“Working offshore means I’m fulfilled and doing what I love.”
How long have you worked at Maersk Supply Service and what was your starting position?
I started in 2013 as a cadet and was then hired as a Second Officer in August 2014.
What does it mean to you to work offshore?
It means that I’m fulfilled and doing what I love. Even though there are hard moments away from loved ones, it means I’m capable of being a daughter, a sister, a niece, a mother – and a navigator.
How it is everyday life onboard?
It’s tiring, stressful, amazing and exciting! We learn something new on every charter and as a Second Officer, I try to take onboard all the advice from the professionals I cross paths with. It’s great to have a variety of challenges, it helps you grow. Even if you’re working with one particular vessel type and operation, you can always find ways to improve your performance.
Describe the day when you joined the vessel for the first time.
It was amazing, even though I was super nervous. I remember trying to extract as much knowledge as I could from everyone. Getting to know the ship’s operation, anchorage, every detail was important. It was as if I wanted to learn everything in one day!
What does a typical day onboard look like?
I take my watch and go on deck, depending on the operation we have going on. Working on the maintenance of FiFi equipment takes forever (!) as everybody knows, but it’s pretty satisfying to see your improvements in performance in such close detail. We check the route details for our operations, perform routine maintenance and makes sure we rest during the allotted time, as we must always be ready for emergencies.
And how about disembarkment days?
It’s one of the best days! I’m always looking forward to this day so I can be with my loved ones, rest without alarm clocks and enjoy the leave as I please.
How do you manage your work-life balance when working offshore?
I’ve only ever worked offshore, so when I’ve had to stay away from home for longer periods, I’ve really missed it. My family’s support means the world to me, I’ve always counted on them to give me strength to continue. We chat every day and especially on special occasions like birthdays and they always wait for me to come back to celebrate properly, so I can be physically present whenever possible. I don’t feel like I’m missing everything that’s going on because of my job. You do miss a few things but we can make ourselves present in a lot more situations than you think.
Do you work with other female seafarers onboard the vessel? How is it to have someone else to share your experiences with?
I’ve worked with a few, the biggest female contingent I worked with was 4. It’s amazing to share our experiences with each other. It helps you learn how to stand up for yourself, learn to respect your limits, learn how to grow in quite a masculine environment.
What are your goals for the future at Maersk Supply Service?
I expect to continue at Maersk Supply Service for many years to come. As a Second Officer, I still have a long way to go until Captain and I really hope to reach this stage one day in the MSS fleet. I also hope I can keep developing my career and skills by taking advantage of the courses and training available to us.
Anything else you would like to share?
Being a mom is my most recent challenge. My daughter is now a year old and my first embark was hard – although it definitely could have been worse. I managed to video call at least three times a day and we could play through the phone, so I could see her development in that month and even be a part of a visit to the paediatrician! Being away from her was really hard but my family’s support made all the difference to me. My sisters, my mom and my aunts all came together to help out because I love my job – and if I can continue doing what I love, my daughter will grow up to be really proud of her mama.
Name: Marília Pinheiro
Title: Second Officer
Located: Offshore Brazil
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