Seafarers’ Corner: Career Progression at Thome

By TGN Editorial 

In life, we sail through a series of wave-like challenges that mold our morals, values, and successes. To reach our goal, we will find ourselves dealing with different challenges.

For seafarers, it is common to go from one ship to another whenever their contract with their employer ends. It is not necessarily bad, especially if you find a better opportunity to help your professional and personal growth. If truth be told, staying loyal to one company is rare. In this issue of TGN,

Thome seafarers who have been with the company for a long time shared their stories of success, advice to aspiring seafarers, and learnings through the years.

How did you start your career with Thome?

Capt. Kristel Manimtim started at Thome as a Cadet. “I tried applying to every company I came across with but no luck. Only here in Thome was I given a chance to prove myself as someone who had the potential to become an officer.”

Capt. Manimtim now serves as a Technical TrainingInstructor at Thome Maritime Academy, Inc. (TMI).

Chief Engineer Menandro Vicmundo shared his journey with Thome. “I joined Thome as a senior officer, but before I became a senior officer, I started my seafaring career in 1991 as a humble Engine Cadet. What prepared me for this opportunity was rigorous education and training from a premier Maritime Academy. After proving my worth as a diligent worker, I was promoted to a junior officer, a fourth Engineer, and later into a Third Engineer position. These stages of my career progression play a vital role in developing my professional and technical prowess. They were priceless.”

C/E Vicmundo now serves as a Technical Training Instructor at Thome Maritime Academy, Inc. (TMI).

Captain J. Emmanuel Guilas looked back on how he started as an Ordinary Seaman (OS). “I started my career with the Thome Group in 1995 as an Ordinary Seaman (OS), joining the bulk ship MS Nord Kap from the principal Norden. A  close friend of mine introduced TSM Philippines to me and convinced me to join the company since they had an excellent program for aspiring officers.” He added, “Actually, I was hesitant at first because I was already employed in a good company and had a contract with them in their Cadet program. After carefully evaluating the circumstances and the long-term benefits I could achieve, I decided to withdraw from my previous company cadet program and join TSM Philippines.”

Capt. Guilas now serves as a Technical Instructor – Deck at TMI.

Capt. Alfredo Ibarbia, TMI’s Regional Training Manager –Southeast Asia, started as a Deck Cadet. “In 1989, I applied to Thome as Deck Cadet and successfully passed the screening process; my first vessel was the MT Wind Sunrise.”

What are the challenges you have encountered and the learnings you have gained during your career?

For Capt. Guilas, immersing himself in studying helped him cope with challenges. “There were so many challenges encountered as I progressed through the years. Challenges are commonly connected to rank duties and responsibilities. So, to cope with that challenge, I immersed myself in reading and knowing what was needed to be learned.”

C/E Vicmundo narrates those various challenges are often onboard. “Challenges may present themselves as a mechanical failure on various types of machinery, which you need to attend at once to avoid possible successive problems like machinery damage, delays, off-hires, and demurrage.”

“Personnel management can sometimes be a challenge as well. Though it’s not always the case, there are instances wherein your workers cannot focus properly on work because of some personal problems at home. So, personnel management doesn’t end up by giving your people assigned work to accomplish; it also involves understanding the condition of your people, and sometimes they need to talk to
them and eventually, to give them counsel.”

What qualities and traits must cadets and seafarers have to obtain their goals?

Love your work. “Firstly, put love into what you do. If you want to achieve it, you must embrace it wholeheartedly. The rest of the other needed qualities will follow. Sacrifice, hard work, and determination must be present to get past challenges. And of course, as has been said earlier, never be satisfied,” said Capt. Guilas.

C/E Vicmundo added, “Cadets must have humility, righteousness, and a sense of responsibility to obtain their goals.”

What is your advice to up-and-coming cadets on career growth and promotion?

To accept delayed gratification is what Capt. Manimtim’s advice is to new cadets. He said, “Learning is a never-ending process from cadetship until they become master. Even well-experienced masters understand this fact and do not stop learning new things. It is effortless to rest and relax once we reach the top until our career’s pinnacle. We should exercise delayed gratification and always set time to study and learn in our day-to-day activities.”

For Capt. Ibarbia, staying focused on your goal is the key. He mentioned, “Cadets need to focus on their goals, develop a plan, set a timeline, execute the plan, anticipate potential obstacles, and apply effective solutions. In-house training is provided to enhance their knowledge and skills; all the practical aspects are available onboard. They should follow the career progression process in TGP 5.1.6 to accelerate their promotion.”

How was your working experience as a seafarer at Thome Group?

Continuous career growth is what Capt. Manimtim loves most about Thome Group. He said, “I had many job offers from other companies with a higher salary, but I still chose to stay with Thome because of their never-ending support to my career growth. Every achievement and challenge I encountered on each vessel, Thome was always there to back me up and ensure that together we resolve each issue that we are encountering on board.”

Capt. Ibarbia added, “Having spent my full seafaring career at Thome is something that I’m very grateful for. The pre–ISM Code years were very challenging in shipboard safety, where accidents frequently happened onboard due to a lack of safety procedures. New regulations came into force to promote the safety of life at sea and protect the marine environment. Thome Group coped with these challenges by applying the
new regulations to its Safety Management System, which considerably minimized the number of incidents. I witnessed the Thome Group’s growth from 1989, having single-digit vessels to manage growing to over 300 vessels; the number shows that Thome’s Vision, Mission, and CORE values establishment plays a big role in its success.”

What is your advice to aspiring seafarers?

The bigger the dream, the bigger the sacrifice. Capt. Manimtim said, “Accept the fact that there is an equivalent sacrifice. The higher the dream, the bigger the sacrifice, the more fulfilling and satisfying it is when you reach that dream because you know that you did everything possible.”

C/E Vicmundo’s advice to seafarers is to never quit. “As the rough saying goes, Rest if you must, but don’t quit.” He added, “This will be the cycle of your endeavor; there will be light moments and tough moments. What is important is that you keep a steadfast hold on your dreams.”

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