PROFESSIONAL CONVERSION FOR SEAFARERS ‚Äď WHAT CAN YOU WORK ASHORE?

Every sailor has thought at least once during his career to quit sailing but many have been discouraged by the grim prospects of hiring ashore, especially in their home countries, in my case Romania. For seafarers, a professional conversion is a a much greater challenge than for others. It implies not just a change of job but also your changing your entire lifestyle.

It’s easy to think through out your contract on the ship about all those harbor workers you meet when the ship is in port and can’t help not to feel a little envy towards them. They finish their shift at regular times (more or less) and than go home to be welcomed by their families and sleep in their own bed with their wives. In the mean time, you just go 2 decks up to a small cabin where you have to rest quickly because you have to be back on deck for work after just 6 hours. On that deck you have to spend at least 4 to 5 months more before you will ever see your home and family again. For some, the decision not to pursue this kind of life, was taken as early as during their first voyage at sea. I remember clearly a cadet on the ship who decided after 5 months on board that this is not the life he wants to pursue and that he will never come back on a ship again. I kept in touch with him, and the boy kept his word. For others it took more than that, I was more persistent and after trying different companies and different types of ships, I took the decision explained in my article “After six years at sea” to quit. I really felt fed up with it and decided to make a change. Pursuing a career at sea was not giving me any satisfaction so there was no point in doing this…

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After six years at sea

After six years of life at sea all I’ve got to show for it are a lot of white hairs, a car, a plot of land, a few good and plenty of bad memories. I dedicate this article to all young people who are considering a career and life at sea.

I did my first six months voyage in 2010, during my last year at the naval academy and I was among the lucky few who caught a cadet contract during the academy years…. Now that I think about it, I was among the lucky few from my class who caught a cadet contract at all.

I was happy and excited when I first left. This was my first grand adventure in life, the first time I was leaving home for such a long period, the first time I was going across the ocean to America and on my plane ticket was written Los Angeles. Los Angeles I didn’t get to see that time,  I only saw the highway from the airport to the ship. This turned out to be the usual case unfortunately. The enthusiasm vanished in less than a week, when I realized that I would spend the next six months sleeping in a narrow bed, in a narrow cabin, on a ship with a narrow deck, where everybody abuses you, where you work absolutely every day and where everyone only cares about their own skin.

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Colegiul Nautic de la Bucuresti de 1 an jumate / Bucharest Nautical College

[english version below]

Cum stateam azi noapte cu ochii beliti in monitor tastand ca disperatul in graba ca sa-mi termin odata proiectu de licenta , aud la radio One fm (culmea) ce rula pe fundal o reclama interesanta de genul : ” Vrei o cariera serioasa si banoasa ca ofiter in marina comerciala …bla bla… in doar UN AN SI 8 LUNI” la Colegiul Nautic , ceva nu se leaga , nu are cum , noi (eu si toti studentii de la academia navala + UMC) tragem ca fraierii 4 ani , aia mai ghinionisti 5 ani , invatam o gramada foarte mare de materii de genu matematici , fizici , chimie , rezistenta materialelor ,electromecanica, mecanica fluidelor, teoria sistemelor automate wtf ¬† … care nu au absolut nici cea mai mica legatura cu navigatia , si mai grav in opinia mea , materiile care chiar iti trebuie la nava se marginalizeaza , nepunandu-se accent pe ele. Am intrat pe site-ul colegiului nautic (http://colegiulnautic.ro) si am vazut un vis indeplinit in fata ochilor ….dar prea tarziu din pacate.

Descrierea la Colegiul Nautic suna ceva de genu : “√én ultimii ani a devenit tot mai evident faptul cńÉ majoritatea competen»õelor de inginer diferńÉ esen»õial de competen»õele de ofi»õer de punte prevńÉzute de STCW, sistemul rom√Ęnesc actual for»õ√Ęnd supracalificarea cursan»õilor. […….]

Planul de √ģnvńÉ»õńÉm√Ęnt, avizat de cńÉtre Autoritatea Navala cu documentul nr. 6880/13.05.2010, cuprinde doar disciplinele care au impact asupra comepeten»õelor impuse de conven»õia STCW »ôi se deruleazńÉ pe parcursul a 20 de luni (un an si 8 luni). La finalizarea acestei perioade de studii teoretice, studentii primesc diploma de ofi»õer de punte maritim. Posesia acestei diplome dńÉ dreptul titularului de a se prezenta la Autoritatea NavalńÉ Rom√ĘnńÉ pentru examinare √ģn vederea ob»õinerii brevetului de ofi»õer de punte maritim, cu drepturi egale cu absolven»õii celor douńÉ universitńÉ»õi constńÉn»õene.”

Este cat se poate de adevarat fiecare cuvant de acolo , scuza oficiala pentru care ne baga noua pe gat atatea materii este ca primim si o diploma de inginer naval …. pe care cu foarte putine exceptii nimanui nu ii trebuie acea diploma de inginer , in proportie de 90% studentii care vin la ANMB sau UMC vor sa fie navigatori. Daca vroiam sa fiu inginer naval mergeam la Ovidius la inginerie navala unde oamenii de acolo studiaza exact aceleasi materii ca noi.

Stau acum si imi imaginez cum ar fi fost sa ma fi nascut 4 ani mai tarziu , mergeam acum la o facultate noua cu dotari de ultima ora unde invatam exact ce imi trebuie , cu accentul pe acele materii care iti trebuie ; studiam la Bucuresti ce imi place , profitand de viata de noapte excelenta pentru studenti dar na asta e ,pentru generatia mea nu are rost sa mai schimbam ceva ,dar pentru viitori doritori de navigatie le doresc mult succes la aceasta noua facultate.

