Against The Tide

Suzanna Svensson Atay, Sweden.

November 6, 2020

At the moment I am not working onboard. Due to COVID-19 the cruise ship I was working on stop going in traffic. I was working as navigating officer. Most of the time I was driving, but I was also conducting drills, doing maintenance work as well as administrative work onboard.

What I enjoyed the most onboard was conducting drills. I have always been fascinated and interested in leadership. I love to teach and motivate other people.

It is always a challenge to sail in rough weather, and the thought of having thousands of lives in your hands does not make that job easier. The biggest challenge has been my time as a cadet. I have been on multiple vessels during my internships. I have been told I am not good enough because I am a” girl”. That I do not belong there, that I should return to the kitchen. They told me I aim for the stars but I will land in the treetops. I have been asked to do sexual favors. I have been a victim of sexual harassment and sexual abuse over and over again on different vessels. There was only one way of overcoming what I went through, by telling myself that I am capable of doing anything that I put my mind to do, that no one will stop me from achieving my dreams.

I think the only way of changing a toxic culture onboard is to get more females into the industry. My advice to the women coming aboard do not let anyone tell you what you can and can’t do!

She is currently a second Officer.

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