Mattias Jervehed – skipper on a happy ship

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”I play all possible roles, from counsellor and personnel manager to team-leader and kiosk owner.” Ship’s master Mattias Jervehed believes that the crew’s satisfaction is crucial, both for the work environment and for safety on board. 

As chief officer, Mattias Jervehed is responsible for the entire work environment on Ramanda, Älvtank’s tanker. Alongside this, his passion is to create a good living environment and job satisfaction on board. This is partly because seafarers spend so much time on the ship, and therefore deserve good living conditions, and partly it is about creating motivation and loyalty from the crew.

Own initiatives
”If you have a sauna, a good gym and a master who helps out when you need it, these things create a positive atmosphere. Then you have a crew that will go the extra mile when it’s needed and add those little touches, such as painting really neatly or making sure that the lines are really sharp,” he says.

Mattias Jervehed believes that everyone on board bears responsibility for the environment and well-being on the ship, but that he has a special responsibility as master. That’s why he often takes the initiative to arrange joint activities and all kinds of improvements. An example is allowing groups of the crew to leave the vessel for a couple of hours to go bowling or play golf when the ship is in port for a long period. Strategy games and a karaoke machine have also been purchased for those who enjoy such entertainment.

”When it comes to figuring out activities, I often work with the chief engineer, Palle. We have a great relationship and we make sure that things get off the ground. Funds are taken from the welfare account, which is replenished with proceeds from the kiosk and supervisor allowances we are paid when we have trainees on board,” says Mattias Jervehed.

He doesn’t shy away from taking on practical work to increase job satisfaction. Ramanda is Älvtank’s latest Swedish-flagged tanker and was delivered in July 2018. Mattias is now installing TVs in the cabins. 

”It’s a good opportunity to show that I’m happy to help out, and that I care about the crew’s situation. It’s also a natural form of contact between me and the crewmember when we stand in the cabin and discuss where to put the TV,” he says.

The shipping company’s attitude is another reason why work environment management functions so well on the Ramanda, according to Mattias Jervehed. They’re involved and get things done when they’re needed, at the same time as they give the crew a lot of freedom.

”We decide about much of what happens on board and we can make changes to the work environment, even though we discuss it with the onshore organisation, of course. I know it sounds like a cliché, but Älvtank ships are happy ships.”

The biggest change that Martin Jervehed has seen in the work environment during his 23 years at sea was when the EU forced Europe’s mobile operators to lower the price of phone calls and surfing within the EU a few years ago, and when the market for the 4G network was deregulated. 

”For us who worked at sea, it was a minor revolution. Suddenly I could be a father even when I was at sea – I could help my daughter with her homework and her exam studies, and I could pay bills and help my wife to do the shopping. It was a huge difference compared to how things were before.”

Linda Sundgren

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