SEP­A­RA­TION FROM FAM­ILY, COM­MU­NI­CA­TION BREAK-DOWN ARE DOWN­SIDES OF SAIL­ING

Fiji Sun - - Shipping - INOKE RABONU

It is not only a chal­lenge to be sep­a­rated from your fam­ily on a reg­u­lar ba­sis through­out your ca­reer but also tough. For a sea­farer this is part and par­cel of their lives.

Then it is not only the sep­a­ra­tion and dis­tance that linger at the back of your mind when you are out at sea but also the thought of not mak­ing it to shore alive when the weather is not friendly; es­pe­cially when there is bad weather while out at sea.

Th­ese were the sen­ti­ments shared by Goundar Ship­ping Limited (GSL) en­gi­neer Tausie Apao.

The 39-year-old is one of the pi­o­neer staff of the ship­ping com­pany as an en­gi­neer. He is also the chief en­gi­neer who brings ships from for­eign coun­tries for GSL when it started its op­er­a­tions in 2011.

On July 20, he was part of the crew that was wel­comed at Port Mua-i-Walu when he was en­gi­neer on the new ad­di­tion to the GSL fleet - Lo­maiv­iti Princess IX (9) from Ja­pan to Fiji. Lo­maiv­iti Princess IX is the lat­est ad­di­tion to GSL’s f leet.

“My first voy­age was back in 2011 with

Lo­maiv­iti Princess 1 and not only have I sailed in the Fiji wa­ters as an en­gi­neer for GSL ves­sels, I have also held on to the re­spon­si­bil­ity of be­ing a chief en­gi­neer while hav­ing to go and get our new ves­sels from for­eign coun­tries,” Mr Apao said.

“There are many good things about this job, hav­ing to visit other coun­tries and learn about dif­fer­ent cul­tures, the views that greet us early morn­ings and dur­ing sun­sets, the com­pany that we keep and work to­gether to try and achieve our com­mon goal; but there are still chal­lenges that we have to en­counter ev­ery­day,” he said.

“This is a role that re­quires our full con­cen­tra­tion on the job and at times sleep­less nights as we have the re­spon­si­bil­ity to keep the ship go­ing while out at sea.”

He said the most im­por­tant chal­lenge he faced was be­ing sep­a­rated from his wife and son with re­stricted com­mu­ni­ca­tion. “Hav­ing to be away from fam­ily is the great­est chal­lenge for me and I be­lieve ex­pe­ri­enced by all seafarers in Fiji and the world. “Imag­ine you in the mid­dle of the ocean in an­other part of the world and you have your wife and only son at home won­der­ing how

you are do­ing.

“At times when there is no con­nec­tiv­ity, they would be anx­ious as to how I am do­ing out at sea and like­wise for me won­der­ing what they are do­ing at home.

“This is hard, to be in the mid­dle of nowhere - that is why I say that it is the great­est chal­lenge that we have to en­counter while at sea.” Mr Apao said he had al­ways had the dream to one day be­come an en­gi­neer and be­ing a sea­farer was not a part of his plans. “I started my ca­reer as an en­gi­neer with the then Pub­lic Works Depart­ment and for var­i­ous other com­pa­nies on the ground be­fore I made the shift in 2011 to join a ship­ping firm. “The tran­si­tion was not much of a change be­cause the work I carry out is still the same; only the work en­vi­ron­ment is new. “Here at GSL I do watch keep­ing while we are at sea as I am al­ways on watch and as a chief en­gi­neer when we are out at sea.

He said de­spite the chal­lenges, he is thank­ful to have a group of hard­work­ing co-work­ers that en­able him to en­joy the tasks he needs to carry out.

“I am grate­ful to have co-work­ers that have make our trips an en­joy­able one, we un­der­stand each other, es­pe­cially the hard­ships of be­ing sep­a­rated from our fam­i­lies. We en­sure that ev­ery­one is well looked af­ter and ev­ery­one en­joys their time out at sea.”

“Hav­ing to be away from fam­ily is the great­est chal­lenge for me and I be­lieve ex­pe­ri­enced by all seafarers in Fiji and the world. Imag­ine you in the mid­dle of the ocean in an­other part of the world and you have your wife and only son at home won­der­ing how you are do­ing.”

Tausie Apao (third from right at the back) with the Goundar Ship­ping Limited crew that brought in Lo­maiv­iti Princess IX on July 20, 2019.

Tausie Apao (right) with a co-worker at Port Mua-I-Walu 2 on Au­gust 20, 2019.

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