”A good atmosphere increases safety”

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If the crew feels good, work becomes not only more fun but also safer. Sea captain Anneli Borg, 13 years on ACL’s Atlantic Companion, is convinced of the importance of everyone on board feeling good.
After graduating from the Maritime University in Gothenburg in 2002, Anneli started as second mate on Atlantic Companion. She stayed there for over ten years.
”I enjoyed it that much. The job was fun and there was a good crew working on board,” says Anneli.
Job satisfaction is key to almost everything you do on ships, according to Anneli. Not only because it makes life at sea better, it is also important for the work environment and safety.
If we who work on board care about each other, we also make work safer and have a better work environment. Everyone gains by having a good atmosphere.
During the first few years as a second mate, Anneli joined in when activities were arranged on board. After she was promoted to chief mate, it was often she who took the initiative.
”Before I mostly thought it was nice when we did something together. But when I had a supervising role, I could also see that it was useful, and how being involved in your leisure time also made the job easier.”
Move away from your roles
Together with other crew members, she has arranged games and competitions, sports tournaments, barbecue and theme evenings with dressing up and exotic food.
”We seafarers are rather social beings and almost everyone joins in when we arrange something. Enjoying your job is no doubt important wherever you work, but I think it is even more so at sea where we work and live so close together,” she says.
When Anneli started on the Companion, which sails regularly between Europe and the United States, it was almost all Swedes in the crew. ”Over the years the number of Filipinos grew, and for them the shared leisure activities have been especially important,” says Anneli.
”They often have great respect for professional positions, but when you play together you leave your roles behind. That means that they dare to come forward and joke with the others, make suggestions and be assertive. The atmosphere has become more open, quite simply.”
Since March Anneli Borg has been working on Jehander 1, a small bulk carrier that transports gravel in Stockholm. Instead of being away for five weeks at a time, she now works every other week and is also free every weekend. This means that she is no longer away from her children for such long periods.
”My youngest daughter is very pleased that I am at home more often. But my oldest, who is in fourth class, thought it was much cooler to have a mum who sailed to USA than one who runs a gravel ship,” says Anneli with a wink and a smile.
Work on board Jehander 1 is completely different from her previous job. This is all about loading, unloading and piloting the ship. Anneli, who is in the process of studying for her qualification as a pilot in the fleet, takes out a nautical chart from her bag.
”We start on Sunday evening and then we usually sail up here to Löten and load,” she says, pointing to a place on the east side of Munsö. Then we sail down to Värtan, Hammarby, Ulvsunda or Tyska Botten and unload, then back to Löten again.”
She misses the old crew on the Companion and the work there, but she can also see the advantages of this new job. Apart from enjoying manoeuvring the ship, she is pleased to leave behind all the paperwork that deep sea shipping needs.
”Administration has become a major headache on ships. The thought behind the ISM Code is great, but it has got out of control and it doesn’t help us any longer. We have shelves full of files on the ships, and there is no way you can keep up with everything.”
One similarity between her old ship and the new one is the good atmosphere on board.
”The crew is really amazing. Even if tasks are not always very challenging, everyone is very involved and encourages each other,” she says.
Linda Sundgren
Skärmavbild 2015-06-18 kl. 11.41.53

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