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Female fourth mate on rescue vessel sees discrepancies in films about sea

Galina Ivanina, fourth mate on the Mikhail Rudnitsky rescue vessel working in the Arctic seas, not only enjoys the work, but even dreams of "growing" to the captain’s rank
Galina Ivanina Lev Fedoseev/TASS
Galina Ivanina
© Lev Fedoseev/TASS

MURMANSK, March 13. /TASS/. A woman in command of a ship is an exception. Indeed, any marine profession can be hardly named feminine, even more so if work is in the Arctic. Here, to usual top-high physical and psychological pressure, to the closed space, to higher responsibility for the work from which depends safety of the vessel and crew, the Arctic Ocean adds the extreme frosts and storms, which not every man can endure.

But Galina Ivanina, fourth mate on the Mikhail Rudnitsky rescue vessel working in the Arctic seas, not only enjoys the work, but even dreams of "growing" to the captain’s rank. She loves the Arctic nature, values strong marine friendship and is skeptical about blockbusters devoted to work and life in seas. These and other features of a she-Jack Tar follow in the essay by a TASS correspondent.

Jack Tar from terrestrial family

Nothing in Galina’s childhood or youth prompted she would be working at sea, with the exception for the place where she lived - in Severomorsk - the main base of the Northern Fleet. Her mother was a nurse, and the father - a worker. The daughter’s first profession was quite "terrestrial" - a cook. Noteworthy, she was offered a position on board a vessel. "I knew nothing about the sea, about ships, specifics of working there, but I agreed. The first sea voyage was tough, I wanted to quit, but then got attached to it, and began loving life at sea," Galina Ivanina said.

So, this was her way to the Mikhail Rudnistky rescue vessel of the Northern Fleet. She said, nothing on board was familiar to her - she could not understand how equipment worked, how water and light are coming. During the first voyage she got seasick, but then "grew" over it. And still, for quite a time, she said, it was weird to slide off the bed at night motions.

The Arctic nature got hold of her immediately. The first voyage, in 2006, was into the Barents Sea. They departed when the ground was covered with snow, and in a month’s time returned into spring. The shore line was very eye-catching, the Rybachy Peninsula. Since then, Galina is fond of the scenes of the Barents, White and Norwegian Seas, where the rescue vessel goes.

She was also very impressed by relations among the crew. "I admired the cohesion, coherence, willingness to assist, when nobody leaves you in a difficult situation," Galina said.

Marine profession, marine family

There are no similar voyages, the mate said. In fact, there were not many events to remember - routine work, but for, perhaps, the Northern Fleet’s exercises. And the storms - sometimes of 6 points.

And it was exactly at sea that Galina Ivanina found her future spouse: he was working on the same vessel. While at sea, this is rather halpful - she always had the one to rely on. The couple always went together on voyages. But during anchorage, sometimes the wife and the husband are on duty at different times, and it happens they cannot see much of each other.

They have two daughters, who are very proud of their mother, and at school they say proudly - their mother is a mate. The senior daughter says she wants to repeat mother’s career, and Galina is happy about it. "Perhaps, I shall begin a dynasty of female sailors," she said.

Visible goals

It was her husband who inspired Galina to get marine education. She entered the Murmansk State Technical University, a former nautical school, to study navigation. She was the only girl in the group, but most students and teachers respected and understood her choice, though exceptions could not be avoided. A teacher once said a woman should be by the oven, to what Galina advised him to get to the oven while she is navigating.

She is finishing the 6th year now, writes a graduate paper on rescue missions. With higher education, she plans to become the third made, i.e. the navigator. And then, the dream is to "grow" to the captain. This is nothing extraordinary, and similar examples are known in the Arctic. For example, Valentina Orlikova - she was the first woman in the world who became captain of a big freezer trawler. A street in Murmansk was given her name. "We all know about women-navigators, abroad - even on combat vessels and submarines," Galina said. "In this country, unfortunately, women are not serving on military vessels."

Of all vessels, she likes most the military ones - with strict order. And, besides, she dreams of a voyage round the globe.

Discrepancies on screen

For Galina, the sea is both work and hobby. She lacks time for anything different, as reading into technical literature takes a lot of her free time. Sometimes she watches films about sea: 72 Meters, First After God, Icebreaker. But, she said, much in those films is far from realistic. "It is interesting to compare a director’s view with real life in the sea," she said. "In life, people behave differently."

For example, in Icebreaker (Ledokol) there is a scene, when a man falls overboard. And there begins fuss on the deck, which is impossible in reality. "I would suggest directors paid more attention to technical details, to security rules observed during voyages," the mate said.