What is the job of the Chief Engineer? The Chief Engineer is the director of the machinery department and is responsible for the efficient operation of the machinery chamber and the operation of all the ship’s mechanical equipment. The Chief Engineer assumes the great responsibility of maintaining the safe and continuous operation of the ship. However, it is important to note that, although the Chief Engineer has control and decision-making powers over the machinery department, the final responsibility for the engine room rests with the Captain, on whom the Head of Machinery depends. Like other positions on board, the Chief Engineer may have to stay on board frequently for up to 24 weeks, but in this case he will enjoy rest periods of about 12 weeks between trips, depending on the company and his contract.