Hello *awkwardly waves*, my name is Anna Yang, an A level student currently interning at SEYPEC (Seychelles Petroleum Company Limited) courtesy of SYAH. SEYPEC is among the largest businesses in Seychelles, owned 100% by the government, which deals with importation and re-exportation of fuel and fuel-related products for Seychelles. Currently, they own six tankers – Seychelles Prelude, Seychelles Patriot, Seychelles Pioneer, Seychelles Progress, Seychelles Pride and the smallest, Seychelles Paradise. On Tuesday, I was lucky enough to be on board to observe the loading of gasoil as well as to familiarise myself with the tanker before sailing on it to visit the Praslin Depot on the next day.
First impression of the German-made tanker - “woah it’s huge,” which is true (though my fellow interns from SPA might disagree) with it about 70m in length and 13m in breadth, the green giant with various red pipes snaking on the deck and a white crane, was a sight to see. On board, dressed in safety shoes with a neon yellow helmet, I was immediately briefed on the safety procedures: no smoking, no using mobile phones and cameras on the deck, only on the bridge. Next, was the tour of the tanker, getting glimpses of the kitchen, mess hall, crew cabin and finally the blissfully air-conditioned bridge, where Captain Nelson Adrienne and First Officer Joel Renaud was there to greet my chaperone, the lovely Luisa Waye-Hive and I. They were both kind and generous enough to tolerate my every question ranging from their job experiences to “what does this button/monitor do.” Glad to say, I now have a clear concept of “driving” the tanker now (though it was wise of them not to let me) as well as the sophisticated software and jobs required on board. Later, I toured the generator room with the German marine engineer, where three generators buzz and viewed the ballast pumps for fire fighting. Lunch was prepared by the Cook which was seafood pasta, a genuine incentive to join the crew.
The next day, I shuffled on board the tanker half-asleep at 4 in the morning for the departure to the Praslin depot, while the 12 men crew were cheerily awake and bustling about. It was all worth it when you breathe in the sea air and watch the sun colour the skies, the scene reminds you that Seychelles is truly a paradise. The tranquillity and peace in that moment gave me an inkling of the sea life Mr Renaud raves about, in his effort to convince me to change my career. Arriving at the Praslin Depot, the unloading of cargo truly presents the teamwork spirit amongst the crew with the pipe being dropped from the ship to the waiting team on the pier and connected to the fuel tanks at the depot, as well as the complex manoeuvring of the lubricants to the pier as well. All in all, the tanker trip and the visit to the Praslin Depot was one of the many highlights of my first week of internship.
A word of advice, to those pursuing the seafarer career from the experienced captain and first officer; the job is taxing especially on your social life since you can spend up to 8 months away from home, but the perks of travelling around the world, meeting new people as well as enjoying the tranquillity and peace on the sea, makes it worth it. Mr Renaud especially emphasises perseverance and commitment as keys to progressing up the field.