“We are a coastal nation with longstanding seafaring traditions. My father, grandfather and great grandfather all had maritime careers, so it’s basically in the DNA to become a seafarer”, said Odfjell’s Erik Thorvaldsen. He sailed his cadetship onboard Bow Flora, and recently got promoted: On July 15th, he’s heading out to the chemical tanker Bow Spring for his first tour as 3rd Engineer.
Erik Thorvaldsen and his colleague Even Reiersølsmoen represented the Norwegian cadets at the Quality Flag Reception held in Oslo during Nor-Shipping. The Norwegian Maritime Authority, the Norwegian Shipowners’ Association and the Ministry of Industry and Trade joined together to celebrate the recruitment to the industry and a growing number of Norwegian flagged ships.
Over the past years, the Norwegian government has implemented a selection of new incentives to improve the recruitment and strengthen Norwegian shipping industry in a fiercely competitive international market.
“Our competitors are not in Norway. They are in Dubai, Houston, Rotterdam and Singapore. It is absolutely critical for us to have a political maritime framework that enables us to compete on the same level as international shipowners. Access to competence, technology and capital is also of vital importance. Today, we have all of this in Norway, which is why we have flagged home 12 vessels the past year alone, and why Even and Erik are standing here today as newly recruited seafares”
Harald Fotland, COO, Odfjell SE
“A growing number of Norwegian flagged ships has been our goal for several years. We see the positive development as a sign that our maritime politics work”
Torbjørn Røe Isaksen, Norwegian Minister of Trade and Industry
Among the incentives is a salary scheme for Norwegian cadets. Odfjell has embraced the opportunity, and has hired more than 60 cadets and trainees over the past three years. Among them are Erik and Even. “I wanted to be a part of the maritime industry, and work and learn together with colleagues from Europe and the Philippines”, said Even.
Erik Thorvaldsen sailed with Odfjell as trainee, and came back as cadet after completing his Maritime Engineering studies at the Bergen Maritime University. “It was great coming back to the same company after two years at school. As cadets and trainees, we are closely followed up from shore and onboard, and gain experience and competence from fellow seafarers”.
The two young talents fully support initiatives that contribute to the Norwegian maritime industry and competence:
“The Norwegian shipping industry has strong traditions and a seafaring competence that has been handed down through generations, for hundreds of years. It is important to sustain this competence, and it may be even more important in this day and age considering the rapid changes in technology and the environmental challenges we face”
They are both about to sign on for a new turn onboard, one for his first turn as 3rd Engineer, the other for his second trip as Engineer cadet. “The best part of being an Engineer onboard is the varied work. No days are the same and you get to solve a wide selection of tasks. I look forward to visiting new countries and cultures, and to continue my training onboard”, Even said.
“Agreed. I very much look forward to getting started as 3rd Engineer, and get to know new colleagues onboard”, Erik concludes.