Beinta and Rikke, two colleagues from Maersk Training, recently ventured into uncharted waters, embarking on a transformative 5-day voyage aboard the mighty Madrid Maersk—a triple-E container ship that epitomises cutting-edge maritime engineering.
Wearing the hats of a Project Manager and a Leadership Consultant at Maersk Training’s Headquarters in Svendborg, Beinta and Rikke recognised the crucial importance of comprehending the intricacies of operations within their domain. Little did they know that this unique opportunity would unveil invaluable insights into the daily life of the remarkable crew navigating the vast seas.
Read their story below and embark on a unique adventure into the heart of maritime life, where every wave tells a tale of innovation and resilience.
Voyage Through Maritime Excellence
From the expansive deck to the busy engine room and the commanding bridge, our journey was a fascinating dive into the heart of maritime operations. Walking in the shoes of our dedicated crew members, we observed firsthand the dedication, precision, and teamwork that drove our vessel safely forward from the Port of Aarhus to Bremerhaven.
Deck Crisis: Swift Resolution Mastery
On the deck, we witnessed a sudden complication of a container placed in the wrong position late at night and how the deck crew resolved things quickly. This underscored the importance of precise handling of cargo with an understanding of the precision required for every manoeuvre.
Exploring the Ships Powerhouse
The engine room near the bottom revealed the powerhouse of the ship, usually very hot and noisy with countless alarms going off. We observed the engineering excellence for two hours and later gathered for tea and quality time in the control room where we talked about cultural differences and similarities.
Atop the bridge, we learned about the complex coordination and decision-making that guides the ship through its course 24 hours a day. We also came to understand the importance of safety aboard the vessel, and participated, among other things, in emergency exercises managed by the Chief Officer. These exercises are a common and crucial part of the crew’s daily life at sea – every member of the crew is obligated to participate.
Navigating the Unknown
For us, life at sea was unpredictable and unknown. We felt like small bricks. The weather changed suddenly from peaceful calm to rainy storms. The WIFI was poor, and suddenly we were far away from our daily life filled with entertainment from streaming services, social media etc. Time felt different – we noticed things we don’t normally pay attention to, which allowed us to have good and deep conversations. And when we suddenly got hit by delays of 2 days because of an overcrowded port, we were taken aback not realizing the risks of this.
Understanding Seafarer’s World
There are a lot of factors in the shipping industry affecting schedules and timelines for the transportation of goods across the globe. However, we should also remember the uncertainties that come with sailing regarding the crew and their families. The work life of a seafarer is clearly different from that of a project manager or leadership consultant due to the unique challenges, environment, and responsibilities associated with maritime work. A seafarer’s work involves long periods away from home and family, often enduring isolation and unpredictable working hours. They must cope with the challenges of living and working in compact spaces and difficult weather conditions while ensuring the safety of the vessel, cargo, and crew. Understanding these differences is essential for us to even get close to “speaking the same language”, including providing adequate support, planning and making informed decisions related to maritime operations.
Team Dynamics and Cultural Awareness
The dedication and professionalism exhibited by our crew have resonated deeply and highlighted the importance of teamwork, communication, and adaptability. The complexity of rotating teams where it’s even more crucial that not only the management team but the whole crew feel that they can be themselves and thrive onboard, no matter their national background. This also underscores how important it is to be aware of cultural differences and communicating it.
Sailing Forward: Reflections on Life at Sea
We are excited to leverage these insights to enhance our projects and processes. Together we aim to incorporate these invaluable learnings into our strategies, fostering an environment of innovation and efficiency.
A heartfelt thanks to the crew of Madrid Maersk for their hospitality and for allowing us this eye-opening experience.
Beinta and Rikke – People & Performance Maersk Training