Shipping minister John Hayes has presented the 2016 UK Officer Trainee of the Year award to Robert Bellis, now serving as a third mate on the British Antarctic Survey vessel James Clark Ross.
The award — which is supported by Nautilus — recognised ‘outstanding achievement in academic and professional progress’ by a newly-qualified officer. The Union is part of a judging panel which selects the winner from candidates nominated by colleges around the UK.
Robert studied at John Moores University in Liverpool, gaining a BSc in nautical science as well as his OOW qualifications. Sponsored by the Conway Merchant Navy Trust, he had seatime as a cadet with Hanson dredgers, Arklow Shipping and the British Antarctic Survey.
He became interested in a seafaring career after joining the Sea Cadets at the age of 10 and is now the commanding officer of his local Sea Cadets unit in Ellesmere Port. ‘It is a great honour to receive the award,’ he said. ‘I love working at sea — the responsibility and the variety is fantastic and I hope to go all the way to becoming a master, before moving ashore to work.’