”Internet access is probably at the top of the list”

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1.7Internet access and a satisfied crew are what Fia Antolkovic Wistrand, 22 and sea-captain student, would value most. Which area of work she ends up in is less important; the main thing is to get out there and start working, she says.

Fia always knew she would go to sea. The idea has always attracted her and she has several friends who are seafarers. She is now studying in her fourth and final year on the sea captain programme at Chalmers in Gothenburg, and she is looking forward to starting work soon.

”But you can’t be too picky. With the situation in shipping at the moment, you are happy just to get a job,” she says.

During her placements, Fia has worked on an anchor handling tug, a roro ship, a car ferry and a passenger ferry. She says that she found her sea legs very well on all the ships.

Own safety footwear

”The crew being happy is probably the crucial issue for feeling good onboard when you first start work. The opportunity to do fitness training is a good thing for a healthy, happy crew – and not serving fast food from the canteen. On the last ships I where I was working, the chefs really put their heart and soul into the cooking and there was freshly baked bread for breakfast and a lot of fruit and vegetables. That makes you feel good”.

Fia would really like to have internet access when she is at sea.

”Being able to keep in touch with people at home is probably at the top of my priority list on board. You want to be able to send an e-mail or text to say where you are and that everything is OK,” she says.

She also wants awareness about the work environment and safety issues. During her placements she was given the necessary working clothes and equipment, even if the size varied a lot.

”The trousers were often a few sizes too large. You have to take some rope and tighten the waist and roll up the trouser legs. I have my own safety shoes. I think most of the students in the class do, too. The amount of safety clothing on ships varies. Sometimes it is pretty empty in the stores, and even though I have always been given what I needed, I’ve heard through the grapevine that it can be difficult to get an extra pair of overalls or new gloves.”

Linda Sundgren

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