Captain Domenico Rodrigues onboard Far Sagaris share his story on how his view of female seafarers has changed tremendously through his career. Today he is one of the Company’s key ambassadors in giving everyone equal opportunities!
by Captain Domênico Rodrigues
Joined Solstad: 1999
I never underestimated the women’s strength. My father was a seafarer and used to embark for months as sea. In that way, my mother not only played her role as a mother, but also as a father, and she did not fail in her mission.
I started my career offshore on board a supply vessel and gained the necessary maneuvering skills before given the opportunity to work onboard an anchor handler. Onboard we had great Norwegian mentors and at this stage I met some Brazilian women who recently started their seafarer career on the bridge and machinery site. In conversation with these women I met on each vessel, they all told me that they just wanted to spend a short time there to try to work onshore or on a platform. I did not understand how a person goes to school to work at sea then work onshore shortly after completing their training!!! I decided to tell the Company never to send any woman Deck Officer to the vessel I was embarked. A few years later, one of my Deck Officers could not embark and the Company informed me that there was only one female Deck Officer that could replace him on a temporary basis. I reluctantly accepted it, mainly because it was for a short period.
In conversation with this Officer, she told me that she wanted to make a career and wanted my support. I invested my time and patience to mentor her for a year, and then, she left our Company to work on a platform with arguments I did not understand. Again, I was disappointed in confirmation of my first impressions over female Officers, then I informed the Company that even for a short time I would not accept women on board.
Some years later, when I went to Norway as part of the Brazilian crew for familiarization of a new vessel scheduled to operate in Brazil, the company sent a female Deck Officer. I got angry, of course, but it was promised it was temporary and only to bring the vessel over to Brazil. During those months where I got to learn how the female officer carried out her tasks, I saw how she solved all issues with remarkable skills and resilience. Always creative, intelligent and even when the things were difficult, she always had a smile on her face and a professional attitude.
When we arrived in Brazil, the company asked me if I wanted to replace her by a male Deck Officer. I was very proud to have such professional in my team and felt that it was time to make a female AHTS Captain in the Company, and she had all abilities needed, correct posture, clear communication and commitment to the Company: the perfect formula.
Ironically after she changed my traditional impression, more women cadets appeared on my vessel and during their training they showed the same determination and passion for the seafarer profession. Of course, I did recommend keeping them after their cadet period finished and soon my bridge team was entirely made up of women. They are the ones who manage the whole part of the deck services, they operate the bridge equipment with total confidence and dexterity, they are strong and smart.
“I don’t see them as women, but as excellent seafarers.”Captain Domênico Rodrigues, Far Sagaris
The woman who changed my impression of female seafarers is Verônica Rodrigues, at that time wmy Deck Officer and currently Chief Officer on board Far Sagaris on Captain’s Waldemir Pinto’s shift.