Career Advice Recruitment tips

All aboard the marine department

A big fan of the ocean from an early age, Tsang Cheuk-yin's career in the Marine Department has given him many memorable experiences. As a principal marine officer and a general manager for planning, development and port security, Tsang's role is a challenging one that often requires the ability to address the needs of multiple stakeholders.

Under Tsang's leadership, a joint partnership between the Marine Department and the Highways Department recently oversaw the relocation of more than 150 pleasure vessels from the Causeway Bay typhoon shelter to Aberdeen, to make way for extensive tunnelling and infrastructure development.

"We always need to plan ahead to meet the needs of the shipping industry and take all the necessary steps to ensure port security," says Tsang, who spent many years at sea and has held various posts with the Marine Department.

Tsang's department is also responsible for a strategic plan enabling Hong Kong to handle the next generation of ultra-large container vessels, carrying up to 16,000 containers - 6,000 more than today's largest vessels.

However, like other parts of the maritime industry, the Marine Department faces a shortage of young job applicants. "We face stiff recruitment competition for capable young talent from the non-maritime market," says Tsang, who first went to sea in 1974 as a cadet after completing his maritime studies at Hong Kong Polytechnic University.

When recruiting, Tsang says his department looks for individuals with good communication and co-ordination abilities. Foresight and planning skills should also be among their core competencies, as should the ability to formulate strategic plans and quickly address problems.

To simplify the application process, the department has set up a Recruitment Corner on its website to provide detailed insights on job requirements. Once hired, recruits receive on-the-job training and where necessary, overseas training to learn about the latest security and safety developments, says Tsang.

Since the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States, Hong Kong, like ports around the world, has stepped up port security, says Tsang, whose department is responsible for such matters. As a member of the International Ship and Port Facility Security Code, it is tasked with the safety and security of terminals and port facilities and the coming and going of thousands of cargo and passenger ships, including high-speed vessels and water craft.

"Those ready to accept the challenges and qualified to apply for a job with the Marine Department will find many opportunities for development, as well as the chance to pursue a meaningful and rewarding career," says Tsang.