Before Yashvardhan Singh joined Maersk as a Cadet, he lived in a small town, and had never been on a flight before. Today he is travelling the world while working as a 3rd Engineer on a Maersk vessel, and has become a global citizen. Yashvardhan Singh seized the opportunity to challenge himself and unfolded his potential. He took a risk that in his own words turned out to be the best decision of his life.
Did you always know you wanted to work out at sea?
To be honest with you, I never knew that I would be joining the shipping industry as an engineer. I knew that I wanted to become an engineer but, which one? That wasn’t decided. Marine engineering was an opportunity that came my way when I was searching for a good option. I was intimidated and attracted by the shipping industry at the same time, but I decided to take the step forward. I think it’s wonderful that some decisions that are taken with a little risk turn out to be the best decisions of our lives.
How did you end up as a Cadet with Maersk?
I was studying at my maritime college in the second year of engineering when I heard about Maersk coming to the campus for placements. I knew that it is one of the best shipping companies in the world. I was a little nervous and intimidated at first, wondering if a boy from a small town in India could get through such an amazing company. I did the written tests and passed them. Then it was time for the Interview. I remember the Interviewer asked me why I wanted to join Maersk. My straight answer was that I want to work hard and get the best out of everything in life. After a week or two, the final placement list was put up and I was dancing with joy to see my name on the list. Hence started my career with Maersk as a Cadet.
If you could go back in time what advice would you give yourself when you first started working as a Cadet?
Just as any other Cadet, I was inexperienced and young. I had little or no idea about how life on-board is. In the beginning, I started to run away from problems, run away from situations, run away from the environment on the ship, which led to a very difficult phase for me. If I could go back in time, I would tell myself to face all problems head on, tackle everything with a strong mind and never be disheartened by the number of failures in life. After all, these are the steppingstones to success.
“…never be disheartened by the number of failures in life. After all, these are the steppingstones to success”
What is the best part of your day working at sea?
Every day onboard a ship is a new day with new experiences. The best part of my day is when I complete the jobs allotted to me successfully. Whenever I overhaul any machinery and make it run successfully, I feel accomplished. These small victories everyday motivate me to pursue bigger challenges in life. I become more confident and competent to handle whatever life throws at me. Later the peaceful night sleep after a hardworking and successful day at work is something that cannot be compared to anything. It is magically relaxing, both mentally and physically.
“These small victories everyday motivate me to pursue bigger challenges in life.”
What is the best memory you have so far from your time working at sea?
Of all the years that I have been at sea, there are multiple moments where I have felt that this is the best moment of my life. I will share one of them.
When the Covid Pandemic hit the world, crew relief was cancelled, and our contracts were extended a lot. I joined for a 5 months contract and ended up being onboard for more than 8 months. When I was finally about to sign off, the Chief Engineer on my ship called me for a final appraisal. He had written a wonderful appraisal for me. He told me that although I was onboard for an 8 months period, which is very long, I never gave up on my job and worked hard every day with the same passion as day 1. He recommended me for a promotion from a 4th Engineer to a 3rd Engineer and told me “I don’t know if you will be promoted on your next ship or not, but to me you are already a Third Engineer”. When I did receive my promotion, I messaged him about it to which he replied “You always deserved it. I am happy to see you going up all the way from here and take up my rank someday”
That was one of the most beautiful moments of my life at sea.
What advice would you give someone who wants a career in seafaring?
The sea is a career that welcomes everyone but only a few who are strong willed, mentally and emotionally strong survive till the end. To all those who wants to join, make sure you are not just lured by the money and world travel, but ready to work hard and have a strong resilient attitude towards life. If you are ready to give your 100% you will find this career very rewarding.
“If you are ready to give your 100% you will find this career very rewarding”
What should a young graduate consider when applying for a job in seafaring?
When I started as a Cadet, I was often assigned to clean the machineries. I used to feel very bad that after studying so much, all I am getting to do is cleaning machineries and maintain cleanliness. I was really upset and wanted to quit. When the Chief Engineer saw me disheartened, he explained to me that every job on the ship, no matter how small contributes to the efficient running of our ship. With cleaning, I am evading hazards of slips, trips and falls and preventing multiple accidents that happens daily. He also told me that this teaches new employees to locate all machineries, pumps and control systems. In the event of emergency, the mind will run very smoothly as we know where to go. This helped me a lot and I started taking every job seriously and didn’t want to run away from work anymore. Slowly I started going with the engineers to overhauling machineries and loved every bit of it.