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Jargon Busting: The Maritime industry

Posted by: Scott Redfern

The Maritime industry is certainly decorated with initialisms, words, and phrases that somebody outside of Marine involvement is unlikely to come across very often. Many of the job titles have kept their archaic resonance from decades or more ago, but the amount of abbreviated titles for vessels, organisations, and other key components of the Marine industry certainly could perplex somebody not in the know. So here are ten pieces of Marine jargon... busted!

O.O.W. First up, we have what looks like an exclamation of pain from a comic book, but in fact, O.O.W. actually stands for Officer of the Watch. An O.O.W. is so named after they are assigned the duties of watch keeping and navigation on a ship's bridge. The Officer of the Watch is the representative of the ship's Master and has the total responsibility of safe and smooth navigation of the ship. Quite a responsibility!

I.M.O. Perhaps one of the most important initialisms that any seafarer will learn early on is the I.M.O., which stands for the International Maritime Organisation. Their website includes a knowledge centre and various publications salient to the maritime/marine world.

D.P. Also known as Dynamic Position, D.P. is a computer-controlled system used to automatically maintain a vessel's position and heading by using its own propellers and thrusters.

D.P.O. What could this be? Correct, a D.P.O. is a Dynamic Position Officer. A guide to becoming a D.P.O. can be found here.

S.T.C.W. 1978 Outfitted with its very own year, the S.T.C.W., or International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (1978) sets qualification standards for Masters, Officers, and watch personnel on seagoing merchant ships.

C.O.C. The Certificate of Competency is required for seafarers to be able to carry out certain duties. These certificates can be restricted based on the area of sea in which the ship will be operating, or the size of the ship or yacht. 

D.S.V. A Dive Support Vessel is a ship used for professional diving projects. A D.S.V. can provide the support that divers trekking into deep bodies of water will require. 

E.T.O. As an Electro-Technical Officer, you will be responsible for maintaining a wide range of complex onboard electronic and electrical equipment. You will monitor all electrical equipment to maximise the operational safety and efficiency of the vessel. 

A.H.T.S. Anchor Handling Tug Supply vessels are primarily built to handle anchors for oil rigs, to tow them to location, and sometimes even serve as an Emergency Response and Rescue Vessel! They can also be utilised to transport supplies to and from offshore drilling rigs. Often, these vessels are designed to face harsh conditions, prominent in the North Sea. 

M.L.C. 2006 Another initialism treated to its very own year, the Maritime Labour Convention (2006) is an international Labour Organisation convention. The M.L.C. embodies "all up-to-date standards of existing international maritime labour Conventions and Recommendations, as well as the fundamental principles to be found in other international labour Conventions."

So there you have it! Ten pieces of key Marine/Maritime information busted open and explained for you. There are plenty more though, and we'll be jargon busting again in the coming weeks! 

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