Our ‘Seafarer Stories’ new column will host seafarers’ views who will 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. Georgios Athinaios, Master of MV Desert Challenger who works with the Atlantic Bulk Carrier Management Ltd since 2001.
Capt Georgios explains that becoming a captain was a dream career since he was a child. Every day at sea is a challenge, he notes and advises fellow crew members to feel the ship like their home and the crew like their family. His experience so far has made him to show respect to different people cultures. Also, he highlights the importance of crew mental health and happiness and that contract time onboard should be maximized on all types of ships.
SAFETY4SEA: What do you love the most out of your career at sea?
Capt. Georgios Athinaios: First of all, the career at sea was a dream of my life. Since I was a child, when someone asked me that what career I like to follow then I had one answer only, “a captain”. I love to visit many places around in the world in order to meet different cultures of people. As well as , I love that through my job at sea I contribute to the transportation of goods around our planet.
S4S: What have you learned over the course of your career at sea?
Capt. G.A.: I learned how to respect the humanity, the environment and the diversity of peoples’ culture. In additional, I learned that how difficult is to manage a closed communion with different cultures between us at sea and the voice contact with the land through a telephone only.
S4S: How would you describe your daily life at sea/ work in a few words?
Capt. G.A.: Every day when I wake up I say to myself that must keeping the ship and crew safe and happy. At daily basis, I fill the time with my responsibilities and duty work. During my free time I contact with family in order to give me power for the next day at sea. I try to pass a good time with my officers and crew in order to “break” the daily routine at sea. As you know, we have not multi choice activities on board and I want my crew to be stand together in order to avoid the loneliness of cabin.
S4S: What is the biggest challenge that you have to face on board?
Capt. G.A.: Every day at sea is a challenge…. One of the biggest was that we crossed the North Atlantic Ocean under extreme bad weather and sea conditions. I remember the waves height were 8 to 9 meters and the ship’s speed 4 knots… For 4 days nobody sleep and eat due to vessel’s rolling and pitching. But the biggest was when my daughters called me with video call and they said me that they need me at home. I was in middle of the ocean and could not react of this challenge.
S4S: What is your piece of advice to fellow crew members onboard?
Capt. G.A.: I advise them to love this special job and to respect all the crewmembers. As well as, they must felling the ships same as their homes. The crew must be family and the ship our home.
S4S: What inspires you every day onboard?
Capt. G.A.: Crew mental health and happiness..And a daily “we love you dad” from my daughters…
S4S: What has been the most extraordinary thing that you have experienced on board?
Capt. G.A.: One of the most amazing things was when I received a newly built ship as captain. Despite the difficulties and the workload of getting a newly built ship is one of the greatest experiences a sailor can live. You know, the newly built ship is like having a newborn and have to make her stand on her feet slowly, safely and with pride.
S4S: What is the one thing that should change to make life better on board?
Capt. G.A.: The contract time onboard. 4 months should be maximized on all types of ships. Seasons and requirements as well as seafarers have changed.
S4S: What piece of advice would you give to someone thinking a career at sea?
Capt. G.A.: If he does not love the sea then it is better to choose another profession.
S4S: What do you miss the most about your seagoing experience?
Capt. G.A.: The family and some simple habits of life on land. We miss simple things that may be obvious to you. For example, a coffee in hand and a walk in a square.
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.