Categories: People


A ship’s purser is the person on a ship principally responsible for the handling of money on board. On modern merchant ships, the purser is the officer responsible for all administration (including the ship’s cargo and passenger manifests) and supply; frequently the cooks and stewards answer to them as well.

The purser joined the warrant officer ranks of the Royal Navy in the early 14th century and existed as a naval rank until 1852. The development of the warrant officer system began in 1040, when five English ports began furnishing warships to King Edward the Confessor in exchange for certain privileges. They also furnished crews whose officers were the Master, Boatswain, Carpenter and Cook. Later these officers were “warranted” by the British Admiralty. Pursers received no pay but were entitled to profits made through their business activities. In the 18th century a purser would buy his warrant for £65 and was required to post sureties totalling £2,100 with the Admiralty. They maintained and sailed the ships and were the standing officers of the navy, staying with the ships in port between voyages as caretakers supervising repairs and refitting.

In charge of supplies such as food and drink, clothing, bedding, candles, the purser was originally known as “the clerk of burser.” They would usually charge the supplier a 5% commission for making a purchase and it is recorded they charged a considerable markup when they resold the goods to the crew. The purser was not in charge of pay, but he had to track it closely since the crew had to pay for all their supplies, and it was the purser’s job to deduct those expenses from their wages. The purser bought everything (except food and drink) on credit, acting almost as a private merchant. In addition to his official responsibilities, it was customary for the purser to act as a literal private merchant for luxuries such as tobacco and to be the crew’s banker.

As a result, the purser could be at risk of losing money and being thrown into debtor’s prison; conversely, the crew and officers habitually suspected the purser of making an illicit profit out of his complex dealings. It was the common practice of pursers forging pay tickets to claim wages for “phantom” crew members that led to the Navy’s implementation of muster inspection to confirm who worked on a vessel. The position, though unpaid, was very sought after because of the expectation of making a reasonable profit; although there were wealthy pursers, it was from side businesses facilitated by their ships’ travels.

On modern-day passenger ships, the purser has evolved into a multiperson office that handles general administration, fees and charges, currency exchange, and any other money-related needs of the passengers and crew.

In the navy, a commissioner is an officer responsible for the financial management and oversight of the administration and supply of passenger and crew service on board.

Although the term “commissary” applies, especially to merchant navy administration officers, it is also used in some navy. In the Portuguese Navy, for example, administration officers were appointed naval commissioners until the early twentieth century, and later became naval administration officers. In the Brazilian Navy, the administration officers are appointed mayors.

Commissioners are responsible for the management of the chamber / chamber section of passenger ships. When the chambers section of a vessel has more than one commissioner officer, the highest category may be designated as chief commissioner or 1st commissioner. In accordance with the system adopted, the other Commissioners shall be designated, in succession, 1st Commissioner or 2nd Commissioner and 2nd Commissioner or 3rd Commissioner.

Small passenger ships and cargo ships usually do not ship commission officers, leaving the chamber section to be managed by a steward or even a cook.

As responsible for the financial management and chambers of a passenger ship, commissioners coordinate work programs and media management (including budgets, expenditure and revenue), recruit and coordinate camera staff (drawing up working functions), organize the distribution of passengers’ seats on board, draw up opinions on the estimation of passenger movements and supplies, guide and verify the packing of supplies and materials for catering and restaurant services, supervise restaurant services, bar, commerce, animation and others.

The duties of a commissioner are very similar to those of a hotel or restaurant manager. Thus, especially in large cruise ships, where the section chambers is divided into several specialized departments, Commissioners take the designation hotel manager, bar manager, casino manager, etc..

Formation and career
Until recently, the career of merchant marine commissioner was a regulated profession, to which only certified professionals could access. In order to obtain certification as a commissioner, it was necessary to attend a special course at a nautical school or training of merchant navy officers.

Today, however, the profession of commissioner is no longer certified and regulated internationally and in most countries. Thus, each company may hire any professional to perform the duties of commissioner, provided it meets certain minimum criteria, one of which is to have a college degree, usually in the area of management and administration. For example, it is common practice to hire graduates with higher courses in hotel management to serve as commissioners.

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In Portugal, for example, the career of commissioner of the merchant navy included, until 2001, the categories of commissary practitioner, 3rd class commissioner, 2nd class commissar, 1st class commissar and chief commissioner. In order to gain access to the category of commissary practitioner, it was necessary to complete the bachelors of the Superior Course of Commissariat of the Infante D. Henrique Nautical School. In order to achieve the category of first class or higher commissioner, in addition to the professional experience it was necessary to complete the Course of Leadership of the same school.

