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Deep sea talks: Andreia Afonso about the unknown, determination and women's position as ROV pilots

Updated: Feb 28, 2022

The 8th episode of our "Women in Blue" interview series is a particular one. In this special edition we invited Andreia Afonso to speak about an unconventional and very particular job, that of ROV pilot. To celebrate this we will be sharing this episode in two parts: the first usual format (podcast+interactive video), followed by a separate blog post, that includes a virtual tour of Andreia's work headquarters.

'I would like to thank my family and friends for the wings and the trust, and my work family, EMEPC colleagues and especially my team from Luso, for the support and the friendship.' (Andreia Afonso)

Since 2008 Andreia Afonso is an ROV pilot at the Task Group for the Extension of the Continental Shelf, a Governmental organization acting under the Portuguese Ministry of the Sea, that conducts applied and fundamental marine research and the gathering of a large multidisciplinary marine data collection, especially in the fields of hydrography and marine geology and geophysics. In her team, Andreia works with other 4 male colleagues, forming a multidisciplinary group of technicians and researchers. She has been part of numerous expeditions, dealing with different marine equipments, multidisciplinary data analysis and information management of large data volumes.

In the interview Andreia shares the story of her career path that took her from her studies in oceanography to a very technical field, that of ROV pilot. Throughout the interview we touched upon different aspects: from the uncertainty of leaving 'known' ground, to the difficulties of having to prove yourself as a woman in a physically challenging context, to the importance of being supported by family and your team, but also the importance of an equalitarian education that encourages curiosity instead of fostering gender divides. Having dealt with many challenges to get where she is today, Andreia advises that 'if you feel you are different because you are drawn to a technical field, don't. Do not give up even if the people around you tell you that this is not the right field for you. You will figure that out. You will choose and then adjust to the changes. Go for it. It's challenging but it's also nice stories that you can tell your friends."

To listen to the full interview, click the image below and access the podcast:

To access specific topics, please click on the images in the ‘mosaic’ below:

Enjoy the interview and stay tuned because soon we will publish the second part of this interview!

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