Sunday 18th Nov, 2018

THE GRILL: Volkan Caliskan

Photo: Volkan Caliskan
Photo: Volkan Caliskan

What vessel are you on?
Currently I’m on MV Vanguard, a bulk carrier. I’m a third officer.

What does a typical day at work look like?
I can describe a typical day in this ship with just one word – monotonous. I keep navigation watch and check safety equipment. When I’m not doing that, I kill time with some television series while drinking beer. We usually have long voyage times and in-port time for us is always very short.

Why did you go to sea?
It was a total coincidence. I’m the first mariner in whole family tree.

Before my university entrance exam, I could choose from 15 possible paths. I chose programs having to do with electronics and computers, but I had three slots left. I read about the maritime faculty in a booklet I found; it said “students can become captains, and they can see the world”. I thought: “oh, I can see the world free of charge!?” And that was that, the story began there.

What are your impressions of Australia?
Loading is really fast in Australian ports so I haven’t had a chance to see much of the country, and the ports I’ve been to are pretty far from the cities. Australia is terribly hot – that’s all I know. I don’t really like the ports in Australia because rules are very strict like no other. But, everybody is friendly, and I like that.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years’ time?
The only think I’m sure about is that I don’t want to see myself at sea after 10 years.

If you could name a vessel, what would it be?
I would name it “Lone Wolf”. The hardest thing about the sea is loneliness for me. And you have to be strong, lone and strong… like a wolf. I admit the ocean and wolves might not fit but you get the point.

What’s your favourite thing to eat?
Steak, because I’m a carnivore!

When you were growing up what did you want to be?
While I was growing up in Istanbul I wanted to be a graphic designer. My friends told me I was quite talented in the field. But, money was (and still is) very important to my father, and he pushed me to go into maritime studies.

What is your favourite book?
My favourite book is Lord of the Rings because I really love fantasy fiction, and Tolkien is the father of fantasy novels.

Favourite movie?
I really love epic movies, and my favourite is Gladiator.

If you won the lotto, what would you do with the money?
I would buy a house with huge garage and a huge garden with trees. It would be a bit outside of the city, or a green place within the city. I would ride my motorbike all day, and also spend time with my friends. Eventually, I would find the right woman to marry.

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From the print edition March 16, 2017

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