Content Writer, OceanHub
21 Feb 2018 12:01 (GMT+1)

Ship Captain Stands By 'Real Seamanship'

The OceanHub Interview With Francesco Suma

The Italian sea commander focuses his OceanHub Articles on the skills that successful captains need to demonstrate in order to steer their profession into a future that is being tested 

Being the captain of the ship is no small task. Responsible for the vessel's safety and operational efficiencies, sea captains look after security, cargo operations, navigation, crew management and the overall seaworthiness of the ship.

Marine Pilot and Port Captain Francesco Suma of Italy is up for the job.

"I want to promote real seamanship which, nowadays, has been lost in the industry," said Francesco, who goes by Frank.

As methods for developing the skills of ship captains have changed, Frank wonders if they are producing better results. He cites the recent adoption of new technology, such as high-tech simulators and virtual reality training.

"We are assisting nowadays in more and more training centers with the mission to improve this situation and give more training to the officers in deck hotel and engine," he said. "But are we sure that all this theory and simulations are really working out?"

Frank started his sea career as a deck cadet. Today, he holds an unlimited masters license with seven years in command among his 18 years of total sea service experience. He speaks Italian, English, and Spanish.

Today Frank translates his relevant work experience as a ship captain with his own contributions on the OceanHub platform. His Articles run the gammut from best practices to deliver cargo safely, personal value and meritocracy, to basic lifeboat safety training.  

Frank also takes a critical look at the traditional Marine recruitment process, which he said favors nepotism, and friends helping friends over the more important factors such as education, Maritime skills and relevant work experience. As an avid networker on OceanHub as well as other social networks including LinkedIn, Frank has amassed close to 16000 followers.

"People are more likely to listen to, trust, believe, and follow those who are acknowledged experts in their expertise," Frank said. "They tend to exert more influence and common greater remuneration. When given the choice, people prefer to deal with experts  - and will pay for the privilege."

In addition, Frank is getting started on a new business concept to bring back old-style cruise ships that he hopes will enable new names in the cruise ship industry to gain traction.

"We want to invite all maritime brand sponsors, reality tv producers, social networks administrators who would like to take a part in this great project to join us," he said

As an OceanHub Influencer, Francesco Suma is seeking to grow his network, improve the shipping profession while promoting his own ventures and ideas.

About Francesco Suma Frank is a Master Mariner with unlimited master's license. He has seven years in Command and a total 18 years of sea service experience serving on board cargo ships like RoRo, car carriers, heavy lift, project cargo, bulk,containers, and pax like cruise, ferries and megayachts. He speaks fluent English and Spanish and has worldwide routing experience. Frank graduated from Nautical School in 2000

Read his latest OceanHub Articles on his Profile and learn more about Frank through his answers to the profile questions below


What Are The Challenges Facing Sea Captains Today?

We are assisting nowadays in more and more training centers with the mission to improve this situation and give more training to the officers in deck hotel and engine. But are we sure that all this theory and simulations are really working out? In a room on shore all is easily done as you know this is just a simulation but on board the situation is totally different. Nobody, even the psychologist taking part in these simulations, knows how the human brain is reacting in a real situation. My philosophy is totally different, which is why I want to create the first owner-managed cruise ship. I have acquired the right experience on board with many years of studying, practicing, watching and analyzing many situations. 

What Is The Best Training For A Sea Captin?

I have reached the conclusion that training on board is the best system to have a guaranteed professional crew. This will give you the maximum guarantee that they will do the job properly and not create chaos when an uncomfortable situation occurs. Personally, as a real captain, I'm not limiited to just sitting in my Captain chair, manouvering the vessel or just taking part in the cocktails party or muppet shows. I am around the vessel, making sure all the needed jobs are properly done, 24/7. 

My crew is fully aware of what they have to do in order to make sure any cruise succeeds. When the guests are writing their comments on social networks or travel website, they will give a real positive opinion and will suggest to other guests to come and try our service. There are many crew memebers who have been unlucky to be included in this particular world because of the monopoly of recruiting agencies and companies who are making a wrong selection process  - always hiring the same people who are friends of friends or parents networking. This is absolutely wrong. 

What Is Your Area Of Expertise?

I am a very competent captain with 360-degrees experience in the shipping industry and full knowledge about ship building, safety, navigation, management. I have an Unlimited Master license and have 7 years in Command and total 18 years Sea Service serving on board cargo ships like RoRo, car carriers, heavy lift,project cargo, bulk,containers, and pax like Cruise, Ferries and megayachts and can be also on OSV, AHTS no dp and CTV having made experience and having great boat handling skills. I speak fluently English and Spanish and Worldwide routing experience


What Is Your Professional Background?

