Beard Ban At MSC


Out of curiosity, did you read the study posted? All of their testing was with air purifying respirators, none was with an atmosphere supplying style. There is a very fundamental difference in how these two systems work and to take the results from testing one and say that they’re valid from the other is not right.

Following along OSHA’s recommendations, every person who might have to wear a respirator should also be tested annually with the mask that they’re going to be using. Great. Can you tell me the mask that is going to be in use for your next three ships? What happens if you get on a ship with a brand where you just can’t get a good seal? (the study you linked to seemed to indicate that one of the brands was not as good as the other across the board).

There are other issues that you come up against as well. There aren’t enough SCBAs on board to outfit the entire crew. The only SCBA you can count on being able to use is the one in your hand. Plans that involve sharing safety gear go out the window as soon as one team doesn’t come back (I speculate that this happened on the Maersk Honam). They lost four guys, which if they were on air would be four SCBAs as well. I haven’t sailed on any vessel that could absorb these kinds of losses and continue fighting the fire with any sort of effectiveness. Hell, losing four guys would be almost 25% of the crew on many commercial ships these days.

If we want to be truly serious about shipboard firefighting then every single crew member needs to be properly sized, fitted and supplied with their own SCBA and turnout gear. Every ship should have a realistic COI manning level that makes it possible to fight a fire along with properly designed turnout gear lockers. Til then I’ll focus my efforts on prevention rather than cure. If the SHTF and the fire isn’t out by the time the fire team suits up, then it’s time to pull CO2. I’ll have plenty of time to shave for my entry and inspection while I’m waiting for things to cool off.


Bow might be a Gillette stockholder…


What magical positive pressure SCBA’s are you using that are unaffected by folks sucking air too fast?


It has been a while since that change came out. Beards, dreads, and hippieness still rule at weekly fire drills.


I was at the MSC school in Jersey recently and the instructors were told to comply too. Apparently all office workers at MSC must comply, so it’s not just a fire fighting thing, but a make it more like active duty Navy thing.


Almost ate shit the other day on a E/R ladder. The goddamn steps on the ladder are needlessly small IMHO. It was my fault for not leaving myself a hand but fuck I can barely get half my foot on the there. Narrowest ladders on the entire ship and probably the most heavily trafficked and we’re always hauling something heavy up and down them.


Like the new idea of two year deployments.


Did they negotiate the grooming policy changes with the union? I ask because “past practice” generally reigns supreme, federally. An admiral can’t just usually on a whim change long term policy without a lot of back and forth- usually you give they give. What’s next? Uniforms for unlicensed? PT tests, height weight standards. Somebody going out in a heart attack during a fire or not having the endurance to finish a firefight (bad cardio) is more likely than a chemical attack. Also, if fire teams have been bearded and such for XX years they should need to show instances where a beard effected a fire attack evolution.
The fact that even office staff are supposedly supposed to fall in line gives even more credence to it being some overpaid khakis whim.
I would get it if the average MSC guy didn’t work a terrible schedule with only a pittance of off time for the way they deployed, ie equal time schedule, because pretending they’re the same as a GS office worker in terms of leave is bullshit because GS-11 Sally making 80k a year, seeing her kids and spouse and walking her dog everyday, and having weekends and holidays and “liberal” leave policies etc etc etc…
So if you are gonna have a guy sail 10 months out of the year to get paid and keep benes give him a break. Beards, earrings, whatever.
I worked with a guy who was with MSC and he liked it but in order to get appreciable time off he had to game the leave systems, abuse sick leave, etc. It was apparently encouraged as a retention tool.
I’ve worked in fed system up until two weeks ago for about 6 years total; of it about 4 years was in a sailing capacity. One was a day job basically, the other was a near equal time sched (8/6 or 15/13 depending on where vessel was working)