Marine Engineer Kelly Klaasen (22) has won the 2010 South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) Seafarer of the Year Award. The award aims to recognise the valuable contribution seafarers make to everyday life.
Kelly, who made Safmarine history in July this year when she was appointed the company’s first female engineer, said she was extremely happy and surprised to have won, considering the calibre of her fellow nominees, which include Safmarine’s first female Master, Captain Louise Angel and Chief Engineer Rob Lawson.
Kelly, who is currently serving as Fourth Engineer onboard the Safmarine Bayete, was on the European coast at the time of the award.
Commenting on her win, Safmarine’s Africa Region Executive, Jonathan Horn, said: “We are immensely proud that a Safmariner has been chosen as the winner of this prestigious maritime industry award.
“Having a former head girl of Simon’s Town High School and a graduate of the school’s Maritime Studies Programme selected as the winner, supports Safmarine’s decision to pioneer the Maritime Studies Programme at this school more than 15 years ago.”
The Maritime Studies Programme prepares young South Africans for a career in the maritime industry by providing them with practical skills while they are still at school.
Kelly’s day-to-day responsibilities on board vessel include the usual watch-keeping responsibilities in the engine room as well as working with the ship’s fuel system, pumps and purifiers. Getting her hands dirty is all part of a day’s work as she assists in maintaining the vessel’s air compressors, cooler systems, the chemical treatment of water, sludge and bunker transfers and the overhauling of engines.
Klaasen, who is passionate about the sea and sailing, says she hopes to qualify in 2020 as Safmarine’s first female Chief Engineer.