Under Captain comes the Chief Officer which is the second command. The chief officer/ mate position is the Head of deck department, Head of Cargo shipping companies / stowage operations, Head of on board security, Head of safety/ fire fighting, head of environment and quality on a merchant ship. A chief officer is responsible to Captain for maintaining the cargo, crew and cargo safe.
The mate on watch has three elementary duties: navigate the ship, avoid traffic safely, and respond to any emergencies that may arise at sea. The job of chief officer has the responsibility for all local and international laws and regulations related to vessels operations. The chief mate supervise the upholding of fire fighting, deck, equipments and the cargo is loaded, packed and stored safely in vessel according to the rules. The chief mate must also ensure that the ship is controlled and carried out in accordance with the guidelines as mentioned in the marine companies operations manual.
The entry level to this post is ordinary seaman for one year. Then progress growing to Able bodied Seaman (AB) for three years at sea. Then Third Mate for 1 year, then Second Mate for 1 year. After so much time at sea 2nd mate is eligible to become Chief Mate. The next higher rank is Captain only.
The chief mates work for 8 hours every day without any weekends at sea. Along with sea premium pay they get paid for overtime and a half for weekend and holiday. They get paid $6000- 7000 Pm (approx).
A chief mate should have strong leadership qualities as of increased responsibilities. He must be able to show others their skills and understanding. He must be able to perform well with individuals and guide others. And he must be able to make decisions and take orders.