Scientist turned deck officer wins Officer Trainee of the Year award


A deck officer who always dreamed of going to sea has been given the Maritime & Coastguard Agency Officer Trainee of the Year Award.
Dr Ewan McNeil, from Fife, who also has a PhD in Cancer Research and FdSc in Nautical Science, is currently serving as a Third Officer in the Royal Fleet Auxiliary.
He has received the award at the Marine Society and Sea Cadets’ Fifteenth Annual Court on Wednesday 9 October at Trinity House, London.
Ewan was nominated by Blackpool and the Fylde College, along with his sponsoring company, the Royal Fleet Auxiliary.  
He said a career at sea had always been on his radar although after leaving school, he had initially pursued a career in cancer research because of his interest in the scientific.
‘The draw of the sea was never too far away,’ he admitted, ‘So in 2015, I sought a new challenge and embarked on a Cadetship with the Royal Fleet Auxiliary.’
Ewan said he was delighted to have been nominated and then to have been chosen for the award.
‘This is a tremendous achievement for my company, college and myself, and acknowledges all of my efforts throughout my Cadetship. I hope that this award will open opportunities for me throughout my career,’ he added.
Brian Johnson, Chief Executive with the Maritime & Coastguard Agency who presented the award said: ‘Ewan described this as a great honour for him to have this award. I see it is an even greater honour to present it to someone who so clearly has the commitment and passion to maritime that not only makes this reward richly deserved, but also provides evidence of the calibre of those coming into seafaring.’

This is an annual award presented by the Maritime & Coastguard Agency which aims to raise the profile of officer training.  Nautical colleges liaising with shipping companies are asked to submit nominations for recently qualified officers who have attained the greatest achievement in terms of academic progress, professional progress and outstanding contributions to their class. Leadership and personal qualities are considered as important as technical competency.
Companies and colleges have continued to see this as a positive event in which they are keen to participate as coverage of the event is provided by Nautilus International. This is an opportunity for the Government to reaffirm its commitment to the shipping industry and to promote the importance of having skilled seafarers. 
The following organisations contributed to the event and were part of the judging panel:
  • Nautilus International
  • Merchant Navy Training Board
  • The Chamber of Shipping
  • Marine Society and Sea Cadets
  • Corporation of Trinity House
  • Lloyds List


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