Ivy Joyce C. Real – Crew Welfare Officer
Good day! I am Ivy Joyce Real who is a wife and mother of an 8-year-old boy and a 5-year-old girl.
I used to work in a manning agency (shipping company) after I graduated from college. It was never an easy job because I needed to ensure that all seafarers must join the vessel as scheduled. They needed to pass the required pre-employment medical, government and company required trainings and visa prior to deployment. I communicated with the vessel’s Captain regarding the status of the seafarers who were ready to travel. I coordinated with the local agent of a particular port worldwide with regards to the Immigration formalities they require enabling the seafarer to enter or exit their territory. With this we arranged travel itineraries through a third-party travel agency.
But as I got to be familiar with the tasks, I learned to love all the challenges I encountered each day. Urgent or expedite is a normal scenario for me!
Nevertheless, I feel happy when I get to be part of their successful employment.
I became friends with most of these seafarers and their dependents. Not to mention that I enjoyed all my colleagues because we treat each as family. I am also from a family of seafarers – my father is still actively sailing, my brother who just finished his contract last weekend, and my husband will complete his 9 months contract early next year. My uncles and cousins are also seafarers so I figured I am destined for this industry!
After almost 8 years in the same manning agency, I was assigned to handle crew welfare. In this job my main responsibilities are
(1) Monitoring seafarers who signed off due illness or accident. It includes the tasks of computation of sickness benefit and reimbursement of their medical and travel expenses. When a specific illness/accident turns 120 days, the local doctor needs to decide if the seafarer is still fit for duty, otherwise the medical coverage must be stopped. If this is the scenario, most of the seafarers will file a case against our manning agency. This is when I represent our agency to attend disability settlement. There was this one case where a seafarer died while sleeping on board the vessel. The company granted scholarship to his 2 children from high school to college and I accompanied the widowed wife to claim the death benefit. It was an unhappy ending but I can say it was one of the most impactful and memorable experiences I had.
(2) Application of HMO coverage of seafarers and their qualified dependents
(3) Organised and implemented family related events such as
- Day of the seafarer – the company sponsors games, prizes, giveaways, catering to appreciate their contribution not only in the company but to the world as a whole.
- Financial literacy and health awareness seminar to which we invite speakers who are experts in the field. Attendees are seafarers and their families. We held these in the office and provinces such as Cebu, Bohol, Iloilo and Davao
- Halloween and Year end parties where I determine all confirmed attendees. We ensured that all seafarers’ children receive a gift according to their age and gender, there is a gift basket per family and there are minor and major raffle prizes which include as much as air-conditioning and television
- Determined who are to receive the service awards – we provided a plaque and watch to each loyal seafarer.
Aside from the office work, I got to experience traveling within the Philippines for team buildings and seminars. I got to attend a conference in Goa, India for a week. My most unforgettable experience was when I was sent for a week training in our main office in Copenhagen, Denmark in 2013.
When my second child was 1 year old in 2015, I decided to avail an early retirement to be a more hands-on mother. The following year my husband and I started up a small internet shop within our village. While he is away for work, I am the one who manages this business up to present.
Aside from handling our business, I would like to be a virtual assistant because I want to have my own career without the hassle of travelling to and from work. I know I still need a lot of patience and perseverance to learn the tools and system but I am very willing to do it.
For a copy of Ivy’s resume please click here.