Food on Merchant Navy ships

Me: How about joining navy?

Dad:  Don’t even think about it, they have to survive on bread and butter.

There are thousand wise things to be told, but all boiling down to the taste of tongue! It would be good to go on a ship,but living on bread and butter isn’t a good idea at all. Fishes? No.

A Biriyani day at sea! on ships with crew from Indian subcontinent it is a trend to make Biriyani on every Sunday afternoon.

Being a vegetarian complexity increases manifold, before joining Merchant Marine it was one of the most important aspects I was interested in. Thankfully after 6 years in service, I am left with nothing other than all praises for the great food I’ve always experienced.

The Perk of being a vegetarian! after a few days of struggle of handpicking vegetables out of unidentified in Japan.

Cuisines vary as per the different crewmembers and their Nationalities, The ships employing Multinationals may have a fixed continental cuisine, but crewmembers are always free to enjoy the food of their own choice. Food is one of the top priorities of shipping companies and they spend substantial amount of money for providing healthy and fresh food materials.

A ship involved in International trade may typically sail for a duration of 7-10 days at an average, but this may go to a month at a stretch too!  Fresh vegetables can survive up to 10-15 days in refrigerated rooms, Meat and Fish may extend up to months. And there is no  issue with dry provisions. Vegetables and fruits  are usually topped up at various ports on regular basis, on very few occasions refregirated vegetables have to be used. Contrary to the general belief of struggle for food on ships, Food on ships is always maintained high in quality, one of the reasons that add up is also the various international conventions,regulations and frequent inspections that Merchant ships have to undergo at various ports across the world.  Moreover while on shore across various countries you can enjoy a vast range cuisines, and live your all foody dreams!

After many rounds of training sessions by my watchkeeper AB, I’ve finally learned how to prepare a cappuccino!

If you are interested in life at sea, food should not be something you need to be worried about!

(c) copyright 2018



  1. I certainly agree that food at sea can either worry you – or make the experience so much better. Navy chow never really was something to “write home about” until I became a Chief and then the Chiefs’ Mess menu was so much better! But then you take a cruise line and – well, you can lose your mind on the food they prepare! (working mariners though don’t need that sort of excess.) You can do better than bread and butter.

  2. Pleasure reading your article Abhishek. Rightly said being a vegetarian complexity increases many folds, but thanks to the inclusive nature of our on board teams, there is solution for everything.

  3. Thank you for visiting Under Western Skies. I’m pleased to meet a merchant seaman from a country outside the U.S. I have a brother serving in a senior staff position at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, and I’m learning more about the Merchant Marine. Happy, safe voyages to you.

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