interview to Maersk captain

In dialogue with iProfesional, a Maersk company captain reveals the demands and satisfactions offered by the crucial activity for trade

This Thursday, June 25, the International Merchant Marine Day, an activity of vital importance for the globalized world in which we live.

In fact, the development of maritime routes has always been fundamental for the development projects of Argentina, which since the beginning of the last century has sought to enhance its export profile.

In this context, it is of particular interest to know what are the experiences and the spirit that motivates women and men of the sea that carry out international transport. To account for her vision, the captain of a Maersk company container ship, Beate Stelzer, dialogued with iProfessional.

Involved since 2004 in maritime navigation and present in Maersk since 2018 (since the acquisition of Hamburg Süd), the captain of German origin is inspired by the phrase “the route is the goal”. Here are the details of how he lives this challenging profession.

– How would you define the essence of the profession of merchant sailor?

– The focus of our work on board is placed on the care and supply of the ship, the cargo and the crew. Of course, our goal is to provide a service for the benefit of commerce and our clients.

– What defines a good merchant marine today? What should be your main skills to excel in this activity?

– A good merchant seaman must be flexible at all times and must be “open” for sudden changes that may occur in situations such as weather changes, technical and even personal problems.

On the other hand, a merchant seaman has to have skills that allow him work independently, creatively and flexibly.

– What are the main challenges that this profession poses today?

– One of our main challenges is to optimize costs and processes, managing to reduce environmental impact and improving people’s quality of life.

– And what about the satisfactions generated in this work? What would you highlight especially about your task?

I feel satisfaction if my team is happy and my planning is valid. Something I highlight about my task is the possibility of observe the wonderful nature of the sea, whales, dolphins, stars at night and see the sky with clouds with different shapes. The light in the early morning and at night are unique moments.

– Regarding your particular history, when did you decide to enter the profession? Could it be that you had another previous profession?

– When I was 16 years old I decided that throughout my life I should have more than one profession. It was clear to me that after having worked 20 years in an activity, I had to change my career to have the opportunity to pursue a second profession. Thus, I worked in an intensive care and anesthesia unit for many years, before starting my work in navigation.

– Was it difficult to enter this profession, as it may have started later than other colleagues?

– It was not easy. For example, I felt that young university students saw me as a strange case or thought that something was happening to me, otherwise I would not start a new career at this stage of my life.

I have come across many prejudices on my way as being a woman who is fulfilling her dreams and wants to have more responsibility is viewed suspiciously. If a man changes his career to fulfill his dreams and earn more money, he is immediately accepted by society.

– Do you remember how your entry into the company was? What expectations did you have and what is it like today?

– When I started my career in Maersk my expectation was to get support to develop my career as a woman in the merchant marine, and this is something that is now a reality.

– What would you recommend to men and women who want to participate in this profession?

As a starting point, they must be clear that this profession requires being able to be away from home, family and friends for long periods of time. They must love and respect the sea!

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