Firstly, thank you for all the positive feedback , comments and messages following last months interview with a Chief Engineer. I am excited to continue this month with Staff Captain.
I have spent a lot of time working with Kai and it is wonderful to see him so content in a position we secured for him. Also the feedback I have received from my client is outstanding. I am sure he will spend many successful and happy years with the company.
Thanks Kai for taking part and being such a pleasure to work with!!
Please tell me about you, your career and background, how did you become Staff Captain?
My name is Kai Odegard, and I am from the port of Bergen in Norway. I am 54 years old and I hold a Master Mariner (Unlimited) Certificate, which means I came up through the ranks of the Navigators. My background is from the Norwegian Navy, where I served for 11 years. Then I decided to go back to school (Merchant Maritime Academy) in order to convert to the Civilian part of the maritime life. I have now worked in the Cruise Industry for a good 20+ years, in the capacities of 2nd Officer, 1st Officer (Navigation Officer), Safety Officer, Chief Officer, and (presently) Staff Captain.
What is your favourite part of the job?
My favourite part of the job must be without a doubt that I can work together with so many nationalities. By having colleagues from all parts of the world really enriches you in so many ways I never thought about before. I really feel blessed. Of course, being able to see all the various parts of the world is not bad either. I have visited 126 different countries so far.
What is the most challenging issues you face as Staff Captain?
A Staff Captain sometimes need to be able to “juggle” several tasks at the same time. We really are talking about some serious multi-tasking. Once in a while one must do something not so positive when it comes to personnel issues, and one needs to make some difficult decisions which can have an impact on a colleagues career. As a Manager/Leader one must be brutally honest sometimes. Although one can do it in a humane way of course.
What advice would you give to junior deck Officers?
If you don’t ask questions your colleagues will presume you already know the answer. Never ever be afraid to ask questions. Not one day goes by without me asking my colleagues questions. And, do not be in a hurry. I understand some of us are more ambitious than others, but don’t let that be your main focus. Your experience should be the main focus.
What are your thoughts on the challenges we face with the environment and how can we combat them?
It took a long time before several industries finally accepted that we need to do something in regards to our environment. Our own (Maritime) industry was probably one of the slowest out of the start blocks when it comes to this. The biggest challenge we in our industry face, is the fact that regulations often come as a reaction instead of pro-action. In addition, we still have a lot of sectors, operators, and nations, where the maritime environment is still a low priority. We need to globally put pressure in those areas of the industry.
What should people consider before embarking on a career at sea?
Travelling the world sounds romantic, but it is just a small part of life as a seafarer. There will be long lonely days, and days where you miss your family and friends back home. But there will be interesting work, interesting colleagues, and possibilities for a long and prosperous career.
If you didn’t have a career at sea what would you be doing?
I would probably have moved to England at a young age so I could play Full Back for England’s national team in football. Jokes aside, I can not think of any other job.
What do you like to do to wind down when on leave?
I like to take pictures (photos). And I like to watch movies. Occasionally binge-watch a TV series