Our ‘Seafarer Stories’ new 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. Capt Dimitrios I. Giannakis, Master of LNG/c Maran Gas Asclepius who works with Maran Dry Management since 2013.
Capt. Dimitrios says that being a captain is a dynamic and challenging work since the captain is responsible for crew’s performance and at the same their leader and mentor. He advises fellow crew members to take care of their mental and physical health while on duty and highlights that shore leave remains a great problem since all crew usually stay on board during port stay due to many reasons.
SAFETY4SEA: What do you love the most out of your career at sea?
Capt. Dimitrios Giannakis: Since I can remember my self at sea, I love watching sunrise and sunset, because sunrise gives hope that a new day is rising and during sunset, you can sit back and analyze what went sideways, in order to become wiser for the next day.
S4S: What have you learned over the course of your career at sea?
Capt. D.G.: During my service on board, from the very beginning, I learn to respect and understand the Great Lady (The Sea and general the Marine Environment), due to the fact that, when nature crawls out, everybody else remain silent!
S4S: How would you describe your daily life at sea/ work in a few words?
Capt. D.G.: Being a Captain on a Gas Tanker , is not like i.e. an office job, it’s a dynamic and challenging work environment, so the only thing you can do, is to wake up in the morning, schedule yours and your crew’s daily tasks, and just hope for the best.
S4S: What is the biggest challenge that you have to face on board?
Capt D.G.: Apart from the Great Lady mentioned before , I believe the biggest challenge on board is to extract of each individual crew member’s best performance , by coaching and mentoring every single day , in order to become better and better, additionally to enhance team spirit onboard!
S4S: What is your piece of advice to fellow crew members onboard?
Capt. D.G.: My piece of advice is to take care of themselves, physically and mentally, in order to get back safe and intact to their loved ones, to preserve their wellbeing, as their family needs back the same person that left them behind few months ago…
S4S: What has been the most extraordinary thing that you have experienced on board?
Capt D.G.: Back in May 2016 , serving as Chief Mate, our vessel ‘’Maran Gas Posidonia’’ engaged in Search & Rescue operation , 350 NE of Mauritius Island, at Indian Ocean. We received a distress Message that, 5 Mauritians where in trouble, so we search for them in the middle of the night, finally succeeded to rescue them from certain sinking pleasure craft. The first survivor getting onboard our ship, grabbed my arm and looked at me like with extreme gratitude telling me that he will never forget my face. This feeling of saving lives at sea, is extraordinary indeed and I will never forget as well.
S4S: What is the one thing that should change to make life better on board?
Capt. D.G.: A great problem on board is shore leave. Most of the times, all crew stay on board during port stay, either because the port does not allow shore leave, or the time of vessel staying at port is very limited, and / or port activities are extremely demanding. This is a very important issue for all crew, because as humans, they don’t have time at all to socialize themselves or just make a walk, spending some time out of the daily ship routines.
S4S: What piece of advice would you give to someone thinking a career at sea?
Capt. D.G.: I would say to go ahead and give it a try without second thoughts, only and only then, he will know if he can manage to pursuit a career at sea!
S4S: What do you miss the most about your seagoing experience?
Capt. D.G.: Of course what I miss most on board is my family , my two young boys Giannis and Grigoris and of course my beloved wife Rodoula, who has being always there for me and support me to achieve my targets.
The views presented hereabove are only those of the author and not necessarily those of SAFETY4SEA and are for information sharing and discussion purposes only.