Mentoring Stories - James Foong AFNI

26 Aug 2021 Institute News

In the next in our series of Mentoring Stories, Associate Fellow and long term supporter of The Nautical Institute, James Foong shares his experiences with mentoring throughout his career...

I was first exposed to the maritime world in 2006 at the age of 18 right after high school. The first vessel I sailed with was a 1978 French-built “SS TENAGA DUA” the oldest class among its kind in the entire LNG fleet of MISC Berhad during that time. I passed CoC class 1, the highest seafarers' qualification at the age of 28 in Manukau as the youngest Master Mariner certified by the Government of New Zealand at that time.


I have always had a strong belief in the mentoring process since the beginning of my career. One of my first mentors at sea, a bosun from Indonesia, once told me "good name travels far, a bad reputation can be known immediately!" Throughout my 15 years serving at sea, I always kept those words in my mind, which are still very true.


I have heard stories which have included the names of good seafarers whom I have never sailed with before, even ones from other ships or companies. I have also witnessed those with bad reputations whose names can be known immediately on the same ship I am on.


Legends once said there are two people on board who could be a great influence on the entire ship environment, one is the Master and another is the... Cook!


Thanks to my previous mentors at sea, with hands-on experience in leadership and performance training, today I have moved to a management role and am currently attached with the shipping arm of the Malaysian state oil company. This has now given me the opportunity to expand my soft skills as well as strengthen my technical knowledge in the Marine LNG & Offshore Industry, specifically in HSSE sector.


I was one of the youngest voices that recently featured as the "Top Maritime Influencers You Should Follow" by MarineTraffic Blog. I may have left the sea but the sea has never left me. I am well ready at any time given the opportunity to face the next challenges and contribute to the effort of bringing the maritime industry to the next level globally. Captain James Foong, AFNI Manager - Lead Auditor Marine Assurance HSSE