People in Eidesvik

1. Tell us a little about yourself?

My name is Nils-Erik, I am 19 years old, and work as Trainee deck on Viking Energy. I am from the island of Bømlo on the west coast of Norway, where I grew up on a small farm. In my spare time I am mostly busy working. There is always lots to do on the farm, and I also help out in my father’s company. This suits me well because I love to work. In that sense, a sailor’s rota works great for me – providing a lot of free time in between shifts to work also back home.

2. What educational course did you pursue before starting your apprenticeship in Eidesvik?

After middle school I studied technical and industrial production (TIP) and maritime subjects on board the school ship MV Gann in Stavanger. This brought me out to sea right away, something I enjoyed very much. During these two years I tried working both on deck and in the machine, and from this experience I knew I wanted to focus on deck work.

3. What motivated you to choose this career path?

For me, the choice was easy. Although I do not come from a family of seafarers, I have always wanted to work at sea. Ever since I was a little boy, I loved watching the boats passing by on the fjord – and I got my first binoculars at an early age to follow the shipping traffic. My grandmother has told me that when I was eight years old, I stated that “I would like to go to school here when I grow up” during a visit to the school ship Gann. In fact, if I did something wrong as a kid, it often revolved around me and my brother going alone to the sea to watch passing ships.

I feel very fortunate to have always known what career I want to pursue. And the feeling of having made the right choice is only strengthened by my work at sea.

4. Tell us a little about your workplace?

I am working on the platform supply vessel Viking Energy. From our base at Mongstad, Norway we supply various oil fields – including Statfjord, Gullfaks, Troll and Oseberg. We do three trips offshore per week, a schedule that keeps us quite busy. This suits me well.

Viking Energy was the world’s first gas-powered supply vessel and has since been retrofitted with hybrid power and batteries. It is an excellent ship. When I talk to other sailors, I often state that Viking Energy is Eidesvik’s best supply vessel – and this is a ship from 2003! It is quite simply in incredible shape to be the oldest supply vessel in our fleet – showing that the ship was properly built and equipped. In my opinion this is a common feature of all Eidesvik ships: They are quality vessels, which in turn makes it easier to keep them in excellent shape through years of work.

5. Why did you choose Eidesvik for your apprenticeship?

Since I am from Langevåg, the home and headquarters of Eidesvik, it was natural. In many ways, the shipping company has been present in the community throughout my adolescence. I have seen and visited the ships, and the company has supported the local community in a variety of ways. I have always thought of Eidesvik as a safe and good company to be part of.

I would still put Eidesvik on top of my list if I were to seek apprenticeship today. Not only do I get to meet so many nice people, I also like that the company is not too big – so we really get to know many of the people working on- and offshore. You really get the sense that people matter in Eidesvik.

For me it is also important and exiting that the company cares for the future, the environment and climate, taking the role as a front-runner for cleaner shipping. My vessel, Viking Energy, is one example of this pioneering spirit. In the coming years she will become the world’s first emission-free supply vessel – powered by ammonia.

6. What are typical assignments during your workday?

It varies with our operations. Out on the oilfields, I am mostly involved in the work out on deck – getting containers and other cargo delivered and retrieved to and from the platforms. Ashore, it is mostly maintenance work; cleaning, washing, painting. Of course, I also have some typical apprentice chores, like making coffee and tidying the garbage room. I am also about to enter other scheduled duties, like bridge duty.

In my experience, my workday pretty much becomes what I make of it. I have a certain degree of flexibility, allowing me to try different things and find more work. For me this is perfect. I want to learn, contribute and be as good a sailor as I can be.

7. What are your plans for the future?

I have one year left as a deckhand apprentice, and hopefully I will receive my certificate next year. Then I will apply to college, seeking a bachelor’s degree in nautical studies before, hopefully, returning to Eidesvik as a cadet. Right now, my goal is to become a captain. But my ambitions might change, and I am going forward step by step. That’s the beauty of a career at sea: You can run a tight race toward the top of the career ladder, but you can also choose to have small stops along the way to do other things you like.

8. What would you like to say to others following in your footsteps?

If you want to be at sea, can cope with being away from home, and love to work, just go for it!

I have been lucky and knew early what I wanted to do in life. Still, it was actually a bit scary to start on the school ship Gann, since I did not come from a seaman’s family or had the same maritime background as many of the other students. But the two-year study was fantastic, showing me that the maritime education is right for everyone who wants to go to sea – regardless of their background. If you feel a bit unsure, give it a try and remember that you have the possibility to switch studies or career if this is not right for you.