Name: Brian Smith
Company: Husky Energy
Education: Diploma of Technology in Nautical Science, Marine Institute
Location: Offshore – Oil Production Installation
Hometown: Clarke’s Beach, NL
Currently Living In: Bay Roberts, NL
Brian Smith is a Marine Technician onboard the SeaRose Floating, Production, Storage and Offloading vessel (FPSO), which is an oil production installation. Working in the oil and gas industry has let Brian settle near his hometown, while enjoying a career full of advanced technology and exciting daily challenges.
Education and Personal Background
Brian enrolled to study Nautical Science straight out of high school, inspired by family members who worked at sea.
“My grandfather was a marine engineer, and everyone in his family worked on ships. I’d had a few jobs in high school, but I didn’t really have any idea what I wanted to do in post-secondary. I enrolled in the program for no other reason than that I knew Grandfather Gushue was one of the smartest people I knew – and if he was able to make a decent living out of it, then I would too.”
Since completing his diploma, Brian has obtained a Chief Mate Unlimited Certificate through Transport Canada. He plans to complete the Master Mariner certification in the future.
“Since graduating, I’ve been back in the classroom on a regular basis to upgrade or learn something new. The industry develops technology so fast. It’s a challenge to keep on top of all the new things coming out.”
Duties and Work Environment
Brian’s shift is a rotation of three weeks at sea and three weeks off work. As a Marine Technician, he works as a member of the vessel’s marine crew. His duties change depending on whether the vessel is moving or in production. The marine crew has a lot of responsibilities!
“While we’re connected to the buoy, our responsibility is to monitor the loading and production of oil, and the stability of the vessel. We also schedule offloading to shuttle tankers. We coordinate the supply vessels coming to the oil field with cargo. We coordinate the helicopters for crew change and we keep navigational watch. If we have an inspection or require maintenance, it is our job to ensure that the components involved are safe to work with. We always have to make sure everything is in good working order. In the event that we have to leave location, we have to monitor weather, ice and traffic that could pose hazards to the facility.”
Questions and Answers
What do you enjoy about your job?
The people here genuinely care about each other’s well-being. We spend half the year at work, and many of the guys have formed great friendships outside of work.
What has surprised you most about working in the oil and gas industry?
I was expecting a ‘rough’ workforce for the ‘manly man’, but it’s not like that at all. It’s an inclusive workforce, where everyone works together for a common goal.”
What has been your proudest career moment?
I look a French immersion program throughout high school. When I enrolled in Nautical Science, I didn’t think I’d get much of a chance to use that skill. However, shortly after graduating I accepted my first job as a ship’s officer with a company out of Quebec… It was extremely intimidating and I was afraid to speak French at all. After a few months working there, and being fully immersed in the language, I started to talk to one of the guys a little bit… He started telling everyone that I could actually speak French. The next thing I knew, everyone was speaking to me in French, and I started answering them in French… I’d have to call that my proudest moment.