A FORMER cruise ship captain from Birkenhead has been given a second chance at sea following a new career move.

Mihai Muntean, 41, who lives in Birkenhead, became Mersey Ferries oldest apprentice in September 2023 after he embarked on a three-year marine engineering apprenticeship.

Mihai’s career began when he was 18-years-old when he enrolled in the National Service in Romania.

Despite his preference to join the Navy, Mihai learned the basics of mechanics and left after his service to work in a car body shop.

Wanting a career change and the call of the sea ringing in his ears, he then enrolled in college where he learned the skills needed to become a bridge officer.

When he completed his qualification, he set out for cruise ships where he became a skipper and worked on the Bridge of various cruise liners while seeing the world before climbing the ranks to First Officer.

As well as learning the skills needed to sail a ship, Mihai met his wife and made the decision to move to Wirral and start a family.

However, before he could get back out to sea, Mihai had an accident that meant he would never be able to sail again and would have to give up the job he loved.

Mihai then applied for a job at Mersey Ferries and was offered a permanent role and offered the opportunity of an apprenticeship.

Due to his injuries, he would no longer be able to work on the Bridge however, he found a renewed use for his mechanical training.

In September 2023, he began his apprenticeship as a marine engineer.

Wirral Globe: Mihai MunteanMihai Muntean (Image: Mersey Ferries)

For five months each year, until 2026, Mihai will be at college in Fleetwood, for the remainder of the year, he will be back on the water helping to keep the Mersey Ferries running through the busy summer months and putting his new skills to good use.

From September 2026, Mihai will be a qualified Level 3 Marine Engineer and will be able to spend the remainder of his career working with the Mersey Ferries, carrying out routine maintenance on the existing vessels and being part of the crew that gets the new vessel onto the Mersey.

He said: “Starting again is always going to be challenging, but it is also very rewarding.

“I am being given the chance at a new and unexpected career, one that keeps me on the water and working for an organisation that is full of history.

“I’m also surrounding myself with new people who get to share their experience with me and offer me a new perspective on life.

“I’m grateful there are so many varied apprenticeships available within the organisation; I never knew this would be an option for me and I wouldn’t have had this chance had it not been for the apprenticeship scheme.

“I would recommend apprenticeships to everyone – you get to learn a job while being able to use the skills right away, it’s something not every career path can offer you.

“It’s a great way to find a career you enjoy.”