In May 2018, the Goldenport (Group) celebrated an important occasion: a new office was (inaugurated) in Odessa. All those who were directly involved in the company’s activities in Ukraine gathered at the appointed time at 7 Nekrasova Lane: top managers, heads of business units, (Βank representitives), Greek Councul, human resources managers and the crew department staff. Discussion of business issues, drawing up the intermediate results, analysis of the current situation and planning the strategy for the future — all this momentarily took first place, but soon this gave way to the main event: opening of the new office which is waiting for seafarers and is ready for active and effective work.
The official part of the event was started by the president and the founder of the Goldenport Group, Captain Paris Dragnis. «Ukraine became a part of my life a long time ago and today the crewmembers of our ships are mainly staffed by Ukrainian seafarers. It seems to me that we have an excellent alliance: the company has an opportunity to hire professionals and professionals therefore have a chance to receive worthy material remuneration for their work», he said. For Captain Paris Dragnis the Goldenport Group is not only a business but also a family tradition: both his sons have long been working for the Group and today each of them heads one of the key divisions. «It’s quite expected that my grandchildren will continue to run the business in the future. According to long-term practice, the merging of family tradition and business interests leads to an incredibly successful result», Captain Dragnis commented on the business model.
Goldenport has been employing Ukrainian seafarers since its foundation in 1998, and from 2012 Oceangold Odessa commenced operation, with the tanker division office of the Oceangold Tankers company being founded in 2007. Today about 1,500 Ukrainians work on board company’s Vessels.
According to the commercial director of Oceangold Tankers, Mr. Vassilis Dragnis, the main requirements for the employment of Ukrainian seafarers are fluent English and a high level of professionalism. «Oceangold ships have mixed crews: the officers are Ukrainians, and ratings are Filipinos. New vessels offering revised increased wage scheme with bonuses over and above. Revised attracting full contact with a shipowner. Recently we ordered four MR (DWT 50,000) product tankers at STX South Korea. Those vessels will be delivered to our management from January up to June 2019. Apart from above mentioned two more New vessels, will be delivered July and August 2019 LR2 (DWT 113,500) DAEHAN Shipyards in South Korea. All new vessels comply with the standards set by IMO», he stated.
Vasilis Dragnis said that the company follows on tankers, the OCIMF Crew Qualification Matrix principle in crew formation. There are some difficulties with that system, «But when you have a lot of newly-built ships, you are able to maintain a large pool of loyal officers something that simplifies the compliance with matrix principle. We hope that the work in Ukraine will be effective and our seafarer staff will be expanded with the Ukrainians.»
As Mr. Vasilis Dragnis also pointed out, the office at Nekrasova Lane was opened first of all for reasons of seafarer convenience: it is easy to get to the city centre from any district. «There are spacious rooms for training and this will be one of our main focus areas. […] we are the owners of this building and this underlines the absolute seriousness of our intentions: by investing in real estate in Ukraine we count on long-term and promising work in this country», he concluded.
The company’s plans for long-term and promising work in Ukraine are confirmed by one more fact: Goldenport Group established a cadetship program many years ago and has successfully developed it. What can be more telling than this focus on future generations of seafarers and the desire to train up new officers on their ships? According to Cpt. Vassilios Leousis, crew manager of Oceangold Tankers, there are consistently more than 40 cadets on 10 of the company’s tankers and most of them students of «Odessa Maritime Academy». One of the cadets Dmytro Petrov, who was employed after completing the cadetship program, is now the first from the cadet program that will be promoted to Chief Officer position on company’s tanker fleet. «Within the cadetship program, the main emphasis is on motivation and maintaining a seafarer’s personal growth. We demonstrate explicitly our interest that the seafarer doesn’t leave the company. We appreciate him as a specialist and are ready to provide him with overall support», Cpt. Vassilios Leousis said.
«We prefer to invest in the young generation. During the cadet choice there is no priority: an engine-room or a deck-bridge. The main things are strong English language skills, knowledge of computer technologies and the desire to make seafaring your career», Mr. Nikolaos Kokkinos said, crew manager of Goldenport Shipmanagement Ltd. Goldenport also hires specialists for work on passenger yachts, however, in this case it is not about the crew, but about the staff: first of all, stewards and stewardesses are employed.
Both key divisions of Goldenport Group, Goldenport Odessa and Oceangold Odessa, work from the new spacious office at the corner of Preobrazhenskaya Street and Nekrasova Lane. This cleverly designed space allows receiving seafarers seeking employment in comfortable conditions. A well-equipped training room for seafarers of all ranks makes it possible to hold training, seminars, advanced courses – upon which the company’s successful and effective activities directly depend.