Vedeti de asemenea si pagina de Fb GarciaCalavera.ro  , care daca va place ii puteti da un like.

Check out other Expat living articles: Ghidul imigrantului de mutare in Franta ,  Primele 48 de zile in Franta ca expat

vezi si alte articole din Romania: La revedere Romania – primele 48 de zile in Franta ,¬†¬†Poze unice cu ce a fost Constanta in 1991 , ¬†Macel spatiu verde Constanta, ¬†Dupa sase ani pe mare , ¬†Cursuri IMO 2016 sau jefuirea navigatorilor¬†,¬†Vizita medicala obligatorie – o surpriza placuta¬†, ¬†Legea fumatului in Romania – greseala majora¬†,¬†Propaganda ridicola a Constantei¬†,¬†RATC Constanta- o mare rusine a orasului¬†,¬†Cu masina la service¬†,¬†¬†ANR – SSO Endorsement¬†;¬†¬†Trenuletul din parcul Tabacarie¬†,¬†Abuzul Vodafone¬†,¬†¬†Mafia Navigatorilor¬†;Brevet ofiter punte 2011- cat a ajuns toata afacerea; ¬†Legi locale¬†,¬†Taxi Constanta¬†,¬†Birocratia 2¬†,¬†Black Friday¬†,¬†Policlinica 2¬†,¬†ANR Bucuresti¬†,¬†Bancile in RO¬†,¬†Let’s do it Romania -But why?¬†,¬†Rovinieta in oras¬†,¬†Inmatriculare auto¬†,¬†Aviz psihologic¬†,¬†Proiecte abandonate dupa ’89 de incompetenti¬†¬† ,¬†Sea service cadet¬†,¬†Joburile in RO¬†,¬†TVA-ul

Vezi si alte calatorii / Check out other trips: The London Week РUK , Saint Tropez РFranta ,  Circuit Romania Р7 zile cu masina, Budapesta cu masina , Praga Рvacanta de vis , Excursie Dobrogea: Enisala, Ibida, Histria , Vacanta Madrid , Doua zile in Jacksonville USA,  Paralia РGrecia cu masina,  Brasov 12.2014 ,  Buzau quick stop ,  Lepsa & Vrancea county ,  Chisinau ,  Nesebar ,  Bucharest weekends 2014 , Busan ,  40 de zile in Cluj Napoca ,  Hunedoara Castle ;  Singapore 2013 ,  Brasov 02.2014 , Istanbul 01.2014 , Cluj Napoca 08.2013 , Sibiu 07.2013 ,  San Pedro-Africa , Bucharest 2013 , Varna 2012 , Los Angeles 2012 , Budapest & Viena , Salerno , Cluj Napoca 2012 , Florenta , Brasov 02.2012 , Amsterdam , Antofagasta-Chile, Valencia , Lima-Peru , Bremen , Istanbul 2009 , Valletta , San Juan-Puerto Rico , Barcelona , Singapore 2010 , Los Angeles 2010 , Transilvania road trip , La Spezia , Bosphor by ship , Sydney , Melbourne , Auckland ,  San Francisco ,  Tauranga

Alternative tourism: Detroit , Georgia , Burning gate of Turkmenistan , North Korea , Pripyat & the alienation zone   , Nouadhibou graveyard

Cum traieste cealalta jumatate / How the other half lives :  Karachi ,  Guayaquil  , Lagos

ENGLISH

As I stood last night with eyes in the display , typing in a hurry to finish my diploma¬† project , I¬† hear on the radio on one fm that run in the background an interesting ad: “Want a serious career as a officer¬† in the merchant¬† navy… blah blah … in only one year and 8 months” , something is wrong, we¬† (me and all students of the naval academy¬† + UMC) lost like¬† losers four years, those¬† unlucky five years,have to study ¬† a huge pile of classes like¬† mathematics, physics, chemistry, strength of materials, electromechanical, fluid mechanics, the theory of automatic wtf … absolutely not even the slightest connection with navigation, and worse in my opinion really , the classes that¬† you need on board a ship¬† are marginalized, without any¬† emphasis on them. I entered the Shipping College website (http://colegiulnautic.ro) and I saw a dream fulfilled before my eyes …. but unfortunately too late.

They’re Description sounds something like : “In recent years it has become increasingly clear that the majority of engineering skills differ essentially under the STCW deck officer,the current Romanian system¬† forcing the over qualification of the students. [……. ]

Curriculum, endorsed by the Naval Authority with document no. 6880/13.05.2010 includes only subjects that impact the competences  required by the STCW Convention and takes place over 20 months (one year and eight months). Upon completion of this period of theoretical studies, students receive the diploma of marine deck officer. Possession of this diploma entitles the holder to present the Romanian Naval Authority for examination to obtain patent marine deck officer with equal rights with two university graduates from Constanta.

Every word in that description is true , the official excuse for which we study all this shit is that we also receive a Naval Engineering diploma¬† …. a diploma that no student¬† that comes to the academy or Maritime University of Constanta (with few exceptions) needs or wants , we come to this universities to become Naval officers , if i wanted to become an engineer i would have went to Ovidius Naval Engineering College where they study exactly the same stuff like we do.

I now sit and imagine what would have happened if  I was born four years later, I would of  went to a new  private college now where i would have learned exactly the classes that i need in my career , i would have studied in Bucharest in the domain i want , taking advantage of the great student life that is there. For my generation there is no point in changing anything now , but for future high school graduates who wish to become officers in the merchant navy i wish them succes in this new college.