I have been about two years at sea . This is where I began my career.
During this period I have performed Navigational and Officer of the Watch(OOW) duties for cargo ships sailing worldwide.
I enrolled under British, Danish and Italian shipping companies.
I served on general cargo ships (10500 dwt), as well on oil and chemical tankers ( from 4000 dwt to 30000 dwt ).
The longest time I served onboard a vessel was 7 months.
I worked with crew mates of british, italian, filipino, romanian, polish, russian, thai and african (Benin, Togo and South Africa) nationalities. It’s been a cross cultural environment. I have had lots of friends on every vessel I boarded, because it is hard to live without friends at sea. Of course, not everybody can be trustworthy enough to be your friend, but you can easily find for yourself the persons you can trust.
Two years is not much and not enough. The peak of my tiny sea-career was the employment with A.P. Moller–Maersk. During my staying onboard the Maersk group I have been an employee of Maersk Tankers and I sailed with MT Maersk Bristol and MT Maersk Belfast.
Maersk is large company, with a corporate culture and a multinational working environment. I learned and, as of today, I have not forgotten their core values, which I wish to quote here:
- Constant Care : Take care of today, actively prepare for tomorrow. What it means as a core value: Forward thinking, planning and execution
Being informed, innovative and seeking out new ideas. Looking for changes in the environment.
- Humbleness : Listen, learn, share, and give space to others. What it means as a core value: Showing trust and giving empowerment
Having an attitude of continuous learning. Never underestimating our competitors or other stakeholders.
- Uprightness : Our word is our bond. What it means as a core value: Honesty and accountability.
Openness about the good and the bad. Speaking your mind in the debate, but backing the decision.
- Our Employees : The right environment for the right people. What it means as a core value: Attracting and retaining the right people, building the right team. Providing opportunities for continual development. Rewarding performance, promoting for potential
- Our Name : The sum of our Values: passionately striving higher. What it means as a core value: The embodiment of our values. Passion and pride for what we do and how we do it. Our image in the eyes of our customers and the external world.
I learned from Maersk the respect for safety when at work.
There were things I loved when on sea-service and things I did not like. I remember what I liked the most was Watchkeeping. During watchkeeping, a navigational officer is alone on the bridge (ship’s command room) during day time, or with a helmsman during the night watch. Colleagues are confident they hand their lives to the one on watchkeeping, which takes decisions for the safety of lives, the ship and the cargo. This kind of “absolute” trust builds up a particular bond which is hardly to see when serving for regular on-shore jobs.
Sometimes I think I quit the maritime path perhaps too early. But most of the times I think I did the right choice under the circumstances.
I quit the sea-career because I realized the knowledge I had acquired with my 2nd University programme ( Accounting and IT skills ) was becoming obsolete. I had to act because otherwise it would have diminished my chances for integration in a job ashore. Perhaps I would have to remain at sea for the rest of my life, till retirement. Which, by the way, I had not intended, when I signed up for the Maritime Studies.
When I joined the Maritime University of Constanta there was no Internet. Hence no open “connection” with the outside world existed. It changed by the time I graduated because Internet got accessible and information got available. My aim was to stay enough time at sea to earn sufficient money to start my business ashore, by applying the knowledge I had studied for at the 2nd Bachelor Programme , namely Information Technology, Management and Accounting.
I quit the maritime career in 2007.