A glimpse of the inspiring people and stories of the maritime industry.

DECK OFFICER, Ms Baby Tan Shi Ni

Baby Tan Shi Ni is a 2nd Officer with Pacific International Lines, a privately incorporated shipping company in Singapore ranked 15th amongst the top containership operators in the world.

Relatively new to the sector, Baby has sailed 12 months as a Deck Officer with the company, a role that she explains helps ensure safe operation of the vessel. Her day-to-day responsibilities range from navigating the vessel safely while at sea and during cargo operations while in port, to ensuring that life-saving and firefighting appliances are well maintained. These duties, she shares, require key skills and attributes in addition to specific technical knowledge and training.

Baby’s pursuit of these skills and training took on several paths. She attended numerous courses before obtaining her Certificate of Competency (CoC) Class 3 for Deck Officer – these included the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) course, which certifies her as a Radio Operator. In addition, she has since obtained a CoC Class 2, with the help of the SkillsFuture Study Award.

However, she shares that being effective in her role requires more than just technical skills and training. “One of the key skills while navigating a ship is situational awareness. We have to maintain a proper lookout at all times to be aware of our surroundings, in order to make the best decision in changing conditions.”

Mastering these traits, and using them to complement her technical expertise, help her ensure that her job is well done – something that gives her pride when adhoc inspections, such as port state control result in a ‘nil’ deficiency status. This means that everything is done according to protocol. “To have nil deficiency for whatever I am in charge of gives me a great sense of satisfaction,” she beams.

Although her journey in the Sea Transport sector is just beginning, Baby has already identified several trends that ripple through the sector. “One of the changes that I have observed since I have started sailing would be the improvement of welfare for seafarers. The Maritime Labour Convention (MLC) was implemented in 2013 and it sets out the seafarers’ rights to decent conditions of work. For example, under the MLC, each seafarer is required to get a certain amount of rest in a certain period,” she elaborates. The implications of this are evident especially for someone in her role – as they would be better equipped to handle the stress of ensuring the vessel’s safety.

“Individual traits, such as the ability to think rationally under stress, as well as the ability to be assertive, will go a long way towards determining the overall success and career progression of a Deck Officer,” shares Baby.

Source: Skills Framework for Sea Transport
Credit: SkillsFuture Singapore and Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore

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