On 7 December Goldenport Odessa – Oceangold Odessa held their annual crew conference. It was the second time the seafarers and their guests who have worked with the company for many years gathered to discuss vital issues of the maritime industry. Goldenport Odessa is crewing arm of the Goldenport group which includes, Goldenport Shipmanagement Ltd, Goldenport Yachts and Oceangold Tankers Inc.
Today the company’s fleet includes tankers, containers, bulkers and also mega yachts. The lion’s share of all crews are Ukrainians – about 90%. 280 seafarers are currently employed in the tanker fleet, and 160 seafarers are provided by Oceangold Odessa, the crewing company which facilitates employment of seafarers for the tanker fleet.
The conference participants were: President and founder of the Group Cpt. Paris Dragnis, Cpt. Nikolaos Kotsiras (Manager of GOLDENPORT ODESSA), Cpt. Vassilios Leousis (Crew Manager of Oceangold tankers), Mr. Nikolaos Kokkinos (crew manager of GOLDENPORT SHIPMANAGEMENT Ltd.), Cpt. Vladimir Kuznetsov (crew manager of OCEANGOLD ODESSA), Cpt. Alexandros Papagiannopoulos (DPA manager of GOLDENPORT SHIPMANAGEMENT Ltd.), Mr. Yevgeniy Kuznetsov and Mr. Igor Radzevich (Marine managers of Bureau Veritas in Ukraine), Mr. Pavel Svertilov (C.I.S. PANDI Services Ltd.), Cpt. Yuriy Buchkovsky (Training director of AVANT training school), Mr. Alexander Pipchenko (Pastera training center), the partner companies representatives and the crew of GOLDENPORT ODESSA.
The first speaker was Cpt. Vassilios Leousis with his presentation of Oceangold Odessa and its fleet. He mentioned that Oceangold Tankers owns and operates a fleet of crude and product tankers. Among the other competitive advantages and benefits he highlighted:
– crew Rotation Scheme (4 by 4 – usually on same vessel);
– vetting and Performance Bonuses;
– senior Officer Re-Joining Bonuses;
– internet access;
– Oceangold Welfare Fund;
– young age fleet;
– deck Cadet Program & Engine Cadet Program.
The next speaker, Mr. Nikolaos Kokkinos, made a cadetship program presentation. A cadetship program plays an important part of Goldenport policy, as it perhaps determines the future of the company’s crews.
Mr Kokkinos opened by sayin, “It’s great to see familiar faces and also so many new people.” The сompany establishes a program of cadetship with the Odessa National Maritime Academy, and they hope to expand that project in the future. Due to the tough situation in the maritime industry, many companies now have stopped their cadet programs in order to get ready-qualified seafarers. “The only way for Goldenport to progress is to invest in the cadetship program,” said Mr. Kokkinos. “It’s very difficult for cadets to find a job on a vessel, so they need to work hard to be competitive.”
“For the current year, company has already employed about 60-65 cadets. Ukrainian girls may find jobs Goldenport’s yacht fleet, as stewardess and galley staff. For the moment 5-6 girls work on our boats. Unfortunately, there is a limit to how many people Goldenport can employ due to accommodation and certificate restrictions.”
Cpt. Alexandros Papagiannopoulos spoke about marine pollution and the impact on the environment and the human element part.
As he said, 80% of oil spills and marine accidents are caused by either individual errors of organizational failures. He also distinguished the categories of marine discharges, which lead to pollution in shipping industry. They are:
– accidental (oil spills due to accidents, such as collisions, groundings, etc)
– collisions (groundings);
– operational (pollution emanated due to the operation of the ships – engines emissions, ballast water exchanges, garbage disposal);
– intentional (discharges of bilges/sludges, outside the designated piping system, dumping of garbage).
He also pointed the importance of the training toward the minimization of the pollution incidents risk and the role of the Company in this effort.
Then Mr. Yevgeniy Kuznetsov with Mr. Igor Radzevich talked about water ballast management.
“Compliance with emerging regulations regarding ballast water management (BWM) will be one of the biggest challenges for the shipping industry in the near future” said Mr. Kuznetsov.
All relevant vessels shall have installed a ballast water treatment system (BWTS) to inactivate invasive species and prevent the spread of non-native aquatic species in lakes, rivers and coastal waters. The IMO implementation schedule for BWTS implies that the installation must take place during the “first IOPP renewal survey after the entry into force of the convention” at the latest. D-1 method is going to be obsolete. D-2 method is becoming a must.
