Our ‘Seafarer Stories’ column hosts seafarers’ views who present briefly the key challenges of life and work onboard, providing a picture of what a career at sea actually means. In this context, we are happy to host an interview with Capt. Efstathios Katsiropoulos who for the last five years, he has been working as port captain at a well known Greek company.
SAFETY4SEA: What do you love the most out of your career at sea?
Capt. Efstathios Katsiropoulos: The thing that i loved most in my service onboard merchant bulk carriers is the sense of freedom that you can feel when your vessel is underway.
S4S: What have you learned over the course of your career at sea?
Capt. E.K.: When you work at sea you learn to be disciplined and careful and you must always be vigilant regarding the state of sea and weather conditions. That can actually save your life.
S4S: How would you describe your daily life at sea/ work in a few words?
Capt. E.K.: The daily life/work of a merchant officer is pretty demanding regarding the amount of tasks to be completed both in paper work and maintenance of vessel’s needs; the life can be hard because you are away from your family and friends. You must learn to leave with it.
S4S: What is the biggest challenge that you have to face on board?
Capt. E.K.: The challenges on board a vessel are truly unlimited ,but in my opinion the biggest challenge is to manage your team in a way that they will be bonded and oriented towards safety and maximum performance at their duties.
S4S: What is your piece of advice to fellow crew members onboard?
Capt. E.K.: The life at sea is becoming truly more demanding every day in all aspects. My advice to fellow crew is to be patient and passioned at their job, if you do not love your job you can not do it correctly a master has told me once, this applies 100% at this job.
S4S: What inspires you every day onboard?
Capt. E.K.: The only inspiration of an officer on board is the satisfaction that you feel when you see that all your efforts have a great result.
S4S: What has been the most extraordinary thing that you have experienced on board?
Capt. E.K.: The experiences of a life at sea is all unique and one of kind, one of the most extraordinary is when i encountered a hurricane force weather near the south Japan sea, you understand how small people are against the nature’s force.
S4S: What is the one thing that should change to make life better on board?
Capt. E.K.: The life at sea will be hard because of its nature, but with the progress of technology and wellbeing, the life of people who work at sea is becoming more pleasant. If the employment contracts where more flexible( months on board – months ashore)with continuous salary would be a pleasant change.
S4S: What piece of advice would you give to someone thinking a career at sea?
Capt. E.K.: A person who thinks to start working at sea must examine the true nature of work before taking final decision, the marine working environment is pretty demanding stressful.To overcome the difficulties you must be determined to succeed.
S4S: What do you miss the most about your seagoing experience?
Capt. E.K.: What i miss most from my seagoing experience is the feeling of excitement that i was experiencing when the vessel was approaching a port that was new to my eyes, all the manoeuvring routine to new unknown ports was very interesting for me because is the very nature of this job.
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.