30/06/2021 09:29 AM
Q&A with Newcastle Harbour Master, Vikas Bangia
Meet harbour master for Newcastle and Yamba, Vikas Bangia and find out the secret to his successful 30-year maritime career.
What's your background in the maritime industry?
My maritime career spans over 30 years, encompassing a rich mix of shipboard and shore-based work, including management and operational experience on oil tankers, bulk carriers and passenger ships. My family and I moved to Australia from New Zealand in 2011 to take up the job as port captain with Rio Tinto at the Port of Gove in the Northern Territory.
For the past eleven years, I've held roles as harbourmaster and operations manager with port authorities in Australia, serving as harbourmaster at Port of Dampier and Port of Broome in Western Australia before joining Port Authority of New South Wales in October 2020.
Why did you take on the role of harbour master for Newcastle and Yamba?
It was a mix of personal and professional reasons. Working in beautiful remote areas of Australia was wonderful, but moving to Newcastle would provide more opportunities for the family. Driving from Sydney airport to Newcastle for the first time my son said, "Wow it's so green here’’! He'd never seen so many trees!
On a professional front, I was ready for my next challenge and being harbour master of one of the largest coal exporting river ports was the opportunity I was looking for.
What does it mean to you to be a harbour master?
It's a big responsibility to be a Harbour Master: ensuring marine operations are carried out safely, efficiently and in compliance with legislation and best industry practices. I enjoy finding solutions for port users to increase port efficiency without compromising on safety. I take a lot of pride in what I do and I'm honoured to be a Harbour Master.
What does a normal day look like for a harbour master?
No two days are ever the same as a harbour master and you're on call 24/7. For me to be able to do my job to the best of my ability it's so important to acknowledge the support I receive from my family. As I say to my wife, we're in it together!.
What do you like to get up to when you are not at work?
My passion, outside of maritime of course, is cricket and I'm currently coaching a local U15 team. I love to spend time with family and host friends at home to show off my culinary skills.
Have you any fun facts about yourself?
I'm a little superstitious and always put my left shoe on first. I started doing this as a good luck ritual when I started playing competitive cricket and have continued ever since!
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