The First Assistant Engineer is designated by the Company as an engineering officer of each vessel. The First Assistant Engineer is responsible for the management, maintenance, and operation of shipboard engineering systems and equipment and is also responsible for representing, enforcing and preserving Company interests, policies and procedures to the crew, clients, sub-contractors, and duly authorized authorities as directed by the Chief Engineer.

The First Assistant Engineer’s duties include, but are not limited to, the full implementation of the Company Safety Management System (SMS), Code of Conduct, Company Policies, and Company Mission Statement. The First Assistant Engineer serves as the Officer in

Charge of the Engineering Watch (OICEW) as directed by the Master. The First Assistant Engineer ensures the safe and efficient maintenance and operation of the vessel’s engineering systems and spaces including, but not limited to, main propulsion, power generation and management systems, vessel control systems, automation systems, dry bulk and liquid cargo transfer systems, fuel management systems, bilge and ballast systems; firefighting systems, refrigeration and HVAC systems; potable water, grey water and sewage systems, communication and electronic navigation systems, deck machinery and cranes.

The First Assistant Engineer manages all below deck cargoes and engineering stores; tracks and reports on the consumption of fuel, water, lube oils, hydraulic oils and engineering spare parts and supplies. The First Assistant Engineer is responsible for the monitoring of the seaworthiness of the vessel, the safety of the crew and persons in addition to crew, protection of the environment, protection of the cargo or property of the charterer, vessel’s industrial mission performance, mobilization and de-mobilization project management, charterer relations, crew resource management, cost control, crew competency assessment, training, and other responsibilities that may be assigned by the Chief Engineer or that the First Assistant Engineer recognizes as essential to his/or her responsibility.



  1. The First Assistant Engineer is responsible for implementing the safety and environmental protection policies of the Company; motivating the crew in the observation of those policies; issuing and communicating appropriate orders and instructions in a clear and simple manner; verifying that specified requirements of the SMS, Code of Conduct, and Company policies are observed.
  2. To ensure the safe operation of each ship and to provide a link between the Company and those on board, the Company has designated a person or persons ashore having direct access to the highest level of management. The First Assistant Engineer (and all crew members) has been provided contact information for the DPA and alternate DPA. The First Assistant Engineer has the responsibility to monitor the safety and pollution prevention aspects of the operation of their ship and to ensure that adequate resources and shore-based support are applied, as required. Any deficiencies must be immediately reported to the Master and Company DPA.
  3. As directed by the Master, the First Assistant Engineer has the authority under his/her licensure to perform responsibilities aboard their vessel or when otherwise engaged in the business of the Company in the capacity of a First Assistant Engineer in a manner consistent with this job description.
  4. As directed by the Master the First Assistant Engineer serves as the OICEW and is responsible to ensure the safe operation and efficient maintenance of the vessel’s engineering systems in compliance with the applicable laws and regulations of the vessel’s flag state, coastal state, and the Company SMS in a manner consistent with maintaining the safety of the crew and the protection of the environment.
  5. The First Assistant Engineer manages engineering crew, vendors, and sub-contractors as directed by the Chief Engineer, including service delivery, safety management, human resource management, and cost management in accordance with the policies and procedures of the Company.




  1. The First Assistant Engineer is accountable to and reports to the Chief Engineer of the vessel, for all aspects of job performance.
  2. The First Assistant Engineer shall manage the engineering crew assigned to his/her vessel under the direction of the Chief Engineer.
  3. The First Assistant Engineer shall cooperate and work closely with flag state, port state and coastal state officials, client representatives, Operations Coordinator, First Officer, OICNW and any other relevant personnel necessary for the safe and efficient maintenance and operation of the vessels engineering systems as directed by the Chief Engineer.




The minimum qualifications and experience required for each First Assistant Engineer are:

  1. Possess all valid flag state (and coastal state as applicable) credentials required by law for service as First Assistant Engineer on the route and class of vessel appointed to (examples: Merchant Mariners Credential, TWIC Card, Medical Certificate, etc.).
  2. A valid Driver’s License.
  3. A valid Passport is highly preferred.
  4. A valid riggers certificate from a recognized issuing authority.
  5. Ability to read and write English as well as render, understand, and react to commands given in English.
  6. Minimum two years’ experience on DP-2 class vessels of similar size, route, and industrial mission in a position not lower than Assistant Engineer.

Demands and Work Environment

Incumbents must be able to:

  1. Lift and move equipment that weighs up to 50 pounds or more
  2. Move equipment that is heavy, large, and awkward, sometimes from one level to another.
  3. Ascend and descend stairs and ladders, sometimes while transporting tools or objects.
  4. Use portable ladders or stools to allow them to work on systems that are located in the overhead section of machinery spaces. Repairs may require that incumbents reach into small, poorly accessible areas of machinery.
  5. Work on equipment that has pressurized or hot components; secure or segregate systems to provide an adequate safety margin;
  6. Troubleshoot equipment that is difficult to reach
  7. Work in areas that have high noise levels
  8. Work below decks in an area that may experience periods of darkness in unusual situations; and work in confined and restricted spaces.
  9. Demonstrate sufficient physical dexterity to enable them to manipulate small items in restricted spaces or large objects when using mechanical lifting devices.
  10. Performing assigned emergency duties without undue danger to himself /herself or the vessel.



Sean LeBlanc

About The Author: Sean LeBlanc

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