Life on Board Ship with UASC by Bryn Beaurain

Four and half months ago I was lucky enough to get offered the opportunity of a lifetime to work with United Arab Shipping Company on board one of their vessels Al Murabba. I was going to be the first British Extra Third Officer UASC had employed.

 Bryn Beaurain on board Merchant Navy UASC vessel Al Murabba
Bryn Beaurain on the bridge of Merchant Navy UASC vessel Al Murabba

My trip started by flying out to Cairo on the 3rd of May. I then got picked up and taken to the hotel in Port Said which was about a three hour drive from the airport.

This was an exciting time for me seeing my new vessel approaching

I arrived in the hotel the same day and awaited the ship to dock in Port Said. Unknown to me at the time the vessel was at anchor picking up some supplies. The vessel remained at anchor for two days. On the 5th May 0300 local time I was picked up and taken to Immigration to join the vessel. On the way to Immigration the agent informed me that a ship had hit a container gantry crane causing a fire which then meant the port had been closed.

Once through Immigration I was taken to the harbour where a launch was going to take me out to the vessel to transit the Suez Canal. This was an exciting time for me seeing my new vessel approaching. Seeing how monstrous she was coming towards us. I felt like we were the ant and the ship was the boot!

I was treated with respect and left to get on with tasks on my own

That afternoon I went on the bridge for the first time on the Chief Officers watch. He was an Egyptian and a very helpful Officer who wanted to help me progress my career. He taught me things I did not know throughout the trip and helped me get my first foot on the ladder.

I worked from 0400-0800 and 1600-2000 on the bridge and 0900 to 1100 out on deck maintaining lifesaving appliances and learning a lot about the ship. Being a Cadet is a lot different to being an Officer in my case. I was treated with respect and left to get on with tasks on my own.

In the second month on board the Chief Officer would finish his watch at 1830 which then allowed me to gain some sole look-out experience. This was frightening to begin with but I was taught at college if ever you are in doubt call the captain, which I did on several occasions.  He would help talk me through the situation and what might be a better way to handle the same situation next time.

The Captain and Chief Officer believed I took it in my stride

Coming into port I was in charge of the aft mooring station which was an interesting situation as in your cadetship if something goes wrong it is not your responsibility - but now it was. Taking charge of people and learning how to manage them is something as a cadet I had never experienced but the Captain and Chief Officer believed I took it in my stride.

The route while I was on board the vessel started at Port Said Egypt, Suez Egypt, Jeddah Saudi Arabia, Port Klang Malaysia, Qingdao China, Busan South Korea, Shanghai China, Ningbo China, Yantian China, Port Klang Malaysia, Jeddah Saudi Arabia, Suez Egypt, Port Said Egypt, La Spezia Italy, Genoa Italy, Fos France, Valencia Spain and back to Port Said, Suez, Jeddah, Khorfakan UAE and to Port Klang where I then signed off.

Work hard and enjoy the experience

Is there anything I wish I had known before going on board? Yes I wish I had known they had internet on board which helped me keep in touch with my family and friends, if I had known I could have done my online banking and last but not least a dollars account is important as you are paid in dollars.

I am now waiting to hear when I get sent back. Good luck to any of you who are offered the same position. Work hard and enjoy the experience.

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