Read the captain interview, as what he has to say about the present day and he expects from new sailors. Also know answers of lots questions.
Captain Interview: Read His Views About Shipping Today
- Can you please tell us a little bit about yourself?
The sea and the ships have been a part of my life since I was a kid. I grew up with the though that I would be a captain as soon as possible. I went to Maritime High School and after that I graduated from Merchant Marine University in 1997.
- How did you get into sailing?
When I was a little boy my father took me on board the ship for small passages from the Danube River to the Black Sea. Since then I loved the ships and even their smell, so I followed up my father’s tradition and became a seafarer myself.
- How long have you been sailing?
I have been sailing on port container vessels for almost 20 years now and I have been a captain for seven years.
- What are your future plans? Are you planning to be a part of other business as well?
The shipping business is delicate right now. Working on container vessels – while this crisis seems to get worse -is bringing up new challenges, from handling ships in ballast or in light condition on rough seas to being laid up in anchor for several months. All these make me think about other options as well like changing to cruises which seem to flourish nowadays.
- What upgrades, do you think can pull more young lads to pursue sailing as a career.
The most important thing is to start doing this job because you love it and all gets easier after that. You’d like to learn more, you’d want to be the best. I would like to see the young people picking up the basic skills in a sailing club or getting summer jobs on cruisers/yachts/sailing boats before joining Maritime Schools and Universities. Like this, the first time they actually join their first vessel,they will be more aware of their job,they will be more responsible and self conscious. Our job is a very dangerous one, but it can bring a lot of good things, apart from the financial recompense. It’s up to us to take advantage of the opportunities we are offered and to find new reasons every day to love what we are doing.
- Apart from sailing, what do you like do?
Most of our friends from home find me a little weird because after 4 months at sea I prefer to spend my free time at sea as well. I love the water and all the leisure activities connected with it – swimming, sailing and fishing – and I never get bored on sea shores wherever they might be.
- How is your experience till now in sailing?
In this job, you never stop learning. Every new contract and every new ship teach you something new. Every new day builds up your experience and so goes on until you retire.
- What do you do in order to keep up with latest tools and technologies?
I follow up shipping news, maritime news and our compulsory IMO/ SCTW trainings/upgrades.
- What problems captains are facing these days?
It seems that the pressure from the crisis in the shipping business is affecting all parties, but it is directed mostly on the ship and her crew. The new rules and regulations are welcome and they are mostly designed to help ships and personnel into improving safety, reducing hazards and accidents, but sometimes they are coming too fast and the shore authorities are not well familiar with their main purpose and make our job even more difficult. Many ships are harassed in ports in West Africa where, aside from piracy, local authorities are finding mistakes in local interpretations of rules and regulation.
10.What do you do when you are not working or sailing?
I like travelling, camping and sailing for pleasure.
11.How is your daily schedule at ship?
As a captain, I am on duty 24/7. During port stays the schedule can get really hectic and tiresome especially in East Asia – China, Taiwan, South Korea – where I sometimes have long and difficult maneuvers and always a lot of paper work to do. In China most of the maneuvers take time during night time, so I have to adjust my rest hours accordingly. During the passages, I normally work between 8 and 5, but I always have to adjust my schedule in accordance with our office hours. For this reason, I sometimes have to work until late at night – in order to cover the time difference – or start very early. Regardless the rotation of the ports the most important thing for a captain is to be very well organized. The work must be done everyday, nothing must be postponed, otherwise you get yourself in big trouble. Even during a very busy port rotation I always find time to relax and do some of my favorite leisure activities like playing ping pong, watching movies or reading. On Saturdays, I usually meet the other officers in the Recreation Room for a drink and a chit-chat.
12.Any major change you want in the sailing world?
I would like everything to get back the way it was 20 – 25 years ago when captains and crew members were not disturbed during lunch times and everybody on board the ship was respected. Now we are all numbers on a crew list.
13.Whatdo you think is lacking in the new sailors?
Most of the new sailors don’t realize the responsibility which comes with this job. They do not like to get involved more than their line of duty, they don’t like to think outside the box and they think that only the captain holds the responsibility for everybody’s mistakes. I think this is a very dangerous and unhealthy way of thinking. If everybody does his/her job properly, then the ship is a ‘happy ship’. If one seafarer fails to do his/her job for various reasons he puts the entire crew at risk, he puts the vessel at risk and his life as well. Even the cadets must be responsible – even if they can not be held responsible for any mistake – but they have the greatest responsibility of learning. They must not waste their time on board and just pretend to do their job because this would be very wrong. They are given a chance – while hundreds others are struggling hard to get on a vessel –and they must make the best of it.
14.Your favorite, tourist destination, Recipe, Actor/Actress, car. Who is your role model?
I traveled a lot during the past 15 years and my favorite destinations are Italy, Greece and the tropical islands where I like to spend the European winters.
15.Last Question- what do you think about marinersgalaxy.com ?
I found out about marinersgalaxy.com only a few months ago while on the vessel and I didn’t have too much time to spend on the website so far. I am looking forward to reading interesting and useful info about the maritime business, about other seafarers’ challenges and thoughts and about life at sea in general.