Wilhelmsen insights

Beneath the Same Stars in a Different Era

Ove Myrstad started his career in Wilhelmsen, following in his father's footsteps. They share a seafaring bond that will be cherished for a lifetime. We explore his journey starting from his father's seafaring career, his own career as well as share his experiences along the way.
Ove main img

Wilhelmsen insights |
Wilhelmsen Ship Management

You know you're in the right place when you see employees and their children working at the same company. 

This is especially true for our Vessel Manager, Ove Myrstad. Ove's Father sailed with Wilhelmsen for years and even met his wife onboard a Wilhelmsen vessel, whom Ove claimed was a self-made sailor in her own right. Following in his father's footsteps, Ove sailed for many years himself, and became a Captain in the process. Nowadays, he settles down in Oslo, Norway with his wife and two children. We spoke to Ove, and he shared his life story and experiences.

Ove’s Father, Jan Elias Myrstad and Grandparents accompanying him on his first voyage.

Ove's father started sailing with Wilhelmsen in 1955 when he was approximately 16 years old, working as a Messman. After serving a mandatory military service and became a Radio Officer through the Navy, he eventually met his wife (Ove's mother) onboard the vessel, Trinidad in the early 1970's. She was a messgirl while he was a Radio Officer. She worked in Wilhelmsen until they got married and settled down. They got married in New York, USA while they were sailing together. He eventually transitioned onshore and worked on an oil platform owned by Wilhelmsen in the early 80’s to be closer to his family. 

Ove’s Father and friends while sailing onboard - happy days!

An interesting coincidence that Ove shared is that his father's first vessel as an officer is the Taronga (II) while Ove’s first vessel as a 3rd Officer was the Taronga (IV). Both Ove and his father first sailed as officers on the Taronga Ships. He was happy to have this shared connection with his father.

Ove’s Father and Mother sailing together

Ove's father was a significant influence on his decision to become a seafarer himself. As a child, he was always exposed to the seafaring life. He once visited his father on a vessel as a baby with his mother. Later he as a young boy, he visited as his father on an oil rig while at a repair yard. He grew up as a child with maritime memorabilia and pictures all around his house. He was also a restless child with a lot of energy, always running around everywhere and exploring different places around his neighbourhood. When Ove expressed interest in becoming a seafarer, his father was not pleased with this initially and wanted him to choose a safer career choice instead. Eventually, he changed his mind and became proud of Ove once he started to obtain his first few stripes and saw how passionate he was about seafaring. 

Proud family - Ove's sister, mother, and father celebrating Ove's promotion to officer.

Ove started his seafaring career as a Cadet in 1998 on the vessel Tapiola. He has travelled to many countries all around the world since then. He especially enjoyed visiting Australia and New Zealand as destinations after long voyages around the world. He also enjoyed going through the Panama Canal and exiting on the other side to beautiful blue skies and the vast open ocean. He likes the feeling of adventure and purpose that sailing gives him. 

After a long career at Wilhelmsen, spanning from Cadet to Chief Officer to Captain and even becoming a Port Captain, Training Manager, and the Head of Cargo Quality and Service Operations for another company, Ove returned home to Wilhelmsen as a Vessel Manager. He likes to visit the vessels and meet the people he has worked with before. Since settling down in Oslo, Norway, with his family and becoming a Vessel Manager, he misses seafaring, experiencing the open skies, and adventuring. The feeling of looking out the window and knowing that you are somewhere different every single day gave him a sense of purpose. However, being a Vessel Manager is also very satisfying as he gets to put his years of seafaring experience to good use and even visit the vessels and sail for shorter periods.

Ove and his daughter onboard in Santos, Brazil

Ove has a wife and two children, a daughter and a son. His daughter is now 14, and his son is 6. He has not taken them on a voyage with him yet, but his daughter visited him once onboard in Santos, Brazil, as a young girl. He would support them if they wanted to become seafarers, but he also acknowledges the challenges and sacrifices of the profession.

Ove has sailed on many different vessels and in various roles, and he loves the camaraderie onboard. Among the many people he has met in his career, Gerry, the Chief Cook, shared a special bond that developed into a friendship. Besides Gerry's exceptional cooking skills and cheerful personality, Ove relates the connection he has with his father to Gerry, as Gerry's son currently works at Wilhelmsen as a Trainee Engineer.

Ove first met Gerry in 2007 when he was the Chief Officer on the Tortugas. Gerry had an easy-going personality that made him fun to be around. They also bonded over rock music. Ove fondly remembers Gerry's Saturday Special, where he made Shrimp Salad with Steak for dinner. For over three decades, they have been meeting onboard Wilhelmsen vessels as Ove transitioned in his career. The most recent reunion was just last year on the Toronto, where Ove was the Vessel Manager.

Gerry and Ove's most recent reunion at the messroom where it all begins.

Ove offers this advice for new seafarers or those interested in pursuing a career at sea:

If you have an interest and passion for seafaring, go for it. The industry is constantly changing and evolving, so it's important to approach it with an open mind. At sea, you can't postpone tasks because everything needs to run like clockwork. Missing one task could start a chain reaction that affects the entire operation. Seafarers need dedication and the ability to adapt to a schedule that keeps them away from friends and family for long periods of time.