Siv Mathilde Oldeide is the chief officer onboard M/V Polfoss and the first female chief officer within the Eimskip reefer fleet. We asked Siv a few questions about the life onboard. Siv started as a cadet onboard M/V Svartfoss in 2017 and became a junior officer on M/V Holmfoss in 2019. She recently got promoted to chief officer.
When did you decide that you wanted to work at sea?
I grew up in Måløy, a small town on the west coast of Norway, and all my life the sea has been my closest neighbor. At an early age, I got my own small 14 feet boat and could spend a lot of time at sea after school. When I got a bit older I started to use our family boat, a 26 feet cabin cruiser with a 200 hp engine. I found it fun and exciting to sail and do all the maneuvering, so I guess my passion for life at sea was current from a very early age. Both my grandfather and my dad have been fishermen all their lives, and my older brother is a Chief Engineer. When I heard them tell stories from fishery and sailing along the coast of Norway and abroad, I knew this was an adventure I wanted to explore. I decided to spend some summers working at sea and decided to apply for the deck officer program at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology. Since I found it much more fun to maneuver the cabin cruiser instead of the small boat, I thought it would be even more fun to go bigger. After I graduated I started as a deck cadet in Eimskip and have been here ever since.
What are your thoughts on the fact that it is a male-dominated profession?
We are just good colleagues and friends. I do not think about it that much really. But when I tell other people on shore about my job they always ask this question, especially the older women. Of course, being a young woman in this profession was not so common before so I can understand why they are asking. Since my first day, I have asked the crew and the captain to not make any differences in the way they behave or speak just because they have a woman on board. I do not want them to make jobs easier for me or treat me differently than the other officers. As far as I can tell they never have. It is no secret that women and men are quite different, but I think it is important to see this as a positive thing. We are a team on board, and in teams, it is important to have different people with different bits of knowledge and skills. Add good communication and a great deal of humor and the team is supreme. And maybe as a woman, I see a different solution or approach to a problem than my male colleagues.
Why do you like Eimskip as a workplace?
One of the things I enjoy the most is coastal navigation on the Norwegian coast. By working in Eimskip’s Orange line I get to do that, all the time. The fact that we sail to so many different destinations, both big and small, along the coast gives us a lot of maneuvering and berthing. Another great thing about Eimskip is the people. Both at the office, at the terminals, and onboard the vessels. They are truly dedicated to helping out colleagues and of course customers in all possible ways.