What is a Maritime Officer?

The Maritime Officer, previously known as the Dual Purpose Officer, is a relatively new concept in the maritime trade. The first batch of cadets following this new program started out in August 1997.

But let's start at the beginning. Larger cargo ships within the A. P. Moller - Maersk fleet traditionally has a crew consisting of the following:

Deck Department Engine Department
  • Captain
  • Chief Officer
  • Chief Engineer
  • 1st Engineer
  • 1st Officer
  • 2nd Officer
  • 2nd Engineer
  • 3rd Engineer

The officers in the Deck Department are responsible for navigating the ship, watchkeeping on the navigational bridge when sailing and on deck when in port, mooring operations when entering / leaving port, maintenance of fire fighting equipment and life saving appliances etc. The officers in the Engine Department (Engineers) are responsible for daily watchkeeping over and maintenance of the ships propulsion machinery, power generators and various other machinery and equipment.

The idea of the Maritime Officer concept is to incorporate the 2 junior officers from the deck department and the 2 junior officers from the engine department into 4 Maritime Officers, each with competencies in both the deck and engine department, hence the previous term "Dual Purpose Officer".

The use of the term "Dual Purpose" naturally resulted in the conventional officers being referred to as "Single Purpose", a term that was quickly perceived as negative. Therefore the more neutral term "Maritime Officer" was launched.

The system is still under development, and Maritime Officers are now also seen in Senior Officer positions, undertaking the areas of responsibility previously belonging to the Chief Officer and the 1st Engineer. In time, the idea is to have Dual Captains who are able to assume the position of both Captain and Chief Engineer.

The main advantage of the system is greater flexibility of the onboard officers. Onboard operations also benefit greatly from officers working in the deck department being familiar with the technical operation of the ship, and officers in the engine department being familiar with the operational side.