September 18, 2019

The deployment of the Smart shipping program is in full swing! Conducting the orchestra are the Change Officers, voluntary officers that are specially trained for this mission and who go aboard to accompany change. From Bourbon Explorer 510, Christophe Marnet tells us about this key period of transition and his new profession. A testimonial.

OFFshore: How do you become a Change Officer?

Christophe Marnet: You choose it! I had been a captain for around ten years on Bourbon Offshore Surf PSVs when the group posted an ad for Change Officers. I was curious and interested in Smart shipping. After a week of training in Marseille, I took up my function in October 2018 aboard Bourbon Explorer 504, the pilot vessel. Bourbon Explorer 510 is my fourth vessel and I definitely enjoy this mission a lot! The functions are very different from those of a captain – you become a sort of coach, which is a capacity I didn’t know I had. I’ve learnt a lot. It’s a very rewarding job both for the diversity of the crews and for the situations you are confronted with.

OFFshore: How would you define your mission on board?

C. M.: My objective is to ensure the implementation of the new organization of work on board and to make sure that everything we set up is well assimilated by the crew. I am backed up by a shorebased DSSO (Deployment Shore Support Officer), who helps me conduct my mission and who I frequently keep informed. The progression of the deployment on board is relayed to the project team during our weekly Steering Committee meetings.

OFFshore: How does a typical deployment on board take place?

C. M.: Deployment lasts about 10 weeks, conducted by two squads of Change Officers. The first sets up all the tools during the first five weeks and the second completes the task. Generally speaking, we try to fit in a change of the captain / chief engineer tandem after five weeks to ensure that the two duos have correctly assimilated all the information and will be able to apply the new standards when they get back on board. But I can’t really say that there is such a thing as a typical deployment. We have a roadmap, but each vessel is different and we have to adapt to every situation, especially when operations are in progress.

OFFshore: How are you received by the crews?

C. M.: We are aware that it is not always easy for the crews, but until now I have been lucky to have received a warm welcome from curious and motivated seamen. I haven’t encountered very much resistance, which is a nice surprise.

Bourbon behind the scenes