Meet Steven Blair.
At school he had always wanted to do some kind of engineering as a profession. After seeing an advert for Clyde Marine Training and establishing that he had the correct qualifications for the academic ramp course, he applied and hasn’t looked back since.
Steven says, “During the course I completed a HND in mechanical engineering and an SVQ III in marine engineering operations, as well as gaining almost 12 months sea service as an engineering cadet. During my 3 years, I also obtained various certificates in Sea Survival, Proficiency in Survival Craft, Fire Fighting and First Aid to name but a few. This all led to the final qualification of a Class III/1 Engineer Officer of the Watch license.”
During Steven’s 12 months sea service he visited places that he never normally would have such as Klaipeda in Lithuania, Primorsk in Russia, Kotka in Finland, all over the Scandinavian region, through the Keil canal in northern Germany and across the Atlantic to the USA. Some of his most memorable destinations in the States were Houston Texas, Savannah Georgia and sailing up the Mississippi River.
Steven adds, “I have experienced some pretty amazing things, the memories of which will live with me forever, such as watching the Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans, witnessing the northern lights from the Norwegian sea, 3 killer whales swimming up to get a better look at us, the numerous lightning storms in the Mexican Gulf and not to mention the laughs, parties and nights out that are part and parcel of student life.
He says, “My sea service consisted of 3-4 months trips on board north sea crude oil shuttle tankers and worldwide chemical tankers owned by a Norwegian company called Knutsen OAS Shipping, who are based in Haugesund on the west coast of Norway; a small town with a big maritime history. My main training onboard was to learn the day to day operation of a ship’s engine room as well as learning the maintenance and operation of all machinery and systems. Weekly participation in emergency drills was also valuable experience.”
Steven was delighted to become a fully qualified Engineer on 12th August 2008. After contacting family and friends to tell them the good news he then spoke to the Technical Superintendent for Knutsen UK, to find out if they had any positions available. He wanted to give them the opportunity of hiring him, as they had been the ones who had provided him with the training he needed.
Steven is still sailing with Knusten and has recently been promoted to 2nd Engineer after spending 1 year onboard M/T Sallie Knutsen as a 4th Engineer. He is now sailing on M/T Nancy Knusten, a Finnish built vessel with mostly Finnish Officers, on a, 6 weeks on, 6 weeks off rotation. This is ideal for him as it is a decent amount of time off and not too far away from home.
All in all it has been a great experience which has Steven really enjoyed and he has since encouraged two of his younger cousins to try it for themselves, one of whom is in his second year of his cadetship and the other is looking into different training and shipping companies before deciding which he’d prefer to go for.
Stephen says, “Family aside, it is an industry in which I would encourage any young person male or female to consider, it beats the day to day routine of a shore based job, offers up the chance of visiting some amazing places and opens up many doors of opportunity along the way. I’m really glad I responded to the advert in the paper, otherwise I wouldn’t be where I am now today.”