From Cadet to Officer: the More Experience One Has the More Interesting Work Gets

Ivan Kuruch, graduate of Maritime College of Technical Fleet of the National University “Odessa Maritime Academy”, is just beginning to build his seafarer’s career. He has completed two voyages as a cadet, and next stage was signing a contract with Peter Doehle for a voyage as a junior officer. The seafarer told The Professional Seafarer Newspaper about his current life and plans for the future.

Professional Seafarer: Please tell us about your first voyage as a cadet? What kind of vessel did you work on? Was it difficult?
Ivan Kuruch: I joined my first vessel – a container ship Hammonia Grenada, 4.500 TEU, as a junior deck cadet. Yes, certainly during the first voyage it was very hard to adjust, both mentally and morally. I remember my first week there very well. But gradually I got used to the routine. Some time ago I decided to become a seafarer because I dreamed of seeing the world, and my first voyage provided such an opportunity: new countries, international crew and new impressions… I did my best not to abandon my English studies and used every chance to practice it. At the same time I learnt everything associated with my speciality. Today I feel grateful when recollecting my first voyage. Everything was great: the crew, the company and the ship.      

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Professional Seafarer: Was it difficult at the job interview? Many cadets are afraid of tests…
Ivan Kuruch: I can’t say the interview was easy. I didn’t have any job experience, so I was nervous and full of fear. Tests deal with speciality-related matters and English skills. One must remember that. Standard questions for deck cadets at the interview are about one’s knowledge of COLREG, International Conventions, International Code of Signals and their meaning, wheel orders, mooring orders, mooring and navigation equipment, IALA, ship structure, minimum knowledge of GMDSS. Certainly, one must get ready for an interview. If you study hard and are confident in your knowledge, it will have an effect on your results. It is important to show you have serious academic training and not to feel embarrassed about lack of experience. Any seafarer starts from this stage: going to crewing agencies, filling in application forms, having job interviews. The most important thing is to show you really want to work and are ready to learn.   

Professional Seafarer: What vessels do you work on? Would you like to try your hand working on a different type of vessels?
Ivan Kuruch: At the moment I work on container ships. Wages are moderate, but I think container ships are the future of the shipping industry. A lot of innovative solutions have been implemented lately, super-modern vessels are launched from shipyards, and I like it that I have found myself in this segment.  

Professional Seafarer: What countries have you visited and which did you like best? What have you seen?
Ivan Kuruch: My dreams have come true. I am just starting my career as a seafarer, and yet I have already visited many countries. During my two voyages I visited China, Hong Kong, South Korea, Singapore, Malaysia, Sri-Lanka, India, Iran, Pakistan, UAE, and Qatar. I liked it best in Singapore and South Korea: I was impressed by mentality, culture and friendliness of the people there.   

Professional Seafarer: You are a young seafarer. What is your advice to cadets wishing to get a promotion quickly? What qualities are essential and what should they work on?   
Ivan Kuruch: I guess my advice may sound like a cliché, but based on my humble experience, I can say the following: don’t be lazy, learn English, don’t be afraid of challenges and perfect your job skills. If you have a chance to learn something new and gain new experience, don’t waste it. Look into things, ask and learn. Everything comes with experience, and when you have experience, work gets easier and more interesting.