As 3rd engineer on board I am responsible for many machineries, specially auxiliary engines and boilers. My work consists of constantly monitoring running hours, maintenance schedules, housekeeping, parameters, bunkering operation, safety rounds, inventory of spares and many other duties. It is an endless list, everyday is a different day in the Engine room.
The first time I saw a vessel I was 16 years old and it was love at the first sight. I decided that I would do my best to work on it. I knew nothing about the job itself, but after joining my first vessel as junior engineer I was fascinated by how every small piece of it is important for a good operation. It is an extraordinary profession, not everybody has the mental and physical skills to step on a ship, and knowing that I am one of these people makes me feel special.
Work as a seafarer is a challenge, but being a woman seafarer it’s even harder. Every time I join a new ship there are some steps which I must follow: I have to prove that I know my job, I work harder than anyone else and I seek for respect. Until I can succeed in all these steps and build a nice and respectful environment, everyday is a challenge. When you work with heavy and big machinery people always judge if you are strong enough for the job, but being smart and following all the safeties we can do everything.
For a long time the shipping industry has been a male dominant field. The cargo ships were never designed with the women on mind. There is no changing room for women, no toilet for women, no items in slop chests for women. If I had to advocate any change for women seafarers I would choose gender acceptance, we are humans and equals in the great scheme of life. So what we need is acceptance to create a work environment where women and men are the same.
For women who are starting their maritime life my advice is to be brave, patient and never forget that you are the owner of your own life, so nothing is impossible for you!
Yana Guido, Brazil