Seafarer Stories: Capt.Darjan Kopajtic, Chief Officer

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. Darjan Kopajtic who has been working with CMA CGM since 2012. Capt. Kopajtic says that working at sea provides a unique experience; nonetheless this career has many responsibilities and is fulfilled with pressure and stress from the very first till day crew sign off.


SAFETY4SEA: What do you love the most out of your career at sea?

Capt. Darjan Kopajtic: Seeing different places on earth, meeting different people and different cultures is  upgrading my personality and changes the view of life in general. Those are the biggest benefits I find.


S4S: What have you learned over the course of your career at sea?

Capt. D.K.: I’ve learned that nowadays people are being focused too much on money, letting simple and free life joys slip away too easily. Once you spend several months at sea, separated from your loving ones, missing the basic everyday happenings at home, you get the wider picture of what life should like. But unfortunately life is writing a completely different story forcing all of us to a constant money chase.


S4S: How would you describe your daily life at sea/ work in a few words?

Capt. D.K.: To be honest more or less all days spent at sea look alike. As we like to say onboard “every day is Monday”…i think this might be the best description i can find. Everybody knows what Mondays look like…anywhere in the world.


S4S: What is the biggest challenge that you have to face on board?

Capt. D.K.: Running the ship on a daily basis is challenging enough. But from my point of view the biggest task is to keep the crew morale and performance on the desired level, which is not easy considering that some of them spend 10 + months on board. So it’s easy to do the maths now: 9 -10 months of ‘Mondays’ ..try to imagine that and deal with it!


S4S: What is your piece of advice to fellow crew members onboard?

Capt. D.K.: It might sound as a “cliche” but safety of your own is the most important thing. As we all do, just think  of your loving ones waiting for you to come back home. People are constantly being briefed and warned about safety by many different means but the routine in our or any other job is the biggest enemy which never sleeps. Always think about safety in every task you perform on board!


S4S: What is the one thing that should change to make life better on board?

Capt. D.K.: First of all it should be the length of the contract, shorter of course in my opinion, but it is very difficult to make everybody happy I know. Second thing would be reducing the constant commercial pressure we are being exposed to…regardless the vessel type.


S4S: What piece of advice would you give to someone thinking a career at sea?

Capt. D.K.: This is a very nice career generally speaking but it’s fulfilled with pressure and stress from the very first till day we sign off. Huge responsibility lies on our back but again this is being compensated with money we make. One more important thing …merchant navy is still let’s say a half – military system, so be well prepared for such a thing prior making the final step & choosing this career…trust me, it’s not for everyone.


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.

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