My name is Damir Huber, I’m a master mariner. I’m Croatian.
On which ship do you currently work? (What is its route?)
I am currently onboard the CMA CGM ALEXANDER VON HUMBOLDT, which sails on the FAL 1 service, linking North European Ports to Far Eastern ports in China and Korea.
How long have you been working for CMA CGM?
I’ve been with CMA CGM since 2003 and before that on chartered vessels for 6 years.
What is your background (studies, previous positions)?
I graduated from a maritime school in Bakar, Croatia ex. Yugoslavia in 1976 and that same year I commenced my sea career at the Splošna plovba, an international shipping and chartering Slovenian Company where I stayed 11 years. In 1984 I graduated from a maritime academy in Portoroz, Slovenia. I left Splošna plovba in 1989, as one of the youngest Chief Officer aged 26, and got a job at a Netherlands company called Oost Atlantic line, in Rotterdam. In 1991, I was promoted captain, mainly on feeder container vessels and, nowadays, on ultra large container vessels. It’s been 25 years since I took my first command. I had a 2-year break and worked as a port pilot in my hometown, in Pul, Croatia. So far I’ve spent 36 years at sea, which represents more than half of my life in total, so you can see I devoted my life at sea.
Why did you choose this career?
It was normal family tradition as my father, uncle, etc. had been captains as well, so I always knew that I would be a captain myself one day.
What do you like most about your job?
The freedom in the middle of the sea – universe I would say.
What is your most memorable moment onboard?
I have many, but the deepest one happened on October 1st, 1986 when our vessel was in the middle of a typhoon, close to Okinawa Island in Japan Sea, the engine broke down and left us to God’s will. After drifting all night, we took over command and of the vessel again and survived. We managed to get safely to the nearest Port of Kagoshima.
Do you have any anecdotes to share with us?
In 1991 I was interviewed by a local radio in Pula, Croatia, and featured in a maritime program that has been broadcasted every Monday for the last 60 years and is dedicated to seaman and their families. On the topic “Family and sea”, the journalist asked me “What is your first love?” I replied “the sea” and my answer was well received by my wife, kids, neighbors, friends, etc. but I am still convinced that my answer came from the bottom of my heart and I never regretted it.
What is a typical day for you?
Morning coffee on the bridge is something special as it’s a “maritime coffee” with the sea, the sky and the wind so this is beginning of the day. Then my daily routine job begins with checking and replying to mails. After lunch, I like to take a walk on the deck for an hour or more; afternoon is dedicated to paperwork or bridge navigation tasks. Evening is for my golf practice and golf theory in my cabin or on the wing bridge. I play basketball and football with crew on weekends. Days are rolling as waves at sea are passing by.
What is your next destination?
At the moment we are in Biscay bay, heading 21 knots towards the port of Southampton, and then we’ll be in Dunkirk, Hamburg, and finally Rotterdam. Then I’ll be heading home for a vacation, golf and fun!
If you had any advice to give to someone who would like to follow your path, what would it be?
Be what you are! Choose your path and follow it with passion and love. A seaman’s life is something you can be proud today and forever.