In an exclusive interview with SAFETY4SEA, Mrs. Julia Anastasiou, Crew Director at OSM Maritime Group, discusses the existing and future manning and training challenges, highlighting that industry needs equality which refers not only to bridging the gender gap but also the nationality and religion gap in order to add more value in the industry. When it comes to young people who are in favor of a career in shipping, Mrs. Anastasiou advises them of being patient, learning from others and focusing on developing their skills.
SAFETY4SEA: What are the current and future seafarer manning and training concerns?
Julia Anastasiou: One of the major concerns we have is competence. Competence is an issue we need to develop for all of our seafarers, regardless of nationality or rank or whatever the case may be.
In terms of skillset, of course you can develop your skills and competence to a certain degree, however, without the right attitude and the necessary mindset, it does not obviously complete the whole package.
Finally, communication is really important. If we see that majority of cases onboard, whether accidents or injuries, are attributed to human error, we see that mainly, where we have multi-nationalities onboard, communication has been one of the major issues. So if you have a combination of competencies, attitude, and of course, good communication skills, I think that would be the way forward for manning and training.
SAFETY4SEA: What is the best leadership style you have experienced in shipping and why? What characteristics should have a leader in order to serve as a role model onboard and ashore?
Julia Anastasiou: I always say that leading by example is the best way to go. Of course, you must walk the talk. You must be a person that stands on your own two feet and really shows through example. And by doing that, you have everyone onboard and ashore working as one tight unit. If of course you are asking someone to carry out a task and you are not doing it yourself or not being part of the actual activity, then it is not easy to convince others to follow. So, walk the talk, be there, and lead by example.
SAFETY4SEA: Given the ongoing discussion for the role of women in shipping, do you think that we need more females on leadership roles or more leaders acting on a female mode?
Julia Anastasiou: Absolutely I think the more women we see in this industry, that will add benefit to this ever-growing industry. If you look at statistics, 2% of the industry has a female presence there, so it is quite a small number that we really need to develop. If we look at what is happening today, women are slowly gaining in number. But we need to develop that further. And again, I have to stress, it is not only about women, it is about equality, so it covers not only gender but nationality and religion, and it encompasses everything that we can bring to the table and add value.
SAFETY4SEA: What is your message to those who wish to pursue a career in shipping industry?
Julia Anastasiou: I would say perseverance: It is so important that you determine to start something and stick to it, develop your skills and network. Learn, really take things on and develop in every step of the way. Be patient, be aggressive, be willing to learn and to take on extra tasks and don’t think people do not notice what you are doing. They notice what you are doing, they take it on, and then, when you least expect it, opportunities arise. So always make sure you are there for the long haul. There are no shortcuts in this industry. You have to learn through example and be perseverant. And good luck to all young people starting in this industry.
Above article is an edited version of Mrs. Julia Anastasiou’s video interview during Posidonia 2018, June 4-8, Metropolitan Expo, Athens.
The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of SAFETY4SEA and are for information sharing and discussion purposes only.