The PMS Merchant Navy accessible to ENSM students

Presentation of the Préparation Militaire Supérieure Merchant Navy

The PMM and PMS centres are placed under the responsibility of the maritime district commanders (COMAR). Since 2020, only the PMS Merchant Navy in Marseille remains; it is placed under the responsibility of COMAR Marseille, more particularly for the general organization, the support, the administrative follow-up and the operation under the responsibility of LV (R) Fabrice Gouézou, the Chief of Staff of the Naval unit Marseille. The PMS Merchant Navy (PMS Mar- Mar) is composed of students from the French Merchant Navy Academy ENSM (École Nationale Supérieure Maritime) but also from the Antwerp Merchant Navy Academy; the training is adapted because these young people already have important and operational maritime knowledge. Indeed, all of them have already sailed on a merchant ship and are trained for the highest ranks on board these ships. The PMS takes place during the spring holidays common to the four French centres, but slightly delayed for the Antwerp school.

Recruitment process

Recruitment is carried out by the Naval Recruitment Service (NRS) among students of the Merchant Navy academy.
Candidates apply through the website
The PMS MarMar is aimed exclusively at students of French Merchant Navy academy (ENSM) in France or Belgium, i.e. the institutes that train future officers of the merchant navy, i.e. the centres in Le Havre, Marseille, Nantes, Saint-Malo or Antwerp.
To apply candidates shall:

  • have French (or Belgium) nationality
  • be a 2nd or 3rd year student

The recruitment is done at the rank of “second maitre”. Recruitment from French BAC +3 (Bachelor Degree) is possible, with the grade of aspirant (midshipman) being awarded. The assistant for the recruitment of officers (ARO) delivers a conference in the Merchant Navy Academies beforehand, followed a few weeks later by an individual motivation interview.

The complete application files are sent by December 1st of the year n-1 and at the end of January, a committee selects the successful candidates. Each year we have between 60 and 70 applications. In 2020, PMS Brest recruited 20 candidates and PMS Marseille 40 candidates, which is the maximum capacity. For 2021 the outlook was poor because only 20 positions were opened at the PMS Marseille, as the PMS Brest was mothballed. With 20 places for the same number of candidates, selection becomes difficult

Training content

The training is composed of courses, conferences and military and sports practices, the latter being by far the most expected by these young people ready for action.
The classes follow, as for all the marine military preparations, the program established by the instruction 20/DEF/DPMM/PRH.

  • Knowledge on Defence: general organisation of Defence, joint organisation, military hierarchy.
  • Knowledge on the Navy, its vessels, the different units, the organization on board, the ranks or designations.
  • Practical military and sports training to develop leadership skills, group cohesion and crew spirit.

This program is delivered by lecturers specialized in their field, by the instructors with extended experience and by the various seamen who join during these few days. The activities are essentially aimed at forming a team/crew spirit with cohesion, since the trainees have not generally received this in their previous training. Learning the basics of tight order allows for teambuilding from the beginning, giving a common will for the whole group to be homogeneous. It is recommended to carry on with a PPMC (military physical preparation of the combatant) supervised by recognised Maptisport instructors on the naval base, then a 2-day camp with teambuilding activities supervised by marine fusiliers. In three days, the crew spirit is developed. Alternatively, we have other teambuilding activities such as a water ingress exercise at the CFPES (practical training and safety training centre) on the base, a helicopter crash exercise, a tugboat handling exercise or a navigation exercise on one of Alfan’s simulators.