February Feature :: 40 jobs that keep the ship going
The past 40 years of OM Ships' history have welcomed thousands of eager men and women on board with a passion to serve God and share His love. Every volunteer has at least one job to help keep the vessel operating and to see the purpose fulfilled.
Some come with willing hearts and hands to serve in whatever area they can help, often learning practical skills that will serve them well beyond their time on board. Others join to use their professional skills in a specific role on the ship. For many, their time on board has been the stepping stone to serving God longer term in various regions of the world.
Every job, both on board and on shore, is vital to keeping the ship ministry going and while some carry more responsibility than others, each "part of the body" is necessary for maximum effectiveness.
Following, in no particular order of importance, are 40 different jobs that keep the ship going:
When one thinks of ships, the Captain, technically known as the Master, is one obvious job. This person is responsible for the safe operation of the vessel and to ensure it meets today's ever increasing maritime requirements. On Logos Hope, Dirk Colenbrander (The Netherlands) is Captain and sees the opportunity as the fulfilment of a childhood dream. Hear his story at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Np-y_kcPh4
Something that makes our vessels different from most others is that children are part of the community living on board. To ensure that these boys and girls continue growing in their education, some of the volunteers bring their teaching credentials to facilitate this learning.
Book Hold Team Member
Another unique job for our vessels is the team working in the book hold. These hard working individuals are responsible for the logistics of receiving, pricing and stocking over 5,000 different titles that are then made available in the book fair.
Line Up Project Manager
About three months prior to a visit, a "line up" team is sent ahead of the ship to prepare the way. They are responsible for permissions, partnership, publicity and many others logistical issues that need to be confirmed prior to arrival. They also stay busy during their port visit as they ensure their contacts are connected with the right person on board and that the visit progresses as smoothly as possible.
The "book ship" as it is known in some ports also has a well stocked community library on board. This area offers crew and staff access to a range of reference and reading material as a well as a space to study. The librarian assists with the lending process and ensures books are returned.
Maintaining the health of a 400 person community that is constantly changing locations can be a challenge. The ship's doctor and medical staff treat injuries and handle other medical crises, ensure vaccinations are current, provide preventative care and help educate the community about health related matters.
While the Captain is responsible for the technical aspects, security and safety of the ship, the Logos Hope Director is responsible for the community and the ministry of the ship. Working with a team of leaders, Gian Walser (Switzerland) leads the community on Logos Hope. He is one of several managing directors for the organisation who oversee the ministry as a whole under the leadership of the CEO.
Steel on board ships corrode quickly because of the environment. Having skilled welders is an essential part of the technical team. From structural welding to pipe fitting, the work requires skill, precision and an ability to work in cramped spaces.
While the deck department is responsible for the navigation and sailing of the vessel itself, the travel coordinator handles the logistics of airfares and some other aspects of the community's comings and goings.
While their job is one that many would prefer not to have, the ship's plumber is an important role on board. From installing new piping in the bowels of the ship to dealing with a bunker station that has filled up with "black water" (sewage) this job is much more than just blocked sinks or toilets.
While many crew members are part of the fire "attack" and support teams, the fireman is a specific role within the deck department. This person is responsible for monitoring and maintaining the tools and systems used for firefighting. Fire drills are a regular part of ship life and ensure the team is prepared for an emergency.
Help Ministries Coordinator
With help being a central part of the ship's purpose, each port offers opportunities for the community to bring practical demonstrations of God's love. Whether through donations, medical clinics, building projects or other means, these efforts are coordinated by the Help Ministries team on board.
To ensure the correct operation of the many systems in the "heart of the ship" the engine room watchkeepers provide a watchful eye by keeping around the clock shifts. This is a requirement by law to have the engine room manned at all times thus giving an extra layer of safety. Many of the watchkeepers arrive without the necessary knowledge but after several months of training their behind the scenes service is critical to keeping the community safe and the systems running properly.
All the baked goods on board, both for the community and the public, is made by the bakers. These individuals start their days very early to ensure fresh bread is available for meals and that the yummy cookies are in good supply for the International Café.
Some opt for a close cropped hairstyle that they can maintain themselves while on board but many of the crew and staff very much appreciates it when a trained hairdresser is part the community and can serve in this capacity.
While the ship is sailing from port to port, a team based on shore oversees the future ports. Part of this responsibility is the initial surveys to decide which ports will be added to the schedule. These surveys look at numerous aspects of a visit to evaluate each port or region and the suitability for a ship visit.
Cleaning Team Member
Known on board as the "angels" this team daily cleans the ship's public and community spaces and provides deep cleaning when needed for cabins. While the work may seem mundane, their cheerful attitudes as they work around the ship are a source of encouragement for many.
To ensure suitable transportation is available while in port, the ship sails with vehicles on board. These are loaded and unloaded by crane and are available to licensed drivers within the ship community. However there is also normally a "ship's driver" on the team who handles much of the business related driving needs and often makes middle of the night trips in unfamiliar places.
As part of the engine room team, the waterman (or woman) handles the logistics of connecting the ship with the local fresh water supply which is often delivered by trucks in some parts of the world. This person also chlorinates and transfers the water to appropriate tanks when it has to be used.
