Filmed over several months, this remarkable observational documentary series follows a diverse group of seafarers following different career paths in the Merchant Navy. The cameras follow the lives and work of an exceptional group of men and women, offering a unique insight into Britain's commercial fleet as the worlds leading shipping companies train the seafarers of tomorrow. 'The Merchant Navy' is full of tradition, but also offers a modern, dynamic, hi-tech career. At sea and on land, the programmes throw open the life and work of Britain's seafarers in all their infinite variety. Filming aboard a number of different vessels, we follow the experiences of a selection of core characters, from raw recruits to long-serving engineers, through laughter and tears, fair weather and foul. Highlights include following new cadets on the maiden cruise of P&O superliner Ventura; watching trainees help navigate a 51,000-tonne Maersk container ship through the Panama Canal; and seeing BP Shipping's crude-oil supertanker 'The British Progress' undergo a shipyard overhaul in Singapore before heading to Iraq to pick up a full load, and keeping watch for pirates off the coast of Somalia.