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From Sea to Shore: Chief Engineers Embrace Norstar’s Office Program for Career Growth

24 May 2023

By Shwe Yamin Aye, Communications and Media Specialist  

Starting a new career path can be both exciting and daunting, especially when it involves leaving the familiar shores of the sea and venturing into the dynamic world of shore-based work. At Norstar, we have introduced a program that allows our Chief Engineers to experience office-based roles.

Min Han Tun (Min) has recently completed the 6-month program. With an impressive 19-year sailing career, Min joined Norstar’s program after his last voyage as a Chief Engineer aboard the Oriental Jasmine. Min, a father of two young children, was motivated by his strong desire to transition into a shore-based position to prioritize spending more quality time with his family. Reflecting on his decision, Min shared, “Sailing means I need to be away from my family for a prolonged period, and I hope to spend more time with my son and daughter.” The program emerged as the perfect opportunity for Min, who had never previously held an office job.

The program’s training played a pivotal role in Min’s successful transition. From the outset, Min was entrusted with full ownership of his position, gaining valuable insights into the duties of a Technical Superintendent. Through hands-on experience and guidance from fellow technical superintendents, he acquired the necessary skills to handle one of our managed vessels independently. Furthermore, Min had the privilege of assisting other technical superintendents with their vessels, expanding his responsibilities to oversee up to four ships in total. Min handled negotiating with vendors and made necessary judgment calls on orders, enhancing his decision-making capabilities.

Min’s journey with Norstar’s program fostered a deeper appreciation and understanding of the shore staff. Previously, as a seafarer, he struggled to comprehend why purchasing department could not fulfil last-minute orders. However, taking on a role in the office allowed him to witness the complex processes and challenges the task entails.  As a technical superintendent, Min became the vital link between seafarers, vendors, and owners, ensuring everyone’s needs were met. With this newfound perspective, Min now bridges the gap between sea and shore, sharing his invaluable insights with the onboard crew and facilitating a smoother workflow.

The transition from working at sea to a shore-based position presented Min with notable similarities and differences. His role as a chief engineer at sea demanded physical endurance and long hours in hazardous environments. However, Min encountered a different set of challenges as a technical superintendent. His job became more mentally stimulating, requiring him to manage the expectations of multiple stakeholders and develop creative problem-solving skills. While hard skills were vital for his onboard role, Min discovered that soft skills took center stage in his shore-based position. On this point, Min shared, “When I was onboard I only had to deal with my team of 7 people. In my new position, I must oversee the whole vessel’s operations and manage the expectations of multiple stakeholders.

To aspiring individuals looking to embark on a similar journey, Min offers advice: “The job is not as simple as one might assume it to be.” Mental preparation is crucial to navigating the demands of a shore-based role successfully. By acknowledging the extensive responsibilities and intricate processes involved, one can better prepare for the transformative experience that awaits them.

Norstar’s program has opened opportunities for individuals like Min, allowing them to transition from their roles at sea to work at the shore for 6 – 8 months. Based in Singapore, this position offers valuable insights into the responsibilities of a Technical Superintendent. Following a comprehensive induction process, successful candidates will gain the necessary skills and knowledge to manage one or more vessels independently.


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