Solidifying her Maritime Career Purpose with Internships

MaritimeONE scholar Sureka Elangovan had her first glimpse into maritime when she took on an undergraduate degree in Offshore Engineering with the Singapore Institute of Technology.  Graduating with a Diploma in Material Science, entering maritime was not initially in her plans. Yet she decided to take the plunge and has not looked back since. Interning as a Surveyor with American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) has only fuelled her passion for maritime. 

Sureka at the shipyard

Can you describe your internship experience at the American Bureau of Shipping (ABS)?

ABS is a maritime classification society, and I was part of the surveying department and carried out surveying duties with the team. It was a rather hands-on experience as I was primarily at the shipyard instead of the office. I have been involved in several projects, namely Floating Production Storage and Offloading (FPSO) Conversion, and commissioning of offshore projects such as SHELL VITO and SHELL WHALE. 

The internship was eye-opening as I was not attached to a single surveyor but the whole team and the fact that they were handling different projects gave me the privilege of boarding many vessels. My learning experience was much broader and more diverse. The internship was unique and deepened my understanding of maritime. 

 

Vacuum testing to check on welding integrity

Many undergraduates tend to embark on internship journeys in their final year. Why did you choose to do an internship as a freshman?

I was not required to do an internship in my first year, but I wanted to meaningfully use my four-month long summer break. Interning as a freshman has given me a step ahead of my peers and perform better in school because I am able to link theory taught in school with the inspections that I performed and saw first-hand. Moreover, I wanted the exposure. 

As I did not have prior knowledge on maritime, interning with ABS helped in furthering my understanding of the industry where I was able to board a vessel and experience being in the shipyard for the first time.

What would you say was the best part of your internship?

It was an honour and privilege to have worked alongside U.S. Coast Guard (USGC) Senior Marine Inspector, Chief Warrant Officer Michael Smith. This was truly a once in a lifetime opportunity. He was the only USCG Marine Inspector brought to Singapore to oversee two Offshore New Construction projects at the yard and my internship coincided with his stay.  Being an expert in the field, he has a wealth of experience and worked closely with ABS surveyors. Through this period, I was able to attain interesting and valuable learnings from him. 

Sureka with the ABS team

Did you face any challenges and how did you overcome them?

It is a physically demanding role and being the only female, I initially struggled to keep up. For example, there was a project where I had to scale great heights to conduct inspections. 

While challenging, this did not deter me, and I knew that I would get accustomed to it. Even though it may seem like a male-dominated industry now, you have to be fearless. I believe that women should not be intimidated as your gender will not make a difference. The team that I worked with took care and looked out for me, making sure that I was making full use of my time there. I learnt something new every day. 

Do you think that it is important for undergraduates to go for internships?

Yes. Internships give you the space to discover and experience in your field of interest, providing you with real insight into what could be your future. It helps boost your confidence, build networks and develop your professional aptitude. When I was doing my internship, my peers often inquired on the details of my internship and how I landed the opportunity. They understand the importance of internships but some struggle with landing the role. 

Over the years, has there been a change in marine claims trends?

The claims environment ebbs and flows with trade patterns and demand, global events such as the pandemic and the global economic outlook. 

Surveying a tugboat

In that case, do you have any advice for undergraduates on how to make themselves stand out when applying for internships?

I think that they must show interest in the role as well as the maritime industry. Undergraduates should exhibit a willingness to learn despite the challenges that they encounter. You have to possess a can-do attitude. It is also important to apply for roles that you are keen on building a career in. 

Curious about maritime but do not quite know how to get your foot in? Maritime is always on the lookout for newcomers, regardless of your background and the MaritimeONE internships is the ideal gateway into the industry. Who knows, just like Sureka, you may find your calling here. 

Apply for the MaritimeONE scholarships today: https://www.maritimesgconnect.com/maritimeone-internship

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Students from the Singapore Management University and Nanyang Polytechnic were announced as winners of the challenges posed by Eastport Maritime, Kanda and Torvald Klaveness at the Prize Presentation held on 13 November 2021.

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The 2022 SMF New Year Conversations that took place on 13 January 2022 was graced by Guest-of-Honour Mr S Iswaran, Minister for Transport & Minister-in-charge of Trade Relations. Over 250 industry leaders across the breadth of maritime attended physically and virtually.
Singapore was announced to have secured the overall top spot as an international maritime centre for the fifth consecutive time in the DNV-Menon Leading Maritime Cities 2022 report.
Thank you to our industry partners for your strong support.

Mr. Lars Kastrup

CO-PRESIDENT & EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, PACIFIC INTERNATIONAL LINES

Mr. Lars Kastrup is the Co-President and Executive Director of Pacific International Lines (Pte) Ltd (PIL).
Prior to joining PIL, Mr. Kastrup was CEO of NOL/APL, and subsequently assumed the role of Executive Vice President, Strategy and M&A at CMA CGM Group. A veteran in the global shipping industry with over 30 years of experience, Mr Kastrup’s other roles include Executive Vice President of Assets at CMA CGM Group heading up CMA Terminals, CMA Ships, Container Logistics as well as regional carriers such as MacAndrews, OPDR and Mercosul; as well as Vice President at AP Moller-Maersk.
Mr. Kastrup complemented his tertiary education with leadership and management training at Penn State University and The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

Ms. Angeline Teo

MANAGING DIRECTOR & HEAD, GLOBAL TRANSPORTATION & OFFSHORE, OCBC BANK

Ms. Angeline Teo is the Managing Director and Head of Global Transportation and Offshore, Global Corporate Banking at OCBC Bank which focuses on the maritime, aviation, land & port ecosystems.
Ms. Teo has spent over three decades in maritime finance. Prior to OCBC, Ms. Teo was working at ING Bank, ABN Amro and DnB in Singapore focusing on maritime and offshore.
Ms. Teo graduated from the National University of Singapore with a degree in Business Administration.

Mr. John Martin

CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, GARD SINGAPORE

Mr. John Martin began his career in London in 1989 with Richards Hogg Lindley Average Adjusters, and qualified as a Fellow of the UK Association of Average Adjusters in 2000.
At RHL he worked in their offices in Australia, Taiwan and Hong Kong. In 2003 he joined Gard Hong Kong, as a claims handler. Mr. Martin also worked in Gard Japan, and in 2014 he moved to Singapore to set up the Gard Singapore office.
Besides running Gard Singapore, Mr. Martin also heads the P&I and H&M claims units and is the Senior Claims Representative for Gard in Asia.

Mr. Cyril Ducau

CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, EASTERN PACIFIC SHIPPING

Mr. Cyril Ducau is the Chief Executive Officer of Eastern Pacific Shipping Pte Ltd, a leading shipping company headquartered in Singapore for the past 30 years.

He is also currently the Chairman of Kenon Holdings Ltd and a member of the board of directors of Gard P&I (Bermuda) Ltd. and of the Global Centre for Maritime Decarbonisation Limited, which was established by the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore. He was previously Head of Business Development of Quantum Pacific Advisory Limited in London from 2008 to 2012 and acted as Director and Chairman of Pacific Drilling SA between 2011 and 2018.
Prior to joining Quantum Pacific Advisory Limited, Mr. Ducau was Vice President in the Investment Banking Division of Morgan Stanley & Co. International Ltd. in London between 2000 and 2008.
Mr. Ducau graduated from ESCP Europe Business School (Paris, Oxford, Berlin) and holds a Master of Science in business administration and a Diplom Kaufmann.