Dec 272008

Vanuatu's Don SheetzDon Sheetz, executive vice president of the Vanuatu registry, has been a good friend of MAC almost since it began. Now he’s heading for retirement, sort of.

On December 31, 2008, Don Sheetz, who has been with the Vanuatu registry for almost 18 years, stepped down from the position of Executive Vice President and “slipped away,” retiring from VMSL in February 2009 after taking some unused vacation. Don will not, however, fade away completely as he will continue to assist the registry, Vanuatu, VMSL, and possibly other companies, as a maritime consultant. He intends to remain active in the industry.

He will also continue to be involved with casualty investigations, assisting Captain DeCharles if necessary, and remain Vanuatu’s representative at the Marine Accident Investigators International Forum, where he was recently elected Deputy Chairman with effect from July 1, 2009. He remains involved in the issue of confined space entry, among others, hoping to be able to coordinate the submission of a paper on the subject to IMO in the near future.

Don originally joined Vanuatu in March 1991 as Vice President, Safety; was appointed Deputy Commissioner of Maritime Affairs in December 1992; and was promoted to Executive Vice President in January 1997.

He has been involved in the maritime and associated industries since his appointment to the United States Merchant Marine Academy in 1962 and his subsequent 1966 graduation. He has served in a licensed capacity as a deck officer rising up to, and serving as, a chief officer aboard dry cargo ships.

After leaving the sea he then spent over 15 years with the Chevron group of companies rising through the ranks from vessel operations assistant to operations planner, senior operations planner, senior operations analyst, and safety engineer – not necessarily in that order – in the shipping company; then becoming senior planner in the corporate supply and distribution department; then crude supply manager for five of Chevron’s refineries in Europe; and then manager of crude and products trading in both London and New York, leaving Chevron in mid-1986. He earned his MBA at Golden Gate University in 1981 while working in San Francisco.

After a short stint as a crude oil, then clean products, broker at a small Connecticut brokerage, “Hating every minute of it,” he says, Don joined Vanuatu, which he has loved from the beginning: the job, the people, and the country.

Then why retire? “I am not exactly retiring: I have two beautiful little granddaughters living in California, two sons and their beautiful wives, a huge extended family with 7 brothers and sisters, their spouses, and some 30 nieces and nephews. I just hope to spend more time with all of them.” Don and his wife June also want to travel having already logged some 61 and 45 countries, respectively.

All of us at Maritime Accident Casebook wish Don safe sailing, and we suspect we’ll be hearing from him again.

Good luck Don.

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