Interview with gcaptain founder John Konrad
Can you please tell us little bit about yourself?
I am a sailor by trade and I hold a US Masters Unlimited liscence, today, most of my time is spent managing gCaptain.com the largest, most visited, online publication for the maritime industry. I also wrote Fire On The Horizon, the best-selling book about the Gulf oil disaster.
For how many years you have been part of maritime sector?
I enrolled at SUNY Maritime Academy in 1996, so it has been six years since I started as a cadet. Know more about this academy here.
How was your journey towards opening your own media cum maritime portal?
When I started gCaptain the only good news available about ships was from industry magazines that charged a lot of money and were not available to sailors working aboard ships. We decided to launch gCaptain to provide free news to mariners online.
What makes gCaptain interesting to the readers?
Most of our readers work on ships and appreciate a news source written by mariners like themselves rather than journalists who don’t fully understand ships.
Can you tell us little bit about, how you got this name?
That is a secret 😉
What are your future plans?
gCaptain has gotten big with over a half million monthly readers which makes it difficult to respond to every email and request. We recently launched Club gCaptain a subscription service that costs $10 a month, not a small sum for some mariners, but charging a modest amount allows us have a small group of members who we can interact with on a more personal basis.
We just saw Maritime India Submit being concluded; please tell us more about it.
While I did not attend the Maritime India Summit, I did work in India for 3 years as Chief Mate aboard the drillship Discoverer 534 working for Reliance. We were the ones who first drilled and discovered the very large oil and gas deposits in the Bay Of Bengal. I very much enjoyed my time in the country and working with an all Indian crew aboard that ship.
Do you see the need of pushing research based studies in maritime education?
Yes, certainly. Research and development are the seeds from which grow a safer and more efficient transportation network. The maritime industry is still behind most other industries in terms of its investment in technology and this puts us at a disadvantage.
Due to slowdown, there is shortage of jobs in market. How you think we can cope up with this?
This is a very cyclical industry and will rebound eventually. There is very little we can do as mariners except wait and use the time to continue our education and training.
What is the immediate problem in Shipping sector, that we need to tackle?
Our biggest problem is communication on an international level. We are spread across the globe and communication is often difficult. The internet can, of course, help with this but for that to happen the industry needs to directly support sites like Mariners Galaxy and gCaptain.
Any tips for the present ship-owners, considering volatility of the market.
If you have access to capital this is an excellent time to purchase ships and invest in your business.
If you are given super power for one day, what you would like to do first.
I would like to be able to read an entire book by just looking at the cover… sorta like x-ray vision for books. I love to learn and reading a lot of books is still the best way for gaining insight and understanding beyond your core competencies.
Last Question- what you think about marinersgalaxy.com ☺?
I just learned about it recently but so far I like it!