As a child, Maleera Sasinda wanted to be an engineer. When he heard about how his friend’s father sailed around the world as a seafarer, he decided to become a marine engineer.
“Honestly I didn’t know what to expect. I knew that seafarers could travel around the world and that the salary was good. At high school, my friend showed me pictures of where his father sailed to and also some stories about his father’s work. That made it very interesting for me,” said Maleera.
Maleera boarded his first vessel in 2010 in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. He was then an engine cadet. “It was also the first time in my life I had travelled by plane. I travelled with three others; a captain, an AB (Able Bodied) and a deck cadet. After a delay of two days we finally went onboard. It was a reefer which carried fruits and meats. As that was the first time I was away from my parents and country, I suddenly felt lonely and sad.”
Over time Maleera made friends and got accustomed to life onboard, including coping with seasickness. “When we arrived at Capetown, South Africa, I got really ill. I threw up a lot. My colleagues told me to get fresh air on deck and also shared with me their tips for overcoming seasickness. They also told me that it would be ok over time. Their encouragement and support helped me a lot.”
Melbourne, Australia, holds memories for Maleera. “I got to visit my friends and relatives, and also explored Melbourne with them. I got the same food as my hometown. To me, it was such an amazing opportunity.”
When asked what was the one piece of advice that he would give to anyone who wished to consider being a seafarer, Maleera replied: “A high level of tolerance and strong endurance; reason being that there are always different situations, tasks and challenges to respond to. We need to be both mentally and physically strong.”
And what makes him proud to be a seafarer? “I help to keep the supply lines for the world economy, alive.”