I graduated in 2000 from Nautical School, Francesco Caracciolo in Bari (Italy), which has a very long history in graduating lots of very professional Captains. I started my sea career as a deck cadet on a chemical vessels. That was a great experience as I gained lots of knowledge about the work on deck, such as mantainance, tank inspections, soundings, cargo handling. Because chemicals are very delicate cargo, the navigation was very important experience. In six months we had been almost around the Globe. I have lots of experience with other vessels as well.


What Are Your Goals As An OceanHub Influencer?

My main goal as a blogger is that people are more likely to listen to, trust, believe, and follow those who are acknowledged experts in their expertise tend to exert more influence and comman greater remuneration. When given the choice, people prefer to deal with experts and will pay for the privilege. Most people defer to those they consider experts — even to the point of not questioning the expert’s logic or mental processes. They defer simply because the person is perceived as an expert in your field, they will also tend to solicit your advice  in arenas that may be out of your realm of expertise.People like to deal with experts because it gives them greater assurance that the job will be done correctly, which in the long run can save them time, money, and aggravation. They gladly pay steep premiums to hire experts and love to declare, “I hired the best….” Some might even take delight in broadcasting how much that expert charged. Dealing with experts elevates their status; it implies that they must be smart, financial secure, well connected, or special to be involved with the best. 

What Topics Will You Discuss on OceanHub?

My topic is essentially focused on personal onboard experiences which I would like to share with professionals. Also I want to promote real seamanship which, nowadays, has been lost in the industry. I also have a very interesting project in the cruising industy for which I'm seeking serious investors. I  have posted an Article about this project. Blogging requires a great deal of time. For blogs to be effective at SEO and engaging readers, it needs to be updated regularly. The internet is littered with abandoned blogs that haven't been updated in months - or even years. The success of blogging comes from having people return - and they only return when there's new stuff to read. That means generating content at least several times a week, which takes time. To keep the content coming, you have to have ideas to write about. The good news is that you don't have to write it all. The payoff isn't immediate. One of the biggest frustrations with blogging is that it's time-consuming with little payoff in the beginning. It takes time to build up a readership and momentum.

Why OceanHub?

I'm here on this great platform because you are allowing  people to be influenced by people who are true authoriies on the subject. In contrast, entertainers often use their fame to pontificate about politics. These people use their skills as entertainers to assist in giving us the perception that they speak with authority when discussing foreign affairs, political matters, and the nation’s agenda. However, if you take their expertise on political matters into consideration, you would usually find that the majority of entertainers are hardly experts. The depth of political reasoning we expect from an expert is lacking. The actor’s skill in speaking in an authoritative manner and our own perception of them as experts in the entertainment business clouds our judgement. It leaves us open targets for influence! This doesn’t mean I am saying that entertainers can’t voice their opinion. I am just suggesting that it is wise to look at their knowledge of the subject matter before we grant them the right to influence us. Are they an expert? Should I allow their opinion to sway me because they possess specialized knowledge of the issue? Am I transferring their status as an expert in one area over to this issue without the transfer of the status being warranted?” If you consistently ask yourself these types of questions, you will ensure that you are influenced more by facts than the opinions from people who are not authorities.

 What Is Your Passion Project?

My project is very simple. I want to give a chance to the people who have always wished to work on board a cruise ship but have had the possibility to be noted from the big names in the market. We want to take back the market of the old-style cruise ships which, thanks to the big monsters floating condo-buildings in the seas nowadays, are due to die. But they an give more and travel in this wonderful planet with many destinations which for the big condos are hard to reach. I have a plan. The website will soon be available, the workforce is ready to start working for it. There are many vessels on the market nowadays that can be easily purchased or chartered. The ideal vessel would be of the capacity of maximum 1000 pax or slightly morethat are very easily to be filled in. For the pollution regulation, this is also not a problem, as you can still make a modification on the vessel instaling the scrubber that can reduce the concentration of the gases burned in the air. It is possible on more recent vessels but also I believe in the older ones, too.  So you can apply to the ECA or SECA area transit even, if in the ECA zone you have to burn diesel, with the scrubber system you can apply to transit anyway. 

My idea is first targeting the millenials which are the biggest percentage of travelers nowadays - but all guests will be welcome to join. We want to invite all maritime brand sponsors, reality tv producers, social networks administrators who would like to take a part of this great project to join us.Think about this great chance that you will have in be part of this great project but first of all the first experiment for the first own managed Cruise Ship! You have all the necessary guarantee that the project is going to work because people with the needed experience are involved in it as my self Captain with 18 years at sea especially in the passenger sector I have gained all needed knowledge. Recently I have benn cooperating with shipyards in Croatia and, where required, I am following all building and refit process of vessels and megayachts. 

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