Chief Officer

Posted by in At sea

The last year or so, I was not very active on my blog and there was a good reason for that: promotion to Chief Officer. It was a rather big step forward for me and it demanded all my attention leaving not enough time and motivation for writing on the blog.
Now, for the first time in many months, the ship has dropped the anchor and has to wait a few days before entering the port. This quiet time – anchoring usually is less stressful than sailing – allows me to clarify a common misconception and attempt to explain what the new rank actually means.

The Dutch word for officer is stuurman which literally means the man steering. But to the surprise of many, that is not what my work consists of at all, at least not literally. However in a figurative way, it makes perfect sense; the Chief Officer is leading the nautical department and therefore steering day to day activities on deck. Management is a completely new aspect of my work now, but there are more new responsibilites, most important all work related to the cargo. Stability calculations, planning, loading, discharging, cooling down the gas, it is all done under the Chief Officer’s supervision.

On a ship as large as the Odin, the Chief Officer is not involved in the navigation of the ship. Only during arrival and departure, I assist the Captain and the Pilot on the bridge. Apart from routine work, every working day comes with it’s own challenges. It may be maintenance related to cargo machinery or the lifeboats, but also administrative tasks such as ordering spare parts for example.

That is my work explained in a nutshell, the great diversity makes every day different and it is certainly never boring! But the variety makes it also really difficult to summarise it here, so I will zoom in on certain aspects of the job in other, dedicated posts in the future.