DISCOVER Magazine #6

Florin Pavel

Published in category: People
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POET AND CRANE OPERATOR AT DAMEN SHIPYARDS GALATI, ROMANIA

47 years old and married to Vasilica
Has: three daughters: Gabriela (21), Mihaela (16) and Mirela (9)
Chooses: the JSS as his favourite Damen ship

“When I am inspired, I immediately start writing, no matter what time of day it is or where I happen to be. Poetry is a medicine for me: it was all that kept me going when I was temporarily working in Israel 20 years ago, when I was all alone and missing my family. Through my poetry, I try to transform something ugly into something beautiful; life may not always be easy, but is too short to be unhappy. I no longer publish my poems anonymously, for which I’m mostly grateful to Damen.

Tuesday, 12 July 1983, was my very first day at the yard in Galati, where I started out as a rigger. I had never before thought of a career in shipbuilding; I’m from a tiny village – Ivanesti – and I had never been in a real city before, let alone a huge shipyard. It was really hard at first – being without my parents and my eleven brothers and sisters – but I’ve never regretted my choice to leave. In the nineties, I starting working as a crane operator, and I am still travelling back and forth to the shipyard every day.

The biggest challenges I faced in that job were high winds, storms, and learning to coordinate my activities with those of my colleagues. I get along well with my colleagues – they are – as we say in Romania – like the five fingers of a hand: all different but strongest when they work together. The helping hand you can count on. If one of them is tired or troubled, I try to cheer him up using humour. I might ask if we can see Moscow if we’re sitting in the cabin of the crane, or pretend that we’re having a power failure.

On my days off, I go to church, read the Bible, and help my family and friends with anything they need. If I have time leftover, I like playing football or table football – and I win a lot because when I was a kid I was unbeatable on the football pitch! Afterwards, I enjoy a good meal with my wife and daughters – preferably a bean casserole, tripe soup or Russian salad – and tell stories from my youth, write, or share a joke. For me there’s no real difference between a day off and a day I work – I enjoy them both equally.”

Dear reader, please note that position titles and job functions of Damen employees contributing to these articles is subject to change and description in this archive may, therefore become dated.

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