Captain Prashant Deshpande shares insight of life at sea as an Ardmore Seafarer

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Ahead of this year’s IMO Day of the Seafarer, Ardmore Shipping spoke to Captain Prashant Deshpande from the Ardmore Encounter about his seafaring career and his experience of working with Ardmore Shipping over the past six years. 

Why did you choose a career in seafaring?

During my school days, two of my friends and I enrolled in the Sea Cadet Corps, and every weekend we would travel around 35km using public transport to reach the institute which was built in the shape of a ship. All training was conducted here, like communication with semaphore flags, Morse code, different knots of the ropes, sailing, rowing and parade marching. At age of 11 this was a big adventure to travel all alone to the institute and back. Learning more about the life at sea was fascinating and I started to search for career relating to sea. That’s how my career in seafaring began and I have achieved my childhood wish.

What can you remember from your first trip as a deck cadet?

My first voyage as deck cadet was on a general cargo vessel which was twice my age at the time, in 1996. I still remember when I was given the sounding rod for the first time to check sounding and I was completely confused as to what to do with it, until a senior cadet explained it to me onboard. Sometimes I just laugh out loud cherishing all those memories!

Describe how did your career progressed up to Master?

As a cadet, I joined general cargo ships, then worked on handy size bulk carriers. As 2nd officer, I worked on container ships and, after clearing my chief mates exam, I joined the tanker sector, where I used to alternate my contracts on VLCC and MR tankers.

How was your first trip as Master?

I got my first command on the Ardmore Seatrader on 22nd April 2015 and I am proud to say that I was the first candidate to be promoted as Master in Ardmore Shipping through

Univan Ship Management. The letter from our COO, Mark Cameron, on my promotion was highly inspirational, which gave me confidence to perform to the best of my ability.

The transition of responsibility to command a ship was an amazing learning experience, gaining knowledge of handling the ship, understanding the commercial aspect of the ship’s business and fulfilling the client’s expectations on timely loading/discharging of the cargo and meeting the terminals requirements.

Understanding human behavior for crew management onboard and becoming the link between the technical managers and the crew was a new challenge for me. Navigating through the Panama Canal entrance at 2.00am with a wandering Gyro compass due to a GPS Horizontal Dilution of Precision (HDOP) error was an extremely memorable experience on my first ship as Master.

How does sailing with Ardmore Shipping differ from other shipping companies?

Ardmore’s core principles of “professionalism, integrity and respect”, has been the essence of my experience of sailing with the company for the past 6 years. Ardmore’s willingness to go an extra mile for the onboard staff, from life onboard to the arrangements of the crew change in the present pandemic conditions has been one of a kind. Their involvement in the day to day running of the ship and tracking on the future environmental aspects, regulations for shipping and an initiative to upgrade and prepare the ships to achieve those goal as early as possible is remarkable.

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