Farstad’s first Indigenous
officer shares pearls of wisdom Being Broome born-and-bred, Ryan Cobb has always had a close affinity with seafaring. However, it was his personal ambition coupled with Farstad Shipping’s award-winning Indigenous training and employment program that will soon see the 35-year-old become the first Indigenous seafarer with an international unrestricted Master Class I Certificate.
BY THE time this edition of Resource People hits the desks of resource professionals across Australia, Farstad Shipping’s Ryan Cobb will have completed his Chief Mates and Masters exams and embarked on his 12-month seafaring stint. He’ll then sit his final exam with the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) to become the first Indigenous Australian master with an unrestricted Class 1 Certificate – an accomplishment almost lost on him. “Being the first Indigenous person to achieve this qualification certainly wasn’t the initial goal, rather it’s something I’ve realised in the meantime,” Cobb says. “Originally, I wanted to be a pearl diver in the family tradition. Pearling is the key industry in Broome and the local population have worked in that industry for the past 150 years. Growing up it was an attractive job; a young guy’s job with some adventure. “I did nine years in pearling before first sailing with Farstad in 2006. I’d spent too many hours under the water and then figured if I was going to be driving boats, I wanted to get to the top job. So that’s what I’ve since pursued with Farstad and I’m almost there.” In 2004/5, the emerging LNG industry saw a number of vessels arriving in the Broome and Dampier region to support offshore exploration. Such activity had previously been seen in the early ‘80s when Woodside was building its North West Shelf project, but rarely since. That would all soon change. “The downturn in the tourism and pearling industries coincided with the emergence of the oil and gas sector. It
Farstad’s first Indigenous officer, Ryan Cobb
www.amma.org.au | SPRING 2015 | RESOURCEPEOPLE