SAFETY4SEA: What do you love the most out of your career at sea?
Capt. Maria Koliou: What I love most about my job is that travel, like love, expresses an attempt to turn the dream into reality, a dream that never stops. The feeling of freedom I experienced on my voyages, the secret destinations that each seafarer discovers. I have seen more than I can remember, watching the endless blue sea creates nostalgic moments, but also pride that in the oceans I sail, people from ancient times sailed.
S4S: What have you learned over the course of your career at sea?
Capt. M.K: Ι have learnt to share my time, my experiences and to cooperate and communicate with people with different cultures, different beliefs, far away from home, with colleagues who needed my help and I theirs. To be patient controlling my feelings even if I was exhausted, tired and homesick. To enjoy and appreciate each moment in my life, good and bad moments taking nothing for granted.
S4S: How would you describe your daily life at sea/ work in a few words?
Capt. M.K.: My daily life is adventurous but demanding I have to expect the unexpected, many factors could change my day. I am on watch duty twice a day, which includes responsibilities such as safe navigation, voyage planning, and simultaneously coordinating vessels operations. My secondary duty is maintenance on-board in cooperation with the sailors when at sea, approaching or departing from ports.
S4S: What is the biggest challenge that you have to face on board?
Capt. M.K.: Every contract I sign is a new adventure, the biggest challenge is being far away from my family and friends, something one never gets used to. However, I would not change anything as sharing my new experiences with family is a wonderful feeling but it makes you realise how important it is to spend quality time with family and friends.
S4S: What is your piece of advice to fellow crew members on board?
Capt. M.K.: My advice to fellow crew members is face each challenge with determination because each challenge you overcome makes you stronger, open to changes and in general more innovative. The challenges and problems will seem smaller which, of course changes your state of mind, it makes you stronger, more optimistic and calm.
S4S: What inspires you every day on board?
Capt. M.K.: On a daily basis I am inspired by the crew members around me, they help me adapt, to improve my knowledge and my skills. Coming into contact and inhabiting with so many people from different cultures and nationalities on board is something that has what changed my attitude and my point of view on diverse matters.
S4S: What has been the most extraordinary thing that you have experienced on board?
Capt. M.K.: The most extraordinary event I experienced on board was a rescue operation, in which we saved 18 lives at sea after an on board explosion occurred, causing a ship fire. I felt useful, I provided help in such a critical situation where each second and decision counted. Each member of the crew showed heroism, virtue and self-sacrifice, but the best feeling was the gratitude of those saved.
S4S: What is the one thing that should change to make life better on board?
Capt. M.K.: Life on board has difficulties on a daily basis which reflects on the crew. Plenty changes have been made over the last years in order to improve life on board. Ships have been modernized, technology and facilities have changed the life of thousands of seafarers. One thing we could change on board is our personal attitude to make the life of seafarers better.
S4S: What piece of advice would you give to someone thinking a career at sea?
Capt. M.K.: My advice for someone who is thinking of a career at sea, is to do so without a second thought. The only thing he/she has to do is to overcome all ones fears, doubts and insecurities. Just accept the challenge and take a step towards an adventure which will be an experience of a lifetime.
S4S: What do you miss the most about your seagoing experience?
Capt. M.K.: What I miss most about my seagoing experience is the sound of the sea, the view of the endless blue of the sea and the sky, the smell of freedom and the taste of salt. In a few words, all my memories created on my voyages which have become a major part of me.
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.