance on the vessels that are not related to the engine room or other machinery. They are also responsible for the safety of any passengers or cargo onboard, making decisions on navigation, maneuvering, controlling navigation and communications.
This career path, ideal for those who like every new day to come with a new challenge, lets you travel and work with cutting edge technology. After three years of ship and shore training, between shipboard experience and college education, the cadets would undergo Second Mate Exams. Upon successfully completing this exam, cadets are rewarded with the shiny new title of Officer along with a handsome salary and 2 stripes on their uniform. Even in the Maldives, a Navigation Officer would make between 50-60 thousand MVR per month, with the added option to carry family onboard depending on the size of the ship.
Wondering where to start? Many opportunities are available in the Maldives for those who wish to pursue a maritime career including training courses for navigation officers, completely free of charge. Students may join a three-year course and study abroad with an entry requirement of only two A level passes, one of which must be Physics.
Those who are more interested in the mechanical side instead of operations have jobs available on that front too. With only 12 months of training and 3 O’level passes you can become a reefer
technician, a tremendously important job, especially in the world today with more and more temperature sensitive goods being transported over long distances.
Container ships have reefer containers which are refrigerated to hold goods that are temperature sensitive. Reefer technicians inspect, maintain and repair these containers and the marine air conditioning and refrigeration using the latest diagnostic tools. This is a highly specialized job that maintains highly technical complex reefer container systems, critical to the effective transportation of cargo. Reefer containers are often damaged and can malfunction, and it is extremely expensive and time-consuming to deal with damaged or malfunctioning reefer containers. The job is lucrative not just for those looking to build a career in this field, but also for ship owners and ports to save the time, energy, and expenses of dealing with damaged or malfunctioning containers.
Until now, there had not been any training conducted to build local reefer technicians in the Maldives, and as a result, there are hardly any local reefer technicians in the Maldives. There is a great scope for opportunities and career growth in this field, especially as it is not necessary for reefer technicians to serve on a ship – they can work on shore as well.
Another exciting career option that opens doors worldwide is the field of marine Engineering. Engineering Officers keep the ship moving and are specialized for machineries and engine
maintenance. They undergo training for seatime and shoretime duties due to their importance at both. Engineering Officers are required to attend college and will be awarded with a Bachelor’s Degree at the completion of their study, and similar to a Second Officer, Engineering Officers are also paid a substantive salary along with many other benefits upon joining the workforce.
Engineering Officers are required to be proficient in problem-solving as their jobs often involve diagnosing faults in equipment, along with maintenance, upkeep, and repair. Following the completion of their studies, they may even choose to move from sealife to shore jobs, as there are many easy opportunities waiting for them such as surveyors, technical managers, superintendents of shipping companies, or even the option to start their own engineering workshop.
These are only three of the many study, career and scholarship opportunities available from MSS, aiming to develop Maldivian youth to be an active part of the flourishing shipping industry. Not only do students get free top tier education at foreign universities but with the completion of their courses, jobs await at home with salaries over MVR 50,000.