My Story so far, by Owen Morgan

On leaving sixth form I decided on a career as a Deck Officer in the Merchant Navy, studying Nautical Science and obtaining an International Officer of the Watch Certificate of Competency. 

I could finally end up in command of a ship of this size, or even bigger! 

I completed phase one of my five-phase cadetship at South Shields Marine School in January 2015 and commenced my seagoing training on board the 76,000 tonne UK Registered container vessel ‘MV Ever Eagle’ in late April 2015.

I flew to Piraeus, Greece, only to find on my arrival the ship had been delayed for two days. My shipping agent booked me in to an excellent hotel and I made the most of two days enjoying the sights of Athens.

My first impression of the Ever Eagle was quite daunting. A vessel of nearly 300 m in length is a lot of ship!  I thought that if all goes well in my career I could finally end up in command of a ship of this size, or even bigger! 

My en-suite cabin, my home for the next four months, was spacious with plenty of room to relax and study in comfort with good air conditioning and, of course, a sea view!

As a cadet I was fortunate to experience different cultures

I met the Captain, my training officer and officers and crew who were predominantly Taiwanese and Filipino. They were all very pleasant and friendly and would be my constant companions until the end of August.

We sailed from Piraeus to Trieste in Italy and then to Koper, Slovenia. And my training started in earnest. I then embarked on a voyage that would take me, via the Suez Canal. As a cadet I was fortunate enough to go ashore in the majority of these places and experience different cultures, which I will never forget.

Phase two training consists of basic ship safety, security and familiarity, deck maintenance, cargo management and ship handling. I also carried out bridge watch keeping and navigation under the supervision of my training officer.

The highlights of my voyage were transiting the Suez Canal and passing my Steering Certificate. This qualifies me to steer any large merchant ship in confined and open waters.

The career opportunities are endless

For those who like to travel and enjoy a challenge a career as a Deck, Engineer or Electro-Technical Officer in the Merchant Navy is a worthwhile consideration if you have good GCSE/ A-Level results in maths and the sciences, this is also a course popular with graduates.

The career opportunities are endless with a choice of cruise liners; passenger ships, container and cargo vessels, ferries, tankers and specialised oil supply and research vessels to serve on.

As a qualified officer your conditions of service dictate that you will receive an excellent salary and earn at least four months leave per year. 

There are few careers that pay you while you study with fantastic career opportunities on graduation.  The excellent training I receive at South Shields Marine School is also paid for by my company, as are examination fees and travel. I am also paid whilst on leave between training phases.

When I was planning my future I found it hard to believe there was very little information or guidance available in our local schools and colleges for those who wished to pursue a career in the Merchant Navy. 

Many of my friends were unclear as to ‘what’ the Merchant Navy was and actually did. I found this quite disturbing when just about everything we use in the UK is manufactured abroad and imported into our country…on ships!

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