I’m Bénédicte, I’m 24 and an engineer working for Chantiers de l’Atlantique,…
Spotlight Feature – Rosa Vilariño-Lopez
Rosa is a Principal Naval Architect with over ten years experience in the industry. Her principal responsibilities include project management and providing advice on ships’ stability and watertight integrity, safety and general design. She also oversees and approves calculations and is responsible for managing and executing stability analysis and surveys on all types of floating structures.
Rosa provided onsite shipyard supervision services throughout the build of the RRS Sir David Attenborough for the British Antarctic Survey. Her role also included conducting plan approval, checking of drawings, documents and calculations for compliance with the owner’s specification.
What attracted you to the Maritime world?
I wasn’t particularly sure about what career path to take, but I knew it had to be linked to science. I come from a city heavily linked to the navy, home to various shipyards and to a university that teaches a naval architecture degree. Going into engineering was a logical choice for me rather than a calling, but it has allowed me to fulfil some life goals such as being independent and constantly grow, both professionally and personally.
In your maritime career, what is your proudest moment/achievement?
Every project has its challenges, even those that look like simple ones. We design or oversee design concepts for projects that when built, may stay around beyond the span of our career. In that context, I regard having been part of a team that oversaw the build of RRS Sir David Attenborough as one of my biggest career achievements.
What guided you towards this path?
I took part in a exchange programme abroad when in university and I benefitted from exposure to a more practical and design industry linked educational approach than the one I had experienced so far as a student. Soon after I started my working life, I realised I wanted to work closer on the design side. I came to the UK, had a job interview for Hart Fenton & Co., owned by Houlder at the time, and that was it.
What is the biggest misconception about your job?
The job title sounds very glamorous, especially when getting to the part of talking about travelling to exotic places for surveys. It is often not realised the level of management, effort and co-ordination involved in gathering information on board or around any floating object…not a pleasure trip!
What is the most exciting part of your day-to-day job?
Surprisingly, taking part in meetings. There is always awareness or something useful to take away when listening to other people share their thoughts. I enjoy the technical check as well, especially if linked to safety. I find thinking of all the possibilities exciting and challenging.
What would you say to young females thinking about any career across the maritime industry?
I would say go for it. It may not be the easiest path but it is an exciting one. There are moments where you will feel some despair in an industry that is still very much male dominated, we all have at some point, but keep your focus, know your worth and help educate and support those around you. Being part of a team that does not regard gender as a defining characteristic to set and achieve professional goals is what the norm should be for all of us.