The sailor from Captain Street

Published on 14 September 2017

The sea was part of Marcin Kulas’s family from a young age – not least because he lived by the Polish coast. As Chief Officer of Madrid Maersk, he now holds a big responsibility for the safe and efficient management of the new Triple-E vessel.

Marcin Kulas was six when he first went sailing with his father.

Marcin's father worked as a sailor and in the first of many trips, they travelled from Szczecin in Poland to Rotterdam via the Kiel Canal. Now 31, Marcin is the Chief Officer on Madrid Maersk, the first of the second-generation Triple-E vessels in the Maersk Line fleet.

"I liked travelling on ships, so I decided to go to sea," says Marcin, whose friendly personality does not mask his close eye for detail and dedication to duty. His father still works at sea, currently on a dredger in the North Sea.

The nautical links go deeper, as the family house is situated close to the lighthouse on Kapitanska, or Captain Street.

Eye for detail

The Polish Chief Officer - who still lives on Poland's Baltic coast in the village of Niechorze - joined Maersk in 2011 as a third officer and quickly worked his way up. Marcin's close working relationship with Captain Niels Larsen of Madrid Maersk is the foundation for good teamwork all over the ship.

"We have worked together for a long time, and in fact Niels promoted me," says Marcin. "We are friends at home too, but when we are working we make sure our relationship stays professional."

Each morning after breakfast, Marcin sets out on his rounds of the ship, looking for anything that might be out of order or need attention, including the containers. Even on a new ship like Madrid Maersk, there are maintenance jobs and other work that needs to be done. He spots dirt that has not been swept up, and a bench that is preventing a door from being tied back, which constitutes a potential safety hazard, and checks all the way to the bottom of the cargo holds.

Marcin has plenty of paperwork that needs to be kept in order – ensuring the ship is ready for port and in line with regulations – and in the evening, he has watch on the bridge after dinner, plotting the course and keeping a wary eye out for other ships. From 04.00am, he is back on watch through the sunrise.

On approach to port in Tangier, Marcin is on the bridge with the Captain and pilots, helping to ensure the huge ship navigates the tight turn required and arrives safely at the dock.

The home stretch

After two and a half months on duty, Marcin returns home to Poland, his wife and three and half-year-old son, Maksymilian. They enjoy driving in Marcin's Mercedes, and he takes time to enjoy the household routine and cook - particularly Indian food such as butter chicken or samosas.

Big machines and the sea are clearly a large part of his life. So will there ever be a captain living on Captain Street in Niechorze?

"I hope so, one day," says Marcin. "But I really want to be ready before I am promoted. To be captain, you really have to be ready as there's no one on board to help you."


Marcin Kulas

  • Age: 31
  • Nationality: Polish
  • Family: Wife and one son
  • First job: Translator for Polish workers abroad
  • Hobbies: Mercedes cars, driving, cooking
Keywords: Europe