It’s almost unheard of for an employee to ask his boss to let him come to work on his day off. It just doesn’t happen. After all, everyone needs time away from their job, right?
But that is just what Fabio Samudio did when he learned that the TS Kennedy would be transiting the Panama Canal on January 23rd. He knew that he just could not stay at home and he certainly wouldn’t be satisfied standing on a viewing platform at the Miraflores Visitor Center and watch the ship cruise past. You see, not only is Fabio a Panama Canal Pilot who loves his job, he is also the proud father of 1/ Fernando Samudio, a cadet majoring in Marine Transportation at Massachusetts Maritime Academy.
Fortunately, Fabio has a boss who understands the importance of family and recognizes the sacrifice that Fabio has made having his son attend a college so far away from home. Permission was granted for Fabio to cruise aboard the TS Kennedy as a guest so that he could spend time with his son. He only stayed for part of the transit because he had to be on duty in the Canal the following morning.
During his fourteen years as a Tug Master and his thirteen years as a Panama Canal Pilot, Fabio has climbed aboard ships of all shapes and sizes. Cruise ships, tankers, pleasure crafts – too many to count. He’s stepped onto the Bridge and taken control of some of the largest and newest vessels afloat, surrounded by the latest state-of-the art technology.
Although Fabio has seen and done it all during his long career on the Panama Canal, the feeling that he had when he stepped onto the simple Bridge of the TS Kennedy was something that couldn't begin to compare with any other he's had on the job.
He savored the opportunity to visit the Bridge where his son has learned and polished his navigation skills. “It was very emotional for me to be with my son at that moment. I know that he has been working very hard. Having the opportunity to transit the canal in his senior year was amazing. It was really nice for me to meet some of Fernando’s classmates and teachers.”
Fernando had three days of liberty while in Panama. His mother, Yazmin, and his sister, Monica, were thrilled to have him home. Fabio recalled, “Family time is always welcome, especially if one of your own has been away for some time. Fernando also took some of his classmates and drove them around Panama City. They all enjoyed it very much.”
When ithe time came for the TS Kennedy to depart Balboa, Panama, it was difficult for Fabio to part from his son. Fabio chose to stay positive and look ahead to June, “It is always hard to say good-bye, but time flies and in a few months more, he will be getting his diploma. We will be celebrating soon.”
One thing is for sure, Sea Term 2020 will forever be a fond memory for this father and son.