Dedicated to Training the Next Generation: A Technical Director at the Heart of Oil Exploration

Luciana Suman Jardim is a determined and ambitious woman; starting out as a Second Engineer in the marine industry, she has worked her way up to becoming a Technical Director of her own company, Marmec Training (Marmec Treinamentos). Luciana talks to Atlas about her career in the marine industry and her goals to improve HSE standards in Brazil.

From Engine room to Classroom

“I joined the Brazilian Merchant Marine School of Officers when I was 17 as a trainee engineer,” says Luciana, “my first experience offshore was a memorable one, as we were travelling on the Amazon River, which was a real treat as my first trip offshore. In 2011 I returned to my studies and I finally got my licence to become a Mechanical Engineer in Merchant Marine Shipping.

One of the first projects that I worked was through ‘Jaymar do Brasil’, (Atlas Professionals do Brasil), as a Second Engineer on a deep water submersible platform. My role was to assist the chief engineer and supervise all operations in the engine room.” Luciana explains how this project helped her progress into teaching, “as a Second Engineer you are also responsible for the safety and training of the engine crew for all emergency procedures. As I became more confident in this role I was asked by a colleague of mine to present a series of lectures to the Brazilian Register of Ships and Aircraft (RBNA) Classification Society. The lectures were about Brazilian Regulatory standards such as Security in Electrical Installations, pressure Vessels and Maritime legislation for surveyors."

In June of this year, Luciana gave a lecture to the Atlas office in Macaé, Brazil. She explains what the talk discussed, “the lecture mainly discussed Brazilian safety standards for Merchant Marine crews, the terminology used on board and the certifications needed to work offshore in Brazil.

Over time the demand for these classes grew and with the encouragement from the RBNA society, I decided to open Marmec training in Rio de Janeiro. Our classes are quite small, but this is good, as it allows us to gain a better understanding of our students and identify their strengths and weaknesses, assuring that those weaknesses become strengths and that the strengths remain strong.”

Putting Safety First

As well as an instructor, Luciana is also an Auditor, ensuring the safety standards ISO 9001 are being upheld within maritime institutions, “I went through an intensive training process to become an auditor which was conducted by the RBNA society. During an audit my overall goal is to establish that there is nothing that could compromise the safety of the crew onboard. I even look at the environmental factors, to mitigate the risk of pollution. The purpose of the audit is to make sure that these standards are met.”

In addition to these audits, Luciana also conducts classification surveys on a number of different vessels. These surveys ensure that the technical standards for the construction and operations of the ship are being maintained and are compliant with the rules set by the classification society. “One of the major surveys I conducted was with a delegation of the Brazilian government to inspect a vessel from China. We had to bring the vessel from Cape Town to Brazil and I had to train the whole crew in safety procedures for this particular vessel, this was one of the more memorable experiences in my career.”

Working around the clock

Not only does Luciana have to manage her own company and attend audits, but she is also a full time mum, “As my job requires a lot of travelling and carrying out vessel inspections, I end up not spending enough time with my son. At first I did feel guilty, but now my son and I understand that it’s not the amount of time that you spend together but the quality of time that I spend with him. Today I seek to spend more quality time with him as this can make the world of difference in our relationship.”

New Challenges Arise

With every new lesson, inspection and survey, Luciana is learning new views and ideas about working in this industry, “I find that being a woman in this industry can be a challenge sometimes, especially when you have a crew that is not accustomed to seeing a woman working onboard a vessel. I’ve encountered some people who still believe that you need brute force to operate these kinds of machinery. However, I’ve crushed that stereotype, by developing my knowledge and skills through my experience. The only tool you need in this industry, whether it’s through teaching new crew members or learning from others, is to have ambition and determination which will take you far.”