Jiwan Autar during safety exercise!

I had a feeling that it was time for something new.

My name is Jiwan I. Autar and I recently joined MF Shipping Group as an apprentice. In March, I was struggling to find a fitting company to apply for my second term as a deck cadet. My first term was on a general dry cargo ship that voyaged all throughout the North-West of Europe, ranging from Spain to Finland. We were a small skeleton crew that consisted of 8 lunatics (including me), so the pressure was high sometimes. Overall, it was a good experience, but I found it was time to try something else.

I am studying at the Maritime Institute Willem Barentsz on Terschelling in the Netherlands. Every year, the school organises a fair for shipping companies to stand at. Here, the companies can speak to future seafarers and the students can assess potential companies to apply to. I had done my research and made a selection of companies I wanted to speak to get a better understanding of them. 

Thun Liffey and a rainbow

MF Shipping Group

I had already heard promising stories of MF Shipping Group from some of my friends who have worked or are still working here. When I approached the stand of MFSG, I was pleasantly greeted by Wendy van der Laan and Anita Gerritsen. They left a good impression, so I included them in my list of applications. They invited me for a job interview which ended on a positive note.

After sending my certificates and meeting the other apprentices on the introduction day, I heard that I would join mt Thun Liverpool. All other apprentices were paired into groups of two, whereas I would go alone. This scared me a little bit, but nonetheless I pushed through. When I heard I would sign on the day after my birthday, the nerves really started to kick in. I have never been that nervous and uneasy on my own birthday; a terrible feeling really. However, the next day I grabbed my suitcase and drove to the airport.

On board

Upon embarking the vessel mid-August, I was welcomed by a fun and clever crew that were willing to teach me everything about their jobs. Honestly, I also found that I missed out on many things during my first term on board, so I have a lot to catch up on. In addition, working on tankers is very different than on a dry cargo ship. All in all, I have a lot to learn and I hope that my mentors will be patient with me and watch me grow.

My first voyage on the ship was from Pembroke to Plymouth. The vessel arrived in Plymouth on 17 August in the afternoon. Before arriving, we got an email from the agent, saying we were lucky to arrive that day. He informed us that tonight Plymouth will host the British Annual Fireworks Championships (day two) with three finalist teams competing for the New Year’s Eve fireworks contract in London.

Seafarer during maintenance
Thun Liverpool and fireworks


After dinner that evening, my mentor said I could go ashore if I wanted to. When the sun had set, I had found a nice view of the bay and the start of the show was announced. The sky was lit up with beautiful colours and shimmered three times in a row for 10 minutes. After each team’s performance, I could hear the horn of the M/T Thun Liverpool sounding throughout the city. When the show was over I felt satisfied and made my way back to the ship.

So far, my time as an apprentice at MF Shipping Group hasn’t let me down in any way. I have found a warm and close crew, wonderful mentors and a great learning environment. I’m very excited about what’s to come. And with the blessing of the beautiful fireworks, it feels like the start of an amazing adventure.


Find out more about internship opportunities on one of our vessels or at our office.