duties of the ophthalmologist
Originally in the English fleet (XIX century), he was a crew member responsible for running a ship bank. Later, he was given duties related to the supply of goods that were not provisions for the crew (tobacco, alcohol). Gradually, he was getting more and more classes over the years. In the mid- twentieth century, when the crews of ships were relatively numerous, and the sea states significantly expanded their regulations and maritime administration and the living conditions of the crews began to correspond to our current imaginations, the postmaster was in most of the world’s fleets. At that time, he dealt with cash transactions like his nineteenth-century predecessors, that is, he carried out cash transactions on the orders of the captain:

payment of wages or part of them to crew members,
provided advances on future earnings to seafarers employed on board,
he made small purchases, cash fees in ports,
sometimes he did bank operations in ports,
he ran a ship’s canteen – he sold in it and took care of its supply.
In addition, he dealt with:

hotel staff management and settlement of her working time,
taking care of passengers during the voyage and their entry and leaving the ship (including drawing up appropriate documentation),
preparation of menus and proper nutrition of the crew and passengers,
supplying the ship with provisions, items necessary in the hotel’s part of the ship – from tableware, office supplies to furniture,
organizing the washing of bed and table linen in ports,
storing food supplies in ship’s stores according to the rules of food storage,
preparing renovation specifications of the hotel and catering parts for the duration of the ship’s stay in the shipyard,
taking care of equipping the hotel’s part of the ship and its proper functioning (the so-called inventory),
preparation of documentation necessary for port customs clearance and participation in them,
running a ship office, financial settlements (non-cash and cash) with representatives of the shipowner in foreign ports, sea agents, suppliers, preparation of appropriate financial and accounting documentation, reports for the shipowner’s offices,
organization of official receptions in ports and assistance to the captain in performing representative functions,
conducting cultural and educational activities for passengers and crew, among others: running a ship library, organizing trips in ports, arranging movie projections, going to the cinema, etc.,
he was responsible for the storage of duty free goods, settlement of representation expenses.
Such were the duties of the commander on cargo ships. The technical progress, computerization and reduction of floating crews caused that their crew members gradually began to take over their duties. The port check-in, the preparation of a part of the documentation was taken over by a radio-officer, a serving block, a ship’s cook, a younger steward, a canteen, and the rest of the captain. Crews from 30 to 50 members melted down to less than 20. This process continues, recently the widespread use of computers, new means of communication has contributed to the further reduction of crews of up to a dozen or so people (among others, the radio-radio station has been reduced). The position of the mayor was left only on ships engaged in passenger, passenger and cargo transport or having very large casts (school ships, fishing bases).

Commercial Aviation
On modern airliners, the cabin manager (chief flight attendant) is often called the purser. The purser oversees the flight attendants by making sure airline passengers are safe and comfortable. A flight purser completes detailed reports and verifies all safety procedures are followed.

Purser or Chief Purser (dt cabin manager, outdated also chief steward or chief stewardess) is the originating from English name for the highest ranking flight attendant of a cabin crew (English cabin crew) in a passenger plane. In the JAR-OPS European legislation, the Purser is referred to as a “senior cabin crew member”, and in the English law edition as a “senior cabin crew member”. The term Purser has been used at least since the 1950s at Pan Am and is nowadays u. a. also officially used at Lufthansa.

The purser is responsible for enforcing operational interests in the airline’s security and customer service. In accordance with the statutory provisions (JAR-OPS 1.1000), the chief cabin crew member is responsible to the commander (captain) for carrying out and coordinating the safety and emergency procedures for the passenger cabin laid down in the Operations Manual and has, in accordance with § 12 Aviation Security Act, like all on board persons present, the orders of the pilot in command must be followed (board powers).

The Purser Assistant is used on wide-body aircraft, ie aircraft with more than one gear and separate, separated areas in the passenger cabin. He is subordinate to the purser and responsible for a particular compartment. Unlike the Purser, the Purser Assistant is not ranked within the flight crew.

The order of precedence on Lufthansa wide-bodied aircraft is slightly more differentiated. There are basically two Pursers on these planes. The highest ranking member of the cabin crew is the so-called P2 (Purser 2). This Purser is wholly responsible for the o. G. Process. He does not have a permanent job position in the service, otherwise the so-called P1 (Purser 1). The P1 is on long-haul flights the deputy of the P2. He usually manages the service of a specific transport class. Usually this is the economy class, as passenger traffic is highest there. The Purser 1 also provides its service on narrow-body aircraft of Lufthansa. Examples are theAirbus A320. On planes of this size no P2 is on board. Thus, the P1 is the highest ranking flight attendant and responsible for the implementation of legal and operational procedures.

In intercontinental flights there are often two pursers on board. The purser with the highest rank, the senior purser, does not have to cooperate with the provision of the service, but maintains the overall overview of the service and maintains communication with the cockpit crew. The second purser has the responsibility for the service to the economyclass passengers.

At the airline KLM the senior purser is recognizable by 4 silver stripes and an orange stripe (and a pin with “senior purser”), the purser has 4 silver stripes and is also recognizable by a pin with “purser” on it.

Source from Wikipedia