Leadership in the engine room:

After working many years on several different vessels, CE Cieszkowski decided to find a more stable position in cargo shipping. A friend, aware of SMT’s standing in the market, recommended that Marcin find a position in the company. Especially attractive was SMT’s policy of flexible contract lengths, which allows employees to plan their schedules. Conveniently, SMT was recruiting in his hometown, and after a positive job interview, he was offered a position. CE Cieszkowski is now in his fourth contract with the company, the first two being with the Pacific Pearl and the second two with Ocean Pearl.

Marcin enjoys the daily aspects of his life as a Chief Engineer. He begins each day by making the rounds of the engine room and the deck as well as meeting with engineers, fitters and motormen to decide on the action plan for the given day. They discuss the tasks that need to be handled as well as the safety procedures that go along with them. Next, Marcin deals with office correspondence and at noon, duties include taking stock of spent fuel and oil and reporting the amounts. As the day goes on, Marcin and the other engineers work on other tasks such as spares and stores orders. Before the end of the work day he issues night standing orders for the watch engineers so that in case of an emergency they have clear instructions that follow safety regulations.

Each day requires a high level of multitasking, but Marcin sees many advantages to his position. It keeps him on the forefront of new technology, and it allows him to work with people from many different parts of the world. As he says, “by talking to them I am able to discover more of the world that surrounds us”. In addition, “the advantage of being a ship’s engineer is that the knowledge gained at sea is also useful on shore. An engineer forced to work on shore due to health problems or other circumstances can find his place in this new reality with greater ease than a deck crew. It is also easier for an engineer to get a job at sea, due to the specific requirements. Our profession is a good policy for the future at sea as well as on shore.”

For our Fall issue, the Nautical News is delighted to feature Chief Engineer Marcin Cieszkowski of the M/V Ocean Pearl. A native of Szczecin, the capital of West Pomerania, he was raised in a maritime family. Both his father and grandfather worked at sea and he took every opportunity to visit them on their ships as a child, solidifying his desire to pursue a career on a ship or in a shipyard.

CE Cieszkowski

a profile

Marcin feels that his position calls upon several important skills: knowledge, experience, flexibility, rapid decision making and a strong psyche. These qualities are useful during emergency situations when problems have to be solved quickly while making the safety and health of the crew a priority. As Marcin says, “Equipment can be repaired or replaced, but nothing can replace a lost life.” His leadership philosophy helps him to find a balance where each party working for him is satisfied. “On the one hand [a leader] should be demanding and on the other the coworkers should know they can count on his help and experience.” He sees his role as that of a father who will make rules but who can also be playful and provide a sense of security.

Over the years of his career, the role of CE has changed. While in the past the CE was not a particularly interactive role on board, it now requires a dynamic manager of his department who can handle a multitude of tasks. Marcin advises that young people interested in the engineering field understand all of those tasks and seek guidance from those who have been in the position.

Marcin also has a full life on shore. He lives in his hometown of Szczecin with his wife Monica and daughter Alice. They share their home with the many pets they have adopted from the local animal shelter--a dog, bunnies, and guinea pigs. For hobbies, Marcin enjoys sport target shooting and building plastic model kits. While he dislikes the long separations from his family that his line of work demands, he also loves the fact that he can spend his shore with them without interruption.

Many thanks to CE Cieszkowski for taking the time to share so much information about his life and career. We wish him many happy journeys!