Seafarer Stories: Ciurea Marian, Chief Mate

Chief Mate Ciurea Marian says that being a Captain on a VLCC it is a dynamic work. Among other challenges, the biggest one is to being an inspiration for all your crew at all times. A captain must lead and motivate the crew, to have a positive approach and support them despite all difficulties.

This is why Captain Marian advises everyone to only pursue a career at sea if they are passionate about it. He concludes that if there is passion, results will follow and enthusiasm will increase.

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

Ciurea Marian: At the beginning was travelling. Back in 1995 was still the adventure of seeing the world. Nowadays, with fast loading, off-shore terminals for big vessels, this is not an achievement any longer. Now, I like the NEW BUILDINGS (4 by now, and other conversion of an old vessel). Being a part of the team taking delivery of new vessels from shipyards is what I like most. It gives you the time you need to see and understand other cultures, life style, specifics of the local peoples (mostly East Asian countries, China, Korea, Vietnam, etc), having enough time to observe and learn, directly on their habitat, and not on board, where is less representative due to number and ranks. And the time spent in shipyard gives you the opportunity to see and learn more about the vessels.


S4S: What have you learned over the course of your career at sea?
C.M.: Teamwork is the key word. Working as team, forming a team, and the most, leading a team. I can state that keeping the crew as a Team, was one of my goals at sea. There are various characters on board, and as a Team Leader, you must find the “chemistry” to keep it all together, to understand and mingle every person on board to fit in a bigger over all canvas. And above all, to be able to make the crew understanding the TEAM concept, and acting as such.


S4S: How would you describe your daily life at sea/ work in a few words?
C.M.: Being a Captain on a VLCC it is a dynamic work. You are the interface between Office and Crew, so there is a lot of office like jobs. Then, the navigation part, routes, weather forecast monitoring, the commercial side, reports of all kinds, to Owner, to Charterer and third parties. Then, maintenance planning and supervision, together with department heads. End of the day, or in between, free time, gym, reading a book, watching a movie, talking to family, spending time with other crew members having a chat, playing cards, sharing thoughts…and finally go to bed, ready to start over the next day…


S4S: What is the biggest challenge that you have to face on board?
C.M.: Daily challenge on board I would say is being an inspiration for all your crew. Lead them to a positive approach to their daily challenge. Motivate your crew on a daily basis, mingle and be present among them daily. Support and help them to overpassing their troubles, minimize the negative thoughts of being far from home. In few words, as much as possible keep a compact group living together, since for most of the crew, the time spent on board is at least equal to the time spent at home. So being, we are talking about the vessel as a second home, and as a part of it, be the MENTOR, that all the crew will follow.


S4S: What is your piece of advice to fellow crew members onboard?
C.M.: Well, as all other topics in this questionnaire, the advise cannot be really objective., but individualistic. I would say to everyone, to start, or to continue a life/job at sea only if they really like it. If there is passion, the results will come, and the enthusiasm will increase as well. The benefits counts, but should not be the primary motivation. As many other jobs in the world, if not done with pleasure, enthusiasm, dedication, finally will fail and will not bring any joy but to the end of active period will remain only frustration for performing a life at sea by inertia, driven only by salary. Why? Because without passion, you will not perform always right. And not doing right, will end up by “taxation”. Taxed by the sea, taxed by weather, taxed, by safety aspects on board. Every single aspect of life on board (and at home) will claim a part of “penalty”. Taxed by the crew, taxed by the family, basically almost everything will turn against you sooner or later. So, do it right or not do it at all.


S4S: What inspires you every day onboard?
C.M.: A nice weather, a smiling crew, a clear horizon, and beyond everything a nice clear voice from home, a strong family understanding your absence, a strong wife taking care about everything and making your return home special every single time!


S4S: What has been the most extraordinary thing that you have experienced on board?
C.M.: The most extraordinary day that I have experienced, it was my first day as a Captain, my first day of command. The very first day, when everything on board was on my shoulders, without having anybody on board to whom to report “JOB DONE”. That was the day when I have started receiving all the reports. After that, many other extraordinary things happened on board of various vessels under my command, and thanks God, all the good things superseded the number of situations when clouds, and dark shadows make their way to the life on board.


S4S: What is the one thing that should change to make life better on board?
C.M.: Simple thinks like  standard contracts no longer than 4 months on board, better communication and information opportunities on board, meaning performant and stable data connection both for business and crew use, and, as in the past, for vessel with long transoceanic voyages, a medical assistant on board.
S4S: What piece of advice would you give to someone thinking a career at sea?
C.M.: Do it right or not do it at all


S4S: What do you miss the most about your seagoing experience?
C.M.: With no doubts time spent with family. Most of time, this is price paid for freedom at sea. Everyone will decide whether is worthy or not. Asking my again, I will do the same.


The views presented hereabove are only those of the author and do not necessarily those of  SAFETY4SEA and are for information sharing and discussion  purposes only.

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