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1.6Michael Eriksson likes working on ferries with large crews and wants to be able to train on board. A good work environment is important of course, he says, but he has noticed that people are sometimes careless.

Michael, 18, has been studying at the Maritime Academy in Gothenburg for almost three years. He will have his able body seaman qualification this summer.

”Working as a seaman is great fun, though it is hard to find work. If I don’t find a job I will maybe carry on studying,” he says.

Well-equipped gym

Michael has done a total of 14 weeks of placements on ferries and tankers.

”The crews have been very good at showing me around the ships, and I have worked with a lot of different things. Last summer there was a lot of maintenance work and de-scaling rust, washing decks and painting. Apart from that, I have worked with mooring and helped with the loading and unloading.”

A good work environment is important for Michael, of course. But he has noticed that things do not always work as they should on ships.

”People don’t seem to take it seriously and there is a big difference between what you learn in college and how things are in practice. When I was going to use two-component paint, the chief mate said that I didn’t need a protective mask. After a while I noticed a stinging sensation in my nose, and then he went to fetch one. But the work environment is important for everyone and if we don’t think about it now, there may be consequences later in life.”

Michael says that he likes to train on board, and there was a well-equipped gym on all the ships he worked on. Internet access was a bit patchy sometimes, though.

”It’s not that important for me, but I felt sorry for the Filipinos. They are at sea for a long time and you notice it affects them when they can’t keep in touch with their families. You feel a bit sorry for them.”

Linda Sundgren

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