Åsne Fjellsbø actually ended up in the building the 12-year-old spotted across the water from Bryggen. “And I do not regret it one bit”, she assures.
Working as a Ship Agent, Åsne Fjellsbø (29) spends part of her time at the main office in the Grieg building in Bergen, whilst parts are spent on board the ships in the docks.
– My everyday work life is tremendously varied. You never know what the day is going to bring, Åsne says.
Being a Ship Agent means you are responsible for everything running smoothly on each port call. All from arranging customs and pilotages for the vessel before the loading/discharging or if the crew needs any supplies like food, spare parts, or crew changes.
– Whether it is Custom clearance, arranging pilotage, crew change, signing of the certificates/bills of ladings, or arranging provisions for the vessel, we are the ones responsible for coordinating it all, Åsne says.
Varied working hours
As a mediator between the ship owners, captains, and terminals, it is demanded that there is somebody on call 24 hours a day. Grieg Logistics has a valuable rotation system, where the working hours vary in cycles of five weeks.
– The rotation includes one week of night shifts and one week completely free of work to “compensate” for when we are on duty 24/7.
The shipping world never sleeps, and unpredictable crises can arise anytime. Åsne remembers her first-ever duty in the Grieg Group, during which she had to deal with a once-in-a-lifetime situation.
– It was in the middle of the night, and a ship was arriving at the dock at the Equinor Mongstad. The vessel ran out of fuel when the ship was about one kilometer from the terminal.
Alone at work, she quickly devised a plan as the ship slowly drifted towards the reefs.
– After many calls back and forth to the tugboats, I finally managed to get them to abandon the mission they were currently on in the area. Luckily, they managed to salvage the ship and get it alongside at the terminal.
As such, she managed to prevent a considerable accident from happening.
– I have never experienced such a situation before and will probably never experience one again. But hey, you learn by doing, Åsne laughs.
A degree in logistics and background in the navy
Before starting work at the Grieg Group, the 29-year-old spent a year in the military, where she worked as a logistics operator in the Royal Norwegian Navy. She continued in the field of logistics and graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Logistics from NTNU in 2020.
After working as an agent in another company for a year and a half, Åsne stumbled upon an opportunity to work for the Grieg Group. Coincidentally, in the exact same building, she had pointed out to her mother as a 12-year-old.
– Back then, I was convinced I wanted to work in the center of Bergen when I grew up. So, when my parents and I were walking around Bryggen, and the Grieg building happened to be the first building I spotted, I told my mom that’s where I wanted to work. She sarcastically answered: “Mhm, of course, you will,” Åsne laughs.
– And a few years later, here I am!
In the office and on the ship
Åsne grew up in a little village called Lindås, about an hour north of Bergen. Her hometown is in the near vicinity of Mongstad, a place that is closely linked to her current work at the Grieg Group.
– On the west coast, we mainly assist at two terminals, one of which is located in Mongstad. Me already being acquainted with the place comes to my benefit during the fairly frequent trips up to the dock, she says.
If the situation demands, Åsne and her colleagues leave the office to execute their tasks on the ships.
– Such situations include shipping documents needing to be signed on the spot, picking up oil samples, or dropping off packages.
But most of Åsne’s time is spent at the office with her wonderful colleagues in the company.
– The environment here at Grieg is incredible, and I am always looking forward to coming into work, Åsne says.
The rotation system, where every fifth week is free from work, results in Åsne having more free time than someone working a regular office job. This gives her time to engage in some of her other interests.
– I love hiking and am a passionate skier if the weather allows, Åsne exclaims.
The free time also gives her an opportunity to execute some of her home-improvement projects, such as painting the walls or building new furniture. However, the weeks she has off work allow her to rest and recharge.
– Being on a watch can be really demanding on your body, and I usually need a few days to feel recharged again, she says.
Working as a Ship Agent involves varied working hours and unpredictable everyday life. Åsne loves her work.
– As I have reiterated this whole time, I love the unpredictability and variation that being a Ship Agent brings. I wouldn’t want it any other way!