I’ve gained a lot, working as the captain’s “right-hand man”

Wherever you are on the fishing trawler Harvest Krotoa, you can be sure that the ship’s Bosun, Lumkile Sodela, is not far away.

The energetic seafarer, who is known as Wiseman to his crew mates, is responsible for the safety of the deck hands who work in the exposed environment of the trawl deck. He also keeps an eye on the ship’s fish factory, working closely with Factory Manager, Colin Jaars, to make sure that the processing and preservation of the catch proceeds efficiently. But much of Lumkile’s time is spent on the bridge, working side-by-side with Skipper Ryno Blaauw, playing a key role in the smooth running of the ship.

Over the seven years they have worked together on Harvest Krotoa, the two seafarers have forged a strong bond.

“I’ve learnt a lot from the skipper,” says Lumkile thoughtfully, “he allows me to take responsibility and that is a benefit for me, I feel very confident working with him. I’ve gained a lot working as the captain’s right-hand man”.

Lumkile worked as a deck hand for 15 years before qualifying with a Grade 4 ticket and being appointed as Bosun. He places a lot of emphasis on safety and seems to magically appear to assist the deck hands when rough seas and a rolling ship make their work difficult.

“I must be there to monitor them to see they are okay on the deck,” he says. “I don’t want dangerous situations”.

Lumkile’s son has followed in his father’s footsteps and is currently working as an engine room assistant, commonly known as a “greaser”, on a Sea Harvest trawler.