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Capt. Isabel Castiello Cabaleiro, trailblazer

By 26 Mar 2023May 10th, 2023No Comments

Captain Castiello is one of Peninsula’s newest crew members. At just 25 years old, she has successfully climbed the maritime career ladder thanks to her discipline, intelligence, thirst for knowledge, ambition, and hard work.
We recently had a candid conversation with her to discuss her experiences and her general journey to becoming a Captain.

Following high school studies in Asturias, Spain, Isabel knew she “loved the sea” and set her sights on doing “whatever it took” to have a career in the maritime industry.

After 4 years of studying her Degree in Maritime Navigation plus an additional mandatory year at sea as an intern (required to become a Merchant Navy Officer), she returned home with the title of Second Officer.

Isabel undertook her internship with Peninsula, onboard the Gibunker100, getting first-hand experience and putting her 5 years of study into practise. From day one, she felt affinity towards the global crew team and earned her status as a valued team member. Life at sea is challenging and working onboard any ship can be stressful. However, Isabel was finally experiencing what she had longed for since she was a teenager.

When asked how difficult it was to study a Master’s degree while doing her mandatory year at sea, Captain Castiello said “it was actually incredibly useful to be able to do both at the same time. I was able to gain real world experience, as opposed to just reading theories. It showed me what it was to be part of the crew and how to operate a bunker vessel”. Her intelligence, skill, curiosity, and determination made her a great candidate and one that Peninsula was not going to risk losing.

Whilst she was Second Officer and, a year later, First Officer, Isabel fully contributed onboard several of Peninsula’s vessels. The task she enjoyed most was the technical bunkering process: cargo loading and unloading. Now as Captain, she misses that part of the job, but guides and supervises the other officers in that endeavour, imparting her knowledge and experience.

In April 2022, Isabel obtained the title of Merchant Navy Captain and was soon after promoted within Peninsula, becoming our first female barge captain.

We caught up with her as she was about to embark on her 4th captaincy rotation. We asked what being a Captain entailed on a daily basis. “It is mainly about the manoeuvring of the bunkering vessel and overseeing all operational aspects of the barge itself. The most important element, however, is ensuring the safety and responsibility of my crew and that of the vessel”. She added “one of the most crucial aspects I oversee is the crew’s personal and professional management and care. Our crew are fully responsible for getting Peninsula’s products into our customers’ ships, so their safety and that of the operations is what matters most”. Captain Isabel is also passionate about creating a strong camaraderie on-board. “Strong teamwork is vital on-board our ships” she added. She is also responsible for keeping audits and certifications up to date – another important aspect that our customers expect from a professional supplier like Peninsula.

Captain Castiello is always ready to take on any challenge or unforeseen circumstance. She likes to be prepared at all times and is highly detail-orientated, ensuring everything functions as expected. She plans carefully and is ready for any eventuality in which she would have to take control of the situation. With a smile she adds, “as much as I want to avoid unexpected circumstances that allow for the business to run smoothly, these are in fact the biggest lessons and best memories, after the storm has passed”.

Confidently navigating the seas for a month at a time, Captain Castiello constantly returns for more action. Since her intern days at Peninsula, she has proven her worth to everyone she has met, throughout every test faced. Her dream was to become a Captain and after starting her journey to achieve this by choosing her degree in Maritime Navigation, she is pleased to celebrate that she has succeeded and is an “avid woman of the sea”. Isabel now works in her ocean “office” – the best view in Peninsula!