Dmytro Shlopak (33)
I am from Odessa in Ukraine. There I attended the national maritime university in Odessa, the ONMA, a six-year course. I chose sailing for the money and the romance. Unfortunately, there is currently little money and little romance. That is due to corona, but also to the financial policy of shipping companies.
I have been working at sea for 19 years. I started out as a cadet on a container ship. At one point I switched to this shipping company, where I sail on an oil tanker. Here I also started as a cadet and promoted to first officer. We mainly sail on Europe and the east coasts of South and North America. I’ve been to Rotterdam many times, but unfortunately only in the harbor. I’ve seen the terminals, but never the city.
On board it is mainly work. Sometimes I talk to other crew members, but I don’t do much else. We used to get leave and we could disembark in the ports, but due to corona that is no longer allowed. Most places where sailors gather, such as sailors’ houses, are also still closed.
My family fled to Germany because of the war. When my contract for this trip expires, I’ll go to them. I keep in touch with my family through the internet. On this ship I work together with crew members from Russia and Ukraine. When the war started, not much changed on board. No one understood exactly what happened. It’s a problem with the Russian president, that crazy man. We all agree on that.