He proceeded with a speech about ship recycling service and EU regulation 2015/757 for marine monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV).
The second panel of speakers began with a presentation by the partner bank and Odessa training centers. Then, the senior seafarers of the сompany were presented with the certificates of appreciation and memorable gifts.
“I have been working with Goldenport since the 2000s. I saw with my own eyes the company’s growth, how the fleet was increased and renewed. When I came to Mr. Dragnis’ company I felt almost the same good relationship, as it was at the BLASCO. The mentality of the Greeks is very close to ours, and they are treated their employees humanly,” said Cpt Alexandr Nikolaev. “My son and daughter are also closely associated with this company. The main thing for me is to maintain good relations, which we have in Goldenport.”
The other awarded one, chief engineer Evgeniy Kirillin, said: “Goldenport is a family company. I have been working with them for 20 years, and the company has always found me my place. Wages have also always been paid on time. Now my grandaughter is studying in the second year at the navigational faculty, Cpt. Dragnis offered her to practice in the yacht fleet.”
Cpt. Paris Dragnis, the founder of the Group, greeted the audience, shared his impressions about the meeting and said that seafarers always had been treated as members of the big company’s family and that was the key factor of success in maritime industry.
“I fell in love with Ukrainian people,” he stated. “A lot of Ukrainians have a holiday on our sail-boats, including celebrities and policymakers.”
“I think the best we can offer to Ukrainian seafarers is the regular employment, loyal behavior and good promotion – these are our strong points,” said Mr.Nikolaos Kokkinos. “90% of all our crew are consisted of Ukrainian seafarers. They have made very good progress for the years. I consider, the Odessa Academy a place to get a very good education for seafarers. In turn we, the employers, value good attitude to us. Our applicants’ well-being, honesty and strong English-language are most important for us. That’s why, I think, the Ukrainian seafarers are on a good path and the ones who want to work with us, make a big leap into the future.”
Thinking about the company policy, Cpt Nikolaos Kotsiras added: “Goldenport really gives an opportunity for career development. One can start from seaman AB and finish as a captain on our vessels. In European countries, Ukrainians and Russians have difficulties reaching the top. Working with our company, they have a possibility to become master or chief-engineer.”
As commented Mr. Vasilis Dragnis, the company trains and promotes the cadets from Odessa academy.
The Odessa academy students also shared their impressions about the сompany:
“About one year ago the representatives of Goldenport came to National University “Odessa Maritime Academy” and offered practice on their ships. Now we are back from our first voyage. In general we had excellent attitude and salary. In particular I am satisfied with career growth. After the first voyage I was promoted from the position of motorman to fourth engineer. Goldenport has no problems with promotion as in other companies.
Goldenport is absolutely open for sailors, they have an inherent simplicity in dealing with people. Last year all that we needed to get a position on the ship was to pass an interview. The applicant is required to have an intermediate level of English. As a result we got good wages and the process of employment without any payments.
Goldenport provides free over time. That is, you can get more working hours, if there is such a desire. It’s very convenient. Also the conditions on the vessels are good. Of course, everything depends on the vessel, but many cadets had their own cabin.
We want to continue working with Goldenport, as well as offer to the company some of our suggestions: to make wi-fi free, as we pay $ 15 for 50 MB. I only needed this to send SMS once a week. For another thing to short the term of the contract. For ratings it is a contract for 8 months, which is very difficult for a seafarer.”
For a moment the executive group have a really great design. The company plans to increase the number of oil-tankers, also increase the bulker fleet.
“Now we provide the negotiation for an acquisition of five new bulker vessels, – Cpt Nikolaos Kotsiras said. – Besides that, three more new boats are under construction and they will go down to the yacht fleet, which consists of about 10 yachts right now. When we have new vessels, we’ll employ more officers from Ukraine, actually from Odessa’s office.”
Goldenport co-operates with crew agencies in Vladivostok, Saint-Petersburg, Varna (Bulgaria). Our main recruiting point in Ukraine is Odessa. For many years the company has invested in Odessa, and places its hopes in Ukraine. Goldenport is going to continue investing in the academy program for the new generation and lift young seafarers up to become officers.
Mr. Nikolaos Kokkinos concluded: “The conference let us not only maintain contacts with our partners, but also to develop public relations.”