A one-day introductory LPG carrier course was held at the National University “Odessa Maritime Academy” on 14th June 2018. The event for cadets and active seafarers was held by representatives of the Greek company Naftomar Shipping & Trading Co Ltd. The participants were introduced in detail to the peculiarities of work on LPG ships and told about the history of gas carriers, the classification of cargo types, the methods of carrying out loading and unloading operations and the safety measures on vessels of this type.
The delegation included the operations and crew manager of Naftomar, Ghamraoui Jad and deputy crew manager Karafotia Mara. Captain Jad explained the specifics of the vessels very intelligibly; his speech was prepared with the target audience in mind and all present listened to the details and nuances of the report with great interest. Captain Jad emphasized that gas carriers today are the elite of the fleet, the most complex and interesting ships to work on. To become a member of the crew of such a vessel, you need in-depth knowledge. It is extremely important for future seafarers to begin accumulating the necessary knowledge from the first years of study. That is why the Naftomar management decided to hold this course in Odessa, within the walls of “OMA” – alma mater of many professionals on LPG ships.
Despite the intensive programme, Captain Jad was able to answer several questions from a Professional seafarer.
The Professional seafarer: Tell us about the purpose of your visit to Ukraine, please.
Captain Jad: We traditionally cooperate with Ukraine, and this partnership is already 25 years old. This time, my main goal is to launch the process of preparation and further selection of cadets and junior officers for our ships. Our fleet has more than 25 vessels, and we are interested in qualified personnel. If other companies pay cadets on average $ 500 per month, we can offer them $ 1,200. Since the beginning of this year, we have already recruited 25 cadets in various specialities such as deck, engine and electrical.
The Professional seafarer: How many Ukrainian seafarers work on your ships?
Captain Jad: About 80% of the crew members of Naftomar vessels are Ukrainian citizens. There are crews where ordinary positions are occupied by Filipinos, and the officers are Ukrainian. There are also fully Ukrainian crews.
The Professional seafarer: Nowadays in Ukraine, people often talk about sailors being abandoned abroad, cases of non-payment of salaries and poor working conditions. Who is responsible for the labour conditions for seamen in your company?
Captain Jad: I am responsible for these issues as crew manager and manager of MLC, and I can give you a 100% guarantee that Naftomar adheres strictly to the level regarded by the market as A+. All seafarers working on our ships receive their wages on time, and this is an advantage of our company. I have been working at Naftomar for 24 years, and during this time I do not remember a single complaint about non-payment of salaries.
The Professional seafarer: What advice would you give to seafarers who want to work on your company’s ships?
Captain Jad: Working on LPG ships is a good decision. These are the ships of the future; this is the highest level in the classification of ships. With this in mind, I recommend that sailors come to work for us. The company is serious, stable and has its own traditions. It is very important for a seafarer to start his career in a serious company. Having a strong knowledge base obtained over five years of study at the academy, the sailor will have a 100% impact, not only in material terms but also with regard to involvement in general business processes.
The Professional seafarer: Could you share the company’s future plans?
Captain Jad: Of course! Our plans are to expand. Over the last 10 years, we have taken on 11 new buildings and we will build four or five new ships over the next three years. We are a reliable and safe company, and we do not invest in ships for no reason. Our company has just updated the fleet with four vessels of the VLGC class, and we are ready to buy even more ships in the future, focusing on market demands.
Since the beginning of massive natural gas production on the continental shelves, the most important question for industry representatives has been how to deliver gas from the extraction sites to consumers that are hundreds and thousands of miles away. That is why gas-to-liquid technology and subsequent transportation by gas-carrier ships was very quickly developed and introduced. Since the launch of the first such vessel, the design, construction, equipment and refitting of gas carriers has become a separate industry. Today, there are many companies in the world specializing in the transportation of liquefied natural gas. Naftomar is one of the leaders in this segment.
Two years ago, the company, headquartered in Athens, celebrated its 40th anniversary. “These forty years have not been just a stretch of time, they have represented a period of constant and successful development”, emphasized one of the guests of the seminar, captain of seagoing ships Vladimir Tatyanchenko, who has been working at Naftomar since 1992. “Over the past seven years, seven new vessels were built for the company, against a backdrop of complex economic circumstances in the shipbuilding and shipping industries. This again underscores the stability of Naftomar’s position in the international shipping market.”
The organization of work on the ships, supplies and good salaries are just some of the advantages of the company, from the point of view of seafarers. Naftomar pays close attention to safety issues with respect to cargo and people on board ships. All these aspects were analysed in a simple and easy-to-understand manner during the course, allowing future seafarers to receive comprehensive replies to questions relating to the operation of LPG ships.