Service Desk Representative
The service desk team are responsible for providing information for the community, guests and the public who come on board through personal interaction, the paging system (public announcements) and other means as well as being the first point of contact for phone calls to the ship.
Working with the Captain and others, the Purser assists the Captain with ship’s business such managing crew and staff passports, organising airfreights, containers and ship's van clearance. The purser is the point of contact for immigration and other authorities in the port at the ship's arrival and departure.
While many are involved in customer service and the onboard logistics of the book fair, a small team works diligently on shore to keep the books coming. With many years of relationships with a number of publishers and suppliers around the world, the books are sourced at low cost to ensure the prices on board are affordable for all.
Logos Hope features a state of the art dental clinic, thanks to the generous sponsorship of a number of organisations. To ensure the health of the community's teeth and gums, the ship often has a qualified dentist serving on board in this capacity. In certain ports, public clinics are also offered to provide some help to those in greatest need on shore.
In most ports of call, the volunteer programme is a special opportunity for local people to get a taste of ship life. The volunteer coordinator role oversees this programme to ensure the participants receive orientation and have a meaningful experience on board.
In every port a number of events are held on board and the events team strives to ensure that every programme participants has a great experience on board. From the planning and organising of different people involved to the clean up afterwards the process is significant for each event that takes place.
Audio Visual (AV) Technician
With the 400 seat Hope Theatre and the 350 person capacity of the Logos Lounge, there are many events in every port that need light, sound, and video. This is delivered through modern systems that require trained technicians.
An often-overlooked role, many ship mums combine caring for their families on board with a second role to help in some aspect of the ship community. In addition, their life experience allows them to be mentors for others in the community including those in their "ship family" – a small group that meets together regularly.
From replacing light fixtures and fixing appliances to major rewiring projects in the engine room, the electricians maintain the electrical system on board. The ship offers 220 and 440 Volt power and the electricians strive to ensure the safe operation of everything that requires electricity to work. The Power Up Logos Hope project is a significant electrical project that is being prepared for now and will require the help of skilled electricians who can volunteer their expertise. Please
to express your interest in this opportunity.
Pantry Team Member
After every meal, the panty team tackles the plates, cups and silverware used by the 400 people on board. With a cheerful attitude, team members also ensure the cleanliness of the dining room and keep the refreshments, fruit and bread in supply.
Laundry Team Member
While the need to save water sometimes reduces the washing capacity, the team who serve in the laundry on deck 1 works hard to keep people in clean clothes. They also launder the many pillowcases, sheets, towels and other linens used by the community and the guests who stay on board.
Media Relations Officer
Taking interviews and leading tours of the ship, this person is responsible for working with the media to ensure understanding of the ship and it's purpose in each port of call. In partnership with the line up team, they work to make the public aware of the details of the visit.
Responsible to provide suitable spiritual and practical teaching and input for the ships community, the training manager oversees the invitation and scheduling of teachers for community times as well the bi-annual Pre-Ship Training (PST) for new crew and staff joining the vessel.
Information Technology (IT) Technician
In today's modern world computers, networks and communication systems are critical tools and on board the ship this is no different. Much of this connectivity is handled through the onboard satellite internet system with additional bandwidth added through local connections when possible. The IT team oversee all these things and even find time to offer personal computer support a couple of times a week.
Responsible for the galley (ship's kitchen), the executive chef oversees the creation of meals for the 400 person community three times a day. Working with shift leaders who handle much of the detail, the chef is often found teaching galley team members about the culinary arts.
The "Chief" oversees all operations and maintenance for any engineering equipment on the ship as well as giving leadership to the engine room team. With today's maritime regulations this is a complex job and has been filled by a number of people in recent years. A long term Chief Engineer is a critical role the organisation hopes to see filled soon. For more information about this need, please
With one on board and one on shore, the graphic designers are responsible for the visual presentation of the organisation in print and web materials. Working within the ship's brand they provide a variety of resources to help communicate and engage with local and international audiences.
Ship Safety Officer (SSO)
The SSO is responsible to oversee and train the community regarding safety on board the vessel. A ship can be a dangerous environment to the untrained and with most of the crew and staff not coming with maritime experience, this is an ongoing effort to keep people thinking about safety and how their actions can affect everyone.
International Café Team Member
After being welcomed on board, browsing the book fair and going through the Journey of Life, the International Café is a welcome sight for many. Team members provide refreshments and delicious treats that visitors can enjoy during conversation with international crewmembers.
The finance team oversee many financial transactions every day, from community members getting their "pocket money" to settling accounts with businesses at the end of a port visit. While the organisation operates with the Euro as a standard currency, the team works in many currencies on a regular basis as the ship travels port to port, country to country.
While not really a "job", the ship mascot (whose name is not technically Spanish) usually brings smiles to the faces of all who see him. Not able to talk, he engages with great gusto through gestures and actions and helps bring some welcome distraction during a long wait to when the line is long to get on board.
Men and women from all around the world have joined our crew. Will you?
Oh, send out Your light and Your truth! Let them lead me; let them bring me to Your holy hill and to Your tabernacle. Then I will go to the altar of God, to God my exceeding joy; and on the harp I will praise You, O God, my God.