Avishek Ankit has come out a changed man after his first vessel experience; calm, composed, dedicated and determined. As he says, “the sea makes you resilient and unwavering amongst any odds that might be thrown at you”.
veryday tasks spark his creative and trouble-shooter side and as for the feeling of responsibility towards something so big? It only made him grow as an individual! A seafarer at heart, Avishek sees a sea of opportunity where others only see obstacles.
SAFETY4SEA: What do you love the most out of your career at sea?
A.A: I love the fact that I am doing something that most people cannot even imagine, I mean how lucky I must be to be in the high seas, there are people who take birth and can never experience what I do every day. Also, I am amused by how everything is distributed amongst the whole crew, and no one actually intervenes in your job until you need their help. This thing especially inculcated a lot of responsibility as well as the habit of putting trust and full support in my team.
S4S: What have you learned over the course of your career at sea?
A.A: Being a newbie amidst seasoned sailors, I ask my senior officers about their insightful experiences. This one piece of advice that really stuck with me was from a fitter who said, “While packing for a voyage, do you know what should you pack the most in your suitcase? It is patience.” During the pandemic we all know how hard things got in the sea because of extended contracts and restrictions put in place. Keeping aside the technical learning that my seniors have blessed me with, I have come out a changed man after my first vessel. I am calm, composed, dedicated and determined now.
S4S: How would you describe your daily life at sea/work in a few words?
A.A: Daily life at sea is everything but boring and routine. I love how each and every day there is something or the other that will force your creative and trouble-shooter side of yours to come out and save the day. Being aside competent and experienced personnel makes you pop that comfort bubble of yours and contribute towards the progress of the vessel. The best part being that you see immediate reactions of your actions. I mean you are well aware that if you neglect a particular task, you know it can blow up to be a big trouble which can make the ship halt. This feeling of responsibility towards something so big makes you grow as an individual.
S4S: What is the biggest challenge that you have to face on board?
A.A: I feel being away from the family, in the sense you cannot be there for them in the next immediate moment is what I find the most challenging. Making peace with this dilemma is a great milestone for seafarers. But this very challenge makes you pour all your love and soul into relationships (be it any kind) when you are back on land. Not forgetting to mention that with the availability of internet and fast communication for personal usage has helped the industry so much. I really respect and admire the persistence of the previous generations of sailors who used to work as hard without these benefits away from home and with no contact whatsoever with the family.
S4S: What is your piece of advice to fellow crew members onboard?
A.A: I think there is one quote that is applicable to each and every person on Earth and just keeping that in mind can change our life for the better. It was well said by Reinhold Niebuhr in 1934, it goes like “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can, and the Wisdom to know the difference.” There will be times when you feel the sky is falling down, all you can do is take a deep breath and change the things you can around you to the best. Everything will start falling in place slowly.
S4S: What inspires you every day onboard?
A.A: Just looking out when you wake up in the morning and being greeted by the free, bold, gentle and yet the all-powerful endless blue is what will make you feel so insignificant but blessed and grateful at the same time. This very sight grounds me early in the morning and makes me want to achieve something big in life, something purposeful.
A Chinese proverb says that, a journey of thousand miles starts with a step and that step for me is doing all of my duties and tasks with utmost diligence and dedication. The sea makes you resilient and unwavering amongst any odds that might be thrown at you.
S4S: What has been the most extraordinary thing that you have experienced on board?
A.A: The most extraordinary experience onboard is to know about multinational crew culture and diversity and enrich myself with a lot of skills and knowledge with them. Especially, being in command watchkeeping of a massive main engine of a ship, that was a thrilling moment for me, when I kicked a main engine on the air and in process that the ship started sailing.
S4S: What is the one thing that should change to make life better on board?
Being a male dominated industry, sometimes the crew misses out on visible hints and signs that someone is going through a hard time. We should be more receptive and sensitive towards each other and observe signs of depression and a deteriorating mental health.
S4S: What piece of advice would you give to someone thinking a career at sea?
A.A: I would just want to tell them that if they become a sailor, they would be amongst the 0.0002% of the world population. Everyone is not cut to do a job like this, hence the small ratio, I would advise them to talk with people working in the industry and read about it before being attracted to just the fancy aspects of the industry.
All in all, this profession requires an unwavering mental balance, true grit, flexibility, and physical endurance. But there is no other profession I feel which can build your back, improve character and transition you into adulthood seamlessly.
S4S: What do you miss the most about your seagoing experience?
A.A: I reckon, the activity on-board, the serenity of the sea and the ever-humming engine room is what I miss the most. Personally, being at sea is like a meditation for me. At present, sailing as an engineer is the only thing I want in my life right now, due to which, when I am on board it is like I have a purpose in life and that is keeping the ship up and running all the time. But this is totally personal and everyone has some driving force, this is for me.
The views presented hereabove are only those of the author and do not necessarily those of SAFETY4SEA and are for information sharing and discussion purposes only.