|Maersk Welkin renamed to Hoegh Chiba|
It was tough at the start, the deliberations were intense, the screening and the pre-employment process was very rigid. He even went to Singapore, and took the Leadership Assessment Course as the final determinant of his qualifications despite the 15 yrs of command experience. With God's grace, all goes well and after a year of service with the company, his family became eligible to sail with him.
He was in command of a two year old very modern car ship when I first visited him in Laemchabang, Thailand last September 30, 2008. It was the first time, I saw him doing a perfect 360 degrees turn, as the vessel gets to maneuver alongside due to the restrictions in the ramp location. It was fixed at the vessel's starboard side, so she needed to dock , starboard side always. I was impressed how well they did it. I was waiting for them at the dock for almost two hours , watching and observing how other vessels maneuvered docking, but it took them a while to made fast the vessel in the port. Indeed, it takes a very good pilot to do that, an A1 Master , a competent crew and reliable bow thrusters (fore and aft), to make it easy to dock swiftly in between two vessels in port. I beamed with pride as the wife to the man in command hearing the dock workers praised their quick made fast.
As a family, we endeavored to work as a team. Every undertaking is a collaborative effort, putting God at the center of our relationship, guiding our souls, as the Captain enriches the family's welfare, the Engineer nourishes the emotional and physical well - being of the family.
Having two Chinese lady cadets on board, for their on the job training made me realized, that the seafaring profession today is much kinder to the opposite sex. It has now fully opened its doors to lady shipboard executives. The Third Officer on board was an Indian national who is a permanent resident in Singapore. She impressed me, on how well she delivered her job and hubby concurred to my observations. The lady cadets were coping up well with the work load in a man's world but were quite handicapped with the English language and needed mentoring.
It is always a challenge to every seafaring professional who worked with multi-national companies under the shipboard leadership of Officers of mixed nationalities. They must show their best in the performance of their duties, because the pressure is multiplied, if you came from a third world country rubbing elbows against your foreign counterparts.
The Filipino Sr. Officers in the company today are still trying to prove their mettle by way of good performance vis a vis their Asian and European colleagues, who were ahead of them in terms of employment with the company and are known for their good command of the English language both in written and oral form, modesty aside. However, the adventure continues and the badge of honor goes not to the one that holds the seniority in the service, or the fluency of the English language but to the ones who consistently endeavor to "do" their job at the best of their abilities, from the terms and conditions set forth in their employment contract, at God's will, weather permitting, and in the attitude shown on how well they can manage every situation that arises when confronted with professional challenges while on board.
The condensed and edited version of this article was featured in www.philstar.com on August 12, 2010, ''Share your Story" contest under the category: Relatives of Overseas Filipinos entitled '' The Search is Over" http://www.philstar.com/community/article201005.aspx?articleId=602051&publicationSubCategoryId=503
Eigh Chuahu Tiu is a loving wife to a Filipino Master Mariner working with AP Moller Maersk-Singapore, a Chemical Engineer by profession, a doting mother, a caring sister, daughter and friend, blooming where she's planted. Loves the sea but hates the sun. Business and Travelling are her passion, swimming,dancing, singing and writing are her therapy to life's never ending challenges.