Gennadiy Grechannyi, Uniteam Ukraine: Today Employers Count on Young Specialists

Gennadiy Grechannyi got his first job contract with Uniteam Marine as a cadet not so long ago. And right after his first voyage this cadet from Kherson State Maritime Academy was promoted. Now Gennadiy is getting ready for another voyage in a new capacity. Engine cadet just out of the academy told The Professional Seafarer Newspaper about his job at Uniteam Marine.

Professional SeafarerGennadiy, how did you find yourself working for Uniteam Marine?
Gennadiy Grechannyi: Like many others. I had a chance to work as a cadet in other companies when completing my practical training at sea. I came to Uniteam Ukraine when I was already a cadet at the Kherson State Maritime Academy. I waited for a suitable vacancy for a while, then had an interview and got an offer for employment as a cadet.   

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Professional SeafarerWas it difficult at the interview?
Gennadiy Grechannyi: It is easy if you have experience and know English. And I can say that the level of English taught at the academy is enough for a successful interview, i.e. if one does study and doesn’t miss classes. During the interview there are no questions «beyond reason». All questions are speciality-related in the areas one must know to work at sea.

Professional SeafarerSometimes one may hear cadets complaining after their first voyage: I had to slave there and did much extra work along with my main duties…    
Gennadiy Grechannyi: There is nothing like that on Uniteam Marine vessels. We had an unattended machinery space on our vessel, and since I was an engine cadet I didn’t have to keep the watch. I had a full-time working day from 8 am till 5 pm. Part of the day is for work, and the rest is for learning. It gives a real chance to improve practical skills and learn something new within the 6 month contract term. There is time for everything.   

Professional SeafarerIs it difficult to get promoted?
Gennadiy Grechannyi: It’s up to you only. If you are eager to work, if you want to show your worth and don’t just pace about the engine room, then it is easy. If you just go with the flow, it won’t do. You must really want things to work out.    

Professional SeafarerYou are getting ready for your next voyage as the fourth engineer, aren’t you?
Gennadiy Grechannyi: As the fifth engineer. I was promoted by the chief engineer. By the way, my co-worker who was on the same voyage with me as a deck cadet also got a promotion after his first contract term.   

Professional SeafarerDoes it mean the company doesn’t hinder further advancement? And if there is a promotion you don’t have to go on another voyage and wait long for being moved up the ranks, do you?   
Gennadiy Grechannyi: My story speaks for itself. It was my first voyage with this company. I didn’t face any obstacles. I am ready for promotion and I got it. The company sent me to take a course on safety at sea and I will go on my second voyage as an engineer.

Professional SeafarerWhat vessel did you work on?
Gennadiy Grechannyi: Log carrier. It is a new ship built by China Navigation. My entire crew went to the shipyard for vessel acceptance.

Professional SeafarerNew vessel acceptance – is it interesting?
Gennadiy Grechannyi: It’s hard to say since it was my first experience of the kind. On the one hand a new ship is great: no one has operated it before, modern equipment, everything is thought-out. On the other hand in the course of operation certain shortcomings are detected. There is a lot of work to do. Manufacturing defects must be removed. I haven’t worked on such vessels before, but my colleagues who worked on Chinese newly built ships said their vessels were of high quality.

Actually Uniteam Ukraine adheres to a very good principle: before sending a man to work on a new vessel, he is given a chance to work on a ship of the similar class. It’s like a practical training you get paid for. It is very efficient work-wise. However it applies to officers only, the so-called top five ranks.   

Professional SeafarerDoes Uniteam Marine recruit seafarers for work in mixed crews or build Ukrainian crews?
Gennadiy Grechannyi: I worked in a mixed crew together with the Burmese. They are mostly ratings, whereas officers working on Uniteam Marine vessels are mostly Ukrainian. The work was great. There were 22 of us and my impressions of this voyage are only positive.  

Professional SeafarerSeafarer’s career is of specific nature. Confined space, small circle of contacts…How should one handle situations when one doesn’t get along with some member of the crew? People are different, after all.
Gennadiy Grechannyi: I can’t relate to that. I think one should bear in mind that a job is a job, and personal relations are something different, and you should never mix work with personal matters. Work is a priority at sea, everything else, like emotions, should be under control. The most important thing is to do your job well and build normal working relations with your crewmates.

Professional SeafarerWhat is special about working on log carriers?
Gennadiy Grechannyi: When I was on the ship, we did not carry timber. Operation of such vessels depends on the season. If timber is out of season, ships may be assigned to other cargo lines. We called at the ports of Japan, the USA, Morocco, Brazil and Argentina.   

Professional SeafarerDid you have time to come ashore?
Gennadiy Grechannyi: Yes, certainly. I was particularly impressed by Japan. Actually there is enough time to do a bit of sightseeing.

Professional SeafarerDo you plan to stay with Uniteam Ukraine?
Gennadiy Grechannyi: Yes. I am happy with this company and I have a real chance for quick advancement. The fleet is “rejuvenating” now in comparison with the old times. I think today employers count on young specialists.

Professional SeafarerWhat do you think is the optimum voyage duration?  
Gennadiy Grechannyi: Everyone handles it differently. Officers’ contracts are usually 4 months long. For me it is 6 months and it is quite normal.    

Professional SeafarerYou had your 6 month voyage. When are you ready to leave for the next one?
Gennadiy Grechannyi: One month is enough for rest. When you are at sea you get used to a certain routine, and it is difficult to be ashore for long. To be honest, I am ready for the next voyage.