Day of the Seafarer 2022

The global maritime community celebrates Day of the Seafarer on 25 June 2022. This year’s campaign promotes how shipping has

evolved over time and what remains at the heart of seafarers’ reality.

Led by the International Maritime Organization (IMO), the annual campaign seeks to engage individuals, primarily through social media platforms, to share their support for a chosen theme. This year, the IMO asked people to share two photos, one of their first sea voyage and another one of the latest or most recent voyage.

 

The campaign also called on seafarers to share what has changed since their first voyage with the hashtag  #SeafarerJourney.

 

In celebration of this year’s campaign, we asked a few of our ex- seafaring colleagues about their experiences as a seafarer. Here is what they had to say: 

 

Nicole Read, Group Marine Projects Manager

 

Can you provide a summary of your time as a seafarer?

 

My parents first took me out to sea when I was 3 weeks old, so it was in my blood. From 14, I worked for my father’s Sea School at the weekends during my school, college and university years – teaching people how to drive high speed powerboats.

 

I joined the RNLI at 16, became their youngest and first female All Weather Boat Navigator and just before I left to pursue my seafaring career, I was asked to be the first RNLI woman coxswain- unfortunately, I had to decline as I was moving away.

 

After completing a BSC in Computing at university, I became a Master of Windfarm Crew Transfer Vessels for 12 years. I was also the vessel mechanic which involved taking teams out to the offshore windfarms every day to service them, in locations around the UK and Europe.

 

What did you learn as a Seafarer?

Women are still under-represented in many maritime, sea faring jobs. I was the only woman in the Offshore wind industry for the first 8 years of my career, I learned quickly to stand up for myself, muck in with the dirty jobs and be confident in making decisions, others will soon see that you mean business!

 

I managed crews across different vessels in the fleet, got to see lots of places and learnt a great deal, including foreign languages, as I often worked abroad. When I left Holland after 3 years of working there, I was fluent in Dutch.

 

Alan Flynn, Group VTS Officer

 

Can you provide a summary of your time as a seafarer?

 

I joined the merchant navy working for Overseas Containers Ltd at 16 years of age, spending 4 months at the Sea Training College in Gravesend before joining my first ship the Tokyo Bay in August 1985. My first trip was to Japan and the Far East, which lasted just under 3 months.  I spent almost nine years working for this company in deep sea operations and progressed to an Able Seaman. I then spent a further 6 years working away at sea on various other vessels, coasters, ferries etc.

 

How has shipping changed since you started your career as a seafarer?

 

There a lot less crew now on the ships than when I was at sea.  Also shipping is definitely going the right way in being greener, in March this year the River Medway had its first ever visit from a multi-fuel LNG battery hybrid car carrier which has 40% lesser Co2 than your average vessel, hopefully we will see many more vessels like this in the future.

 

Mark Ashton Assistant Group Marine Projects Manager

 

Can you provide a summary of your time as a seafarer?

 

I completed my cadetship in Fleetwood Nautical campus between 2010 and 2013; I then got a job as a third mate with Wilhelmsen, a Norwegian company that operated Roll-On Roll-Off vessels (RoRos) and Car Carriers. These RoRos weren’t the same as the ferries we get in our ports, they transported huge excavators and pieces of machinery as well as break bulk in the form of pallets of rubber. We also carried new and used cars around the world. I stayed with Wilhelmsen until 2017 being promoted to second mate. After this, I joined Peel as a Mersey Vessel Traffic Services Officer.

 

What is your most memorable moment as a seafarer?

 

The Equator ceremony, a tradition of initiation that commemorates a sailor’s first time crossing the equator, was always great fun! Being able to see amazing places such as Japan that I am unlikely to see again due to cost and logistics. And sailing on a Norwegian ship, I got to love the taste of Aquavit! I also got to transit both the Suez and Panama Canals many times.