Fleet Technical Support Engineer, Ships Deck Officer
Hometown: Green’s Harbour
Company: WesternGeco, Schlumberger
“The most rewarding part of my career is the ability to work and travel around the world in a borderless career environment.”
Victor has a Nautical Science degree from the Marine Institute. He says that his youth participation in the Royal Canadian Sea Cadets and the Newfoundland & Labrador Youth Parliament also helped prepare him for his future career.
Victor has always enjoyed being active and working “hands on” and feels these natural attributes have helped him in his current career where he enjoys the challenge of working under pressure and using his initiative to work through tough situations. Victor says his high school math and physics courses were helpful in his post-secondary studies, while his French Immersion schooling has helped him in his travels around the world, learning other languages.
In his current office position, Victor usually works 8 am-3 pm daily and is on call 24-7 to provide the fleet with support for high priority issues. When working offshore, Victor’s 12-hour shift work splits into a variety of combinations: 6 hours on-6 hours off, 4 hours on-8 hours off, 8 hours on – 4 hours off, or a continuous 12-hour shift.
Right now Victor lives a 10-minute walk from his place of work. When on ship it can take two to three days to reach the vessel. Victor currently lives in Norway and his travels have taken him to North, South and Central America, Europe, Asia, North Africa, Australia, India and the Middle East. He says Singapore and Argentina have been two of his favourite locations.
Victor says work onboard the ship can be physically demanding and challenging, which is one of the reasons workers must maintain a valid medical certificate. He says the isolation of working on a vessel can be difficult for some people, but companies are trying to help by providing increased benefits such as less expensive calling options and internet via satellite links. Victor’s current support position onshore does not require visits to the vessels on a regular basis.
Victor’s current duties include providing technical support regarding vessel regulations, company procedures and instructions, trouble shooting problems and fault finding. He works in a division office that on site can have 300-400 people. As a ship’s officer/captain he would be responsible for the day-to-day running of the ship, ensuring that the cargo and crew reach the destination in the safest and most efficient way possible. On a vessel one can work with 30- 60 people on a variety of ships in a variety of weather environments. He says there is usually very limited work space and workers are often required to share a room.
Victor says that onboard a ship, the environment itself can be a major hazard, ergonomics are much different than in an office, and the remote location can cause delays in receiving emergency assistance so staff may be required to have special training to deal with various emergencies. Because of these conditions, Victor says employees must always be aware of the risks involved in their day to day work and take proper precautions.
Victor has worked most of his career with this company. He has progressed through the ranks to senior management onboard a vessel which in turn opened the door to his current onshore position supporting a fleet of almost 20 vessels. Victor says he has been advised to keep looking ahead to where he wants to go in the industry as “the opportunities can be endless.”
Compensation and Benefits
Salaries for Victor’s occupation range from $60,000-110,000 per year with a similar range for career compensation. Workers also receive premiums in the form of bonuses and hardship pay when working in the field, depending on which country they are assigned to. Victor’s employer also provides medical insurance, pension, a discounted company stock plan and a travel allowance to return to Canada on holiday once a year.
Victor feels that his current position receives a higher salary compared to a similar position in other industries. Ship’s officers in the oil and gas industry receive better salaries and benefits packages than in other marine industries such as cargo or ferry vessels. Compared to other careers with similar amounts of training (3-year technical program) Victor believes a ship’s officer earns more. Victor adds that further training by his employer can be endless and employees are always being encouraged to better themselves through in house and external courses.