Pursuing a degree in marine transportation has allowed college junior Paige Halamicek the opportunity to have a career out on the water, her favorite place to be.
Halamicek, who is a 2017 graduate of El Campo High School, plans to graduate from Texas A&M University - Galveston with a bachelor of science degree in marine transportation with a United States Coast Guard 3rd Mate Unlimited Tonnage license in May 2021.
“Ever since I was a little girl I loved being on the water, which is why I chose to pursue this major,” she said. “Growing up in El Campo, the oil field was a huge part of my life and influenced me to have a job offshore.”
Internships at sea are part of the requirement to obtaining a degree in marine transportation.
“In order to graduate, all cadets are required to complete three summer sea terms totaling 180 days of sea time,” she said.
Her first experience was on board a training ship.
“My first summer sea term, summer 2018, was on board the Massachusetts Maritime Academy training ship Kennedy,” she said.
Most recently, Halamicek spent an internship from following her sophomore year from May until this month on the drillship Deepwater Proteus. Deepwater Proteus, a Transocean drillship, is considered the “second largest offshore drilling company in the world,” she said.
“I worked offshore on three week hitches on board the Deepwater Proteus, then I had three weeks off at home. I had a total of five hitches on board.”
For each three week hitch, her trip out to sea began with a flight into the New Orleans airport where she would be transported to the Boothville, La. heliport and then by helicopter to the drillship which is about 100 miles out in the Gulf of Mexico.
“The Deepwater Proteus is a DSME 12,000 ultra deepwater drillship, which is a newer class of drillship,” she said.
With a massive span of 781 feet long, Deepwater Proteus houses up to 200 personnel.
“It has dual Derrick activity and can drill in up to 12,000 foot of water,” she said.
Her internship experiences included working alongside the marine department personnel, dynamic positioning operators, drilling department personnel and the engine department.
“Transocean allowed me the opportunity to interact with the other departments on board to broaden my knowledge about all operations onboard,” she said.
As a 3rd Mate, the emergency equipment is her primary job on the rig.
“I spent countless hours with the 3rd Mate in the lifeboats completing weekly/monthly/ and yearly inspections,” she said.
Halamicek first became interested in offshore drilling during one of her classes at TAMU-Galveston.
“One of my former professors, Kate Fossati, made a big impression on my decision to pursue the offshore industry with the dynamic positioning class I took at TAMU Galveston,” she said. “The first day of class she showed us a YouTube video of a drillship she had previously worked on. The video had a huge impact and lasting impression on my decision to pursue a career on a drillship. When the internship with Transocean presented itself, I jumped at the opportunity, knowing I would get to experience first hand the unique industry that what was presented in the video and stories Kate had told me.”
Halamicek gained more than learning experiences these past few months on board the drillship. She formed lasting friendships and a new family.
“After five hitches offshore I developed a family on the Deepwater Proteus. My last hitch we raised money to support a fellow ‘offshore family member’ in her journey to raise awareness for breast cancer,” she said. “Myself and the entire Proteus crew walked over 242 miles on the helideck. I was overwhelmed, seeing how all the crew supported her because she was part of the offshore family.”
Next summer Halamicek will intern on one the Maritime schools training vessels.
“So far I have not heard where our ports of call will be,” she said. “After spending time on a drillship I have no doubt in my mind that after college I will be pursuing a career in the oil and gas industry on a drillship.”