Captain Sesoni’s journey

Captain Sesoni with his family. Picture: SUPPLIED

EVERY successful story is intertwined with hard work and perseverance.

Captain Sesoni Komaisoso’s story is one that will motivate young seafarers to work hard in order to become successful in the maritime industry.

Capt Sesoni is a Master Class 1 Captain serving his sea time on a Danish ship in Europe.

He started off his career from being a simple deck apprentice or deck cadet with the Fiji Maritime Department (now the Government Shipping Services) and worked his way up the ladder to being a captain of his own vessel sailing on international waters.

“I started in 1985 just after leaving Marist Brothers High School and I joined the Fiji Marine Department in 1985 as a deck cadet or deck apprentice,” he said.

“After I attained my Grade 4 Mate Certificate I started to sail overseas. First I joined the Pacific Foreign Line and Columbus Shipping as a junior officer on board their vessel in 1988 and by the end of 1989 I joined an oil tanker company Dilman Navigation also as a junior officer, but I managed to go to school in between to further my ranks and earnings.

“In 1992, I was promoted to chief officer and in 1996 I had my Grade 2 or Class 2 licence from the Fiji Maritime School which is now the Fiji Maritime Academy and returned to sea still as a chief officer.

“In 2000, I went to school in Australia and there I received my Chief Mate Licence Class 1 and in 2003 I attained my Master Mariner Licence or as they call it Master Class 1.

“This means I can sail on any ship with any tonnage and in any international water which simply means there is no limitation for me.” He says the licence is renewed every five years.

“The condition they have set is that I must go to sea for at least one year in order to keep my certificate valid. I have been a seafarer since 1985 and I don’t go through the same process of my licence renewed because I spend my time out at sea,” he said.

“For others if they want to renew their licence they have to attend short course classes, for me, I do all of those on the ship and so it’s easy to renew my certificate or licence and it’s sent to Australia for renewal. He got his Advanced Diploma in Nautical Science and got his license to sail from the Australian Maritime Safety Authority which he uses today.

“I’ve had a master since 2004 (which is a Captain). I was a master with Dilman Navigation, ASP Ships Management, and Henning Shipping which is Danish company that I joined in 2004. Since this year a company had bought Henning Shipping which is a Danish-based company called Christiania Shipping,” he said.

“I’m lucky that they have taken me on board too and we have about four Fijians working in the company.

“The EU countries do not recognise Fiji licence and the reason I’m there now is because of my Australian licence.

“I always ask myself if this is real or if it’s just a dream. It’s always a seafarer’s dream to become a captain, but to become a captain in Europe especially in the North Sea, the English Channel the Dover Strait, which is one the busiest shipping spots in the world, is a milestone achievement and looking around and seeing that I’m the only Fijian onboard is hard to process at times.

“I have a 15-member crew because most of these big vessels don’t have a lot of crew members. Everything is semi or fully automated and I’m sailing on a chemical tanker vessel and we carry all types of chemicals around Europe, West, East Europe, down to the British Isles (UK), to the Mediterranean and to Africa, which is my major area of trade.”

He says he is the company’s representative on board and he is there to implement the company’s policies and the safety management system at all times.

“I’m there to promote safe and secure environment, to develop an understand an understanding amongst the seafarers regarding the company’s policies. I ensure work performs on board is good especially in all departments and all the heads of departments report to me and I report to the company,” he said.

He said he hoped to see more Fijian seafarers serving sea time in international waters and having Master Class 1 licence.

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