As Chief Officer, Sabrina Jikander is responsible for the staff, the cargo, the ship’s stability and maintenance on board. She’s also a member of the ship management team. It’s a great mix of posts in a coordinating role.
IT WAS DURING HER TIME IN THE SWEDISH NAVY that Sabrina Jikander made up her mind to start a career at sea. Having finished the Media Programme at high-school, she was unsure of what to study at university. One of her older brothers, who works in the Army, spoke heartily of the military service and friends to the family spoke especially heartily of the Navy. So, she felt that going through the military service would probably not be a waste of time. It’s a decision she’s never regretted. "It was a bit of a gamble, but proved to be just right," she says without hesitance.
She continued her training at the Swedish National Defence College and is today Navy Reserve Officer with the rank of Lieutenant. Then followed a bachelor’s degree in Nautical Science at Chalmers University of Technology. "That I wanted to work at sea and become Master was an idea that developed during my military service."
Sabrina Jikander is now Chief Officer of the RoRo vessel Stena Foreteller, which services the ports of Lübeck, Gdynia, Paldiski and Hanko. She is one of three Deck Officers on board, apart from the Master. In Stena Foreteller’s crew of 18 persons, there are also four Engineer Officers. In addition, two cadets are often servicing on board as well. As Chief Officer, Sabrina Jikander is responsible for the staff, the cargo, the ship’s stability and maintenance on board. She’s also a member of the ship management team.
I’m kind of a production manager," says Sabrina Jikander.
All this work is conducted in parallel with all the departures and discharge and loading operations. As Chief Officer, she is constantly standby. If something happens that may damage the cargo, the rest of the crew is obliged to inform Sabrina immediately.
"So, it’s not so easy to get a full-night’s sleep. At the same time, it’s the variation that makes the job so interesting. Despite us calling the same ports, no voyage is like the other. The route varies from voyage to voyage. In addition, there are always new maintenance projects that need to be carried through. So, time moves very fast on board."
When she, despite all tasks, gets some time off to relax, she usually runs at the treadmill in the gym, watches a film or reads a book.
That Sabrina Jikander is the first female Chief Officer in Northern Marine’s tanker and RoRo fleet isn’t something she ponders that much upon. Her colleagues, on the other hand, think it’s positive and are very proud of her.
"The roles at sea are very gender-neutral, at least that’s how I see it. I would’ve been equally impressed about me getting this far even if I would’ve been a man. The wages are also equal and are solely based on your certificate."