Key Differences Between Merchant Navy & Indian Navy

Hello Defence Lovers, The naval division of the Indian armed forces is called as the Indian Navy. The task force of the Indian Navy composes of war ships and planes that are utilized in emergency situations or combat While the Merchant Navy is concerned with the transportation of passengers or cargo by sea.In this article we’ll discuss the key differences between Merchant Navy & Indian Navy.

  • Merchant navy is not like our Indian navy because it is non-combatant commercial fleet of ships. Ships could be for cargo and passengers, but mainly for the former one.
  • As economy of different countries grows they need raw material to keep it going. And the best way to import as well as export goods is through ships.
  • Indian Navy comes under the government and it is the naval defense force of India whereas Merchant Navy is not controlled by any one organisation but it is comprised of many shipping companies for trade.
  • Merchant marine as it is known synonymously; however has to adhere to certain rules and regulations framed by governing bodies to ensure stability in the activities carried out. To sum it all Merchant navy is a purely commercial form of sea career and is governed by both private and governmental shipping companies Whereas Defence Navy, on the other hand refers to nations’ maritime military wing. Naval ships are those which are used at times of international crises to protect the water boundaries of a nation from getting infiltrated or attacked unduly. Every nation with a waterline has its own navy service with its own code of rules and stipulations. Thus, a career in defence navy would involve services for the respective country through duty on war ships.
Also Read, Indian Navy – A Global Force For good




  • Both merchant navy and defence have deals with ships. While the first one is purely commercial, the second one involves careers of high respect and skills.
  •  Both merchant navy and navy have their own set of eligibility criteria for entering the maritime services. Individuals interested in enrolling for a career in merchant marines need to have a basic high school certification with subjects like physics, chemistry and math. Alternatively, individuals interested in applying for higher hierarchical positions need to have a graduation certification in science.





  •  The most important requirement of joining a country’s naval services is that the individual applying needs to be a citizen of that country. This factor forms the most important difference between merchant navy and navy in terms of eligibility criteria. Most of the navies of the world have their own entrance and screen exams for choosing the right candidates. However, both merchant and defence navy have the same requirements as far as the fitness and medical condition of the person is concerned.
  • Both merchant marine and navy have their individual hierarchical system. Jobs in merchant navy can in the technical department or pertaining to the deck zone or in the servicing area. Individuals with the right aptitude and skill-set can join in any one of the three specialised criterions.  Moreover, sometimes the ranks of professionals also depend on the company and type of the ship. But the basic structure remains the same.
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  • Ships are classified into two categories, namely :

(A.) Merchant Vessels

(B.) Defence Vessels

Merchant vessels are used to carry cargo (containers, crude oils, natural gases, chemicals, bulk cargo, cars and passengers) and maintain trade between nations whereas Defence ships are used used to carry weapons and they protect. So the Navy which deals with the Trade is called as Merchant Navy on the other hand Indian Navy helps the other Military forces in protecting the Nation.

Also Read, Eligibility Criteria For Joining Indian Navy After 10+2 As An Officer
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