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Aye aye captain Ania

PUBLISHED: 08:00 15 January 2010 | UPDATED: 09:07 01 August 2010

A YOUNG woman who has exchanged Loddon for the high seas could one day be captain of her own ship.

Ania Vanston, of Church Close, is currently training to be an officer of the watch in the Merchant Navy.

A YOUNG woman who has exchanged Loddon for the high seas could one day be captain of her own ship.

Ania Vanston, of Church Close, is currently training to be an officer of the watch in the Merchant Navy.

On successful completion of her three-year course, Miss Vanston will be qualified to navigate grand sea-faring vessels such as ferries and oil tankers and steer them along their journey.

And if she continues her studies she could ultimately become the top dog on the ship- the captain or master.

Miss Vanston, 24, had been studying to be a PE teacher when she decided to steer her career in a rather different direction. “I don't know what possessed me!” she said. “I just wanted to work and travel. It's challenging. I've got an uncle in the Merchant Navy, who's a chief engineer, so there's a bit of understanding there.”

She is currently in the middle of her course, which is partly spent studying at Fleetwood College, near Blackpool, and partly at sea.

She is on a sponsorship program with Gardline Shipping Limited, based in Great Yarmouth, which pays for her training and with whom she does her “sea time.”

She goes out to sea four months at a time, and was recently on a ship in the North Sea, sailing around the Shetland Islands and the coast of Norway.

However the course could take her anywhere in the world, as Gardline has vessels all over the globe.

Being officer of the watch carries many responsibilities, including navigating and steering the ship and being responsible for health and safety.

For this reason her studies are varied, and include celestial navigation, which relates to using the stars to plot your course, and meteorology. She will also have to cover subjects such as law and fire fighting.

On continuation of her studies she will move up to the position of chief mate, which oversees the officer of the watch, and she could ultimately become a ship captain or master.

She said that it would take around 10 years to reach this position.

“I like the fact you're responsible for everything,” she said. “But it can be dangerous, there's a massive threat of piracy in some areas.”

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