Interview with Capt. Seul Gu on the BTS Calypso
Since this is the first female captain we have had on board our fleet here in Asia we thought it would be a good opportunity to interview her and find out why she decided to go to see and what her job is like. So here is our interview with Capt. Seul Gu on the BTS Calypso.
Q: Where and how did you begin your career in shipping Capt. Seul?
A: I entered the Korea Maritime University and found that there were opportunities to become an officer aboard a ship, as well as shore based careers. Since I was interested in the maritime industry and the subjects to be studied were interesting, my goal became to become a seafarer. Most people disagree with my career choice saying that working aboard a ship is not for women which made me wonder why not and keen to find out if this was true. During my senior university years, I joined my first vessel as a Deck Cadet, and found enjoyed sailing a lot, and felt that this career fitted me well, and so I decided to pursue this career after graduation.
Q: What did you enjoy that made you pursue career at sea rather than ashore?
A: I tried working in the office for a few months during one of my vacations but I got bored with the routine very quickly. I dislike sitting in one place and staring at a computer screen all day. Working on board a ship is a lot more exciting than working in a 5-by-5 foot space cubicle office and while there is routine of course, I get to experience so many real-life challenges, that I need to manage and solve with my team. Also we visit different countries and meet different people, so learning about different cultures and lifestyles… The list of good points is endless.. Once ashore for my vacation, I have lots of time to travel around the world.
Q: What challenges have you faced on board? How do you deal with them?
A: Well, life on board a ship is full of challenges. Every day, there is something new. New rules, new regulations, new tasks, new procedures and working with different nationalities are challenges that I face every day. Learning to adapt and adjust to new things are common traits of a seafarer and very much needed. Understanding other cultures also helps me to deal in a mixed and diverse nationality environment.
Q: Have you worked with women on board of ships before?
A: Yes, I have worked with a woman 4th engineer when I was a Chief Officer. So far with so few women choosing seafaring careers the opportunities of working alongside other female sailors has been limited. I do not see it as very different to working with me, we are all professional, have a job to do, and need to get along with each other whether male or female. Every person no matter what sex they are has their own personality.
Q: Now you have become Captain of BTS Calypso, what are your next career ambitions?
A: My aim is to be a pilot in Korea after I gain enough experience as a Master. I also want to pursue a Master’s degree and PhD in Maritime Law. Maybe one day, I will work for the IMO!
Q: What would be your advice for women who want to pursue a career at sea?
A: I recommend women not to think that they are women in a male environment, and to take every career step as an opportunity to learn and experience new things. Everyone on board a ship are people working for a ship, professional and dedicated – I wouldn’t stereotype people as a male or a female.For me, so far it has been a great career path and I have enjoyed it a lot.