Jobs on a Polar Research Vessel

Weddell Sea, Antarctica
-71.187901000000, -45.000000000000
Journal Entry:

Bosun. Chippy. First mate. Oiler. Purser. I hear these terms used a lot aboard the S.A. Agulhas II, always in reference to the important jobs that keep this ship running smoothly. I haven’t spent a lot of time on big ships, though, so these job titles are like a foreign language to me. I recently had the opportunity to sit down with Siyabonga Sibiya, the Purser for the Endurance22 Expedition voyage, and he was kind enough to explain the many different jobs aboard the S.A. Agulhas II. 

For starters, we talked about how ships are very hierarchical. This means that there is a clear chain of command. Within this chain are multiple departments, and it is always clear who you report to, and in many cases, who reports to you.

Siyabonga, for example, has well-defined duties as the ship’s Purser. He was the first person I met aboard the ship, as a Purser is the main point of contact for all ship passengers.