January 09, 2015

Mamadou Lamine Gassama has been a supply vessel captain at BOURBON since July 2012. Considering his educational background in physics/chemistry, no one would have ever predicted his future career as a versatile seafaring officer! Here is the story of his atypical career path.


Navigating and gaining experience

Upon the completion of his highly successful studies in Senegal, Mamadou Gassama was still unsure about his future, as is the case for many students. He heard about a competitive exam that would lead to a career as a chief engineer 3000 kW. Rising to the challenge, he took the exam and passed.

At the end of the 4-year course and a few experiences at sea, with his degree in hand, he decided to complete his education and began a Merchant Marine First Class Officer (O1MM) course in France, for a total of 5 years including one year at sea.

In order to reinforce his professional skills, he deliberately prolonged his time at sea over a period of 3 years, by embarking with various ship owners in order to broaden and deepen his knowledge about various types of vessels.

"It was important for me to perfect my knowledge of the maritime environment,” he explains. “Tankers, containerships, ro-ros1, etc: I was lucky enough to sail on practically every type of vessel, which gave me the opportunity to sail on every ocean, all around the world, allowing me to gain a greater understanding of the seafaring profession. Then I had my first offshore experience at BOURBON, on the N’Duva PSV, and later, on AHTS and other PSV vessels.

Navigation and human resources management

Mamadou then began his career in the group at Bourbon Offshore Surf as an engineer, first mate, and then second captain. He became a captain in July 2012. What things does he enjoy about his job? Customer satisfaction with the quality of service provided, effective and pragmatic management, as well as operational HR management.

"The crew on our vessel consists of around 15 members, with around 7 or 8 different nationalities on board at times. This diversity is a source of mutual enrichment and communication is of the utmost importance when it comes to optimizing our work. I am strongly convinced that the atmosphere amongst crew members depends on the captain. I therefore strive to maintain excellent relationships with colleagues on board as well as with clients, by making mutual respect a priority.

My first commitment: to safely bring the vessel and crew to our destination! This involves the strict enforcement of safety procedures. In other words, as our safety campaign indicates: safety takes me home… "

Learning and development on a daily basis

As for his future at BOURBON, our captain hopes to take on many new challenges: innovative vessels, a variety of operations, and a wide range of opportunities.

"I have a remarkable capacity to adapt, I love learning and I’m always keen to take on new professional challenges. Perhaps someday I might have the opportunity to navigate again on an AHTS, where the technical and operational duties are quite different. And why not on an MPSV2, to explore new horizons in offshore marine services," he concludes.

1Vessels designed for vehicle transportation (trucks, trailers, etc.).

2Multi Purpose Support Vessel



PSVs are responsible for supplying oil facilities at sea. These daily missions of loading/unloading shall occur within the safest conditions:

  • Cautiously manage the loading procedure within the framework of international standards and rules.
  • Organize a safety meeting before proceeding, in order to convey the schedule to the officers and seamen, and to anticipate any potential safety issues.
  • Strictly implement the clear deck policy: no crew members should be present in the operating zone while lines are under tension.
  • Organize on a monthly basis an on board meeting in order to encourage all crew members to identify areas for improvement, whether for operations or safety.


Bourbon behind the scenes