Seafarers Awareness Week - The thriving Port of Hull through the eyes of seasoned seafarers

By Associated British Ports | Posted: 28 Jun 2018

In Seafarers Awareness Week (23-30 June), ABP is proud to highlight those who risk their lives out at sea to support the Port of Hull and to keep Britain trading. One such crew visited the port earlier this week and shared insights into their careers at sea and their views on Hull.

Captain Alex Gubaev first visited the port as a seafarer more than 30 years ago and has seen its evolution over the years, during many return visits.

Captain Gubaev and his crew were visited by Apostleship of the Sea Port Chaplain, Anne McLaren, who with her team of ship visitors have for several years been supporting seafarers that arrive at ABP’s ports of Hull and Goole.   

It can be a lonely job as a seafarer, so Anne’s role is vital in giving them spiritual and practical support, including sharing information with them about the local area and offering them a quiet space at the Seafarers Centre, to relax and contact family.

Anne visited Captain Gubaev’s 90 metre Arklow Fern vessel that was discharging wheat from Sweden, as it awaited news of the next destination where it will receive its next load of cargo.

Captain Gubaev, said: “I really love my job. Over the years I have gained so much experience and knowledge, not just about my role, but about so many different countries too.

“It’s a good profession and more people should think about it as a career - especially women, who have an important role to play in the industry.

“I love Hull as it was the first port that I visited many years ago.  When I first came here the Humber Bridge had not yet opened to the public and Princes Quay didn’t exist yet. I think things have changed for the better for the city - it’s great.”

The Captain and his crew work three months on and three months off, meaning they can be away from loved ones for extended periods of time.

Another member of the crew, also called Alex, was in good spirits as he was about to take leave and fly home to Poland from Humberside Airport.

Alex Szczygiel is the permanent Chief Engineer on the vessel, a vital role on board, responsible for maintaining the all-important engines.

“I’m looking forward to seeing my daughter and three granddaughters back home, however I wouldn’t change my job for the world,” said Alex.

“I have a balanced life compared to other seafarers who are out at sea for six months at a time.

“Over the years communication has improved immensely, which means I can speak to my family much more frequently. We used to send letters to each other, but now we can just email or facetime.”

ABP Humber Director, Simon Bird, added: “Seafarers do amazing work supporting the maritime sector and their efforts help our Humber ports in our vital role in keeping Britain trading.”

Seafarers Awareness Week is encouraging people to get into the marine industry to coincide with the Government’s Year of Engineering campaign. ABP Humber - the UK’s biggest ports complex comprising Hull, Goole, Immingham and Grimsby - employs people in over 250 jobs, including a variety of engineering careers, office-based staff and marine roles.

The ports are vital in serving the local economy and nation - the Humber ports contribute £2.5 billion to the economy each year and support 34,900 jobs nationally.

Current employment opportunities available at ABP Humber can be found at: www.abports.co.uk/Careers/

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