Content Writer, OceanHub
13 Feb 2018 11:31 (GMT+1)

Changing Perceptions In Shipbuilding

The OceanHub Interview With Naval Architect & Marine Engineer Zornica Petrova

As women make up just two percent of the world's Maritime workforce, Zornica Petrova has broken through barriers in Shipbuilding. Today, she is challenging the industry while exploring the significant Ocean Space potential of her home country of Bulgaria.

International Women's Day is March 8, 2018, a global movement celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women.  This year, Zornica Petrova will commemorate the day by doing what she does best: quietly going about her shipbuilding work, devoid of any political coloring. Just another day at the office.

"It is good to remind the young generation about this day because in the past, women were not equal to men," she said. "And much of the rights they have now, were previously just a dream."

Zornica is a Naval Architect and Marine Engineer with a strong track record in Shipbuilding design.  Zornica has worked for several national and multi-national Shipbuilding companies throughout Europe. Today, she is part of the IHB ship design team in Bulgaria, working in 3D Modeling for new building projects.  Her focus is in two areas. From one side is a ship theory, which includes hull form and ship motion/seakeeping evaluation. From another side, she works in feasibility and Engineering, which includes hull and outfitting.

Over the years, Zornica's views on Shipbuilding have evolved from when she was younger. Today, she has a clear vision of what the industry is facing, even as the demands of the shipbuilding profession increase.

"Nowadays, to be a Naval Architect / Marine Engineer is quite challenging," she said. "From me, it is expected to be flexible due to the specifics of the shipbuilding industry and project workload."

"At the beginning of my professional development, one of my first tasks was to design accommodations and public areas on cruise vessels. Later on, a concurrence of circumstances gave me a chance to return to the ship’s theory for a long time as part of BSHC-Varna. After some time, it became possible for me to kick off into the design team of one of the leading offshore design companies in Norway. Unfortunately, the oil crisis reflected to the offshore market, which was one of the reasons to accept a job position in Bulgaria." 

As an OceanHub Influencer Zornica is writing Articles on OceanHub to build awareness about the Bulgarian Maritime industry, foster new relationships in Shipbuilding and to grow her own influence in the Ocean Space.

Her goal is to challenge the Ocean Space with new ideas, initating dicussions that are relevant in Shipbuilding while showcasing the opportunities in her home country of Bulgaria

About Zornica Petrova  She received her Masters in Naval Architecture at the Technical University of Varna and her Management and Administration degree from College of Economics and Management. Besides Shipbuilding, Zornica's second passion is traveling. Her travels have inspired her to create a personal travel blog, where she shares her impressions of all the places she has visited.

Read Zornica's latest OceanHub  Articles on her Profile and learn more details on her career below


What Is The Status Of Today's Shipbuilding Industry?

Although it’s conservative in nature, some new technologies are also emerging in the Shipbuilding industry. The production process is continuously automated, the building methods are improved, new materials for the hull and accommodation areas are being developed. In recent years, we have seen more and more projects, where the use of wind and sun is a driving force. In the near future, we will see the first environmentally friendly floating cities. As far as ship design is concerned, the software we use for designing has become an integral part of each project. We can make up to the smallest details and recreate any architectural solutions. We also have the ability to obtain all the production information, which significantly reduces the time factor in any project. So, our industry is constantly being upgraded, trying to reach new and higher standards/goals. And where is the limit of our capabilities? Who knows ...

What Challenges Do Women Face In Shipbuilding? 

It is true, that the participation of women in the Maritime sector is an exception to the rule. Shipbuilding in particular is a rather conservative industry and it is still perceived as a reserved area, mainly for male colleagues. In recent years, we have witnessed the trend of demographic collapse in the European countries. The population of our continent is aging and the interest in the “demanding” engineering disciplines is declining among the younger generation. That is wh  women can pretty well fill the shortage in our industry. Still, I can say that the situation in Europe is much better than in some other continents, where women continue to be underestimated as a workforce.

What Are The Challenges In Bulgaria?

As I mention in my first Article, the shipbuilding sector in Bulgaria is recovering extremely quickly and is on track to reach its full potential. Our advantages are the good quality of work, competitive labor costs, compliance with the production deadlines - and a good name in the Maritime industry. This year, the Bulgarian presidency on the Council of the European Union has focused the international community's attention to the opportunities that our country can offer businesses, and in particular, the Maritime sector.

What Drew You To OceanHub?

As a network, OceanHub is very valuable because it’s free and it’s full of people that you can work with or learn from. Discussions on this community platform can lead to future opportunities for participants, in terms of help, advice and in regards to starting your own business or expanding your industry knowledge.

What Is The Focus of Your Articles?

I am coming up with ideas that are connected with the Maritime industry in the Black Sea region. The main focus would be my home country of Bulgaria. Is the Bulgarian Maritime industry interesting to the OceanHub community? I hope so - because this is one forgotten market with significant potential. I’ve started, step-by-step, to show the opportunities while creating and developing the businesses relationships there."

What Do You Hope To Accomplish?

My wish is to use my perceptions to reinterpret the world of the Shipbuilding industry around me. To try to engage the audience with ideas and issues, to initiate discussions about the shared topics and finally (but not least) to build relationships and create new contacts. Of course I would appreciate constructive criticism in order to improve what is necessary in my blog. Actually, after the first publication, I receive quite a lot positive feedbacks as well as it gave me the ability to contact with many of the Bulgarian maritime companies, which are helping me to promote the branch as a whole

"My blogs should be interesting to a bigger part of the Ocean‘s audience. My desire was to get away from clichés, to create relevant articles that my audience would find informative, to provoke reactions and - why not - even discussions. 

What Has Been The Response So Far? 

Actually, after the first publication, I receive quite a lot of positive feedback -  as well as it gave me the ability to contact with many of the Bulgarian Maritime companies, which are helping me to promote the branch as a whole. Because I wish to be a successful blogger, I know that writing continuously and sharing only my professional experience is not enough. It is necessary to share various kinds of information, then to present it in an understandable and creative way and create expectations for what will be written in the next article.

Why Is International Women’s Day Important To You?

International Women's Day is an ordinary work day in Bulgaria, devoid of any political coloring. However, it is good to remind the young generation, that this is a day of international recognition of the economic, political and social achievements of women, because in the past, women were not equal to men and much of the rights they have now, were previously just a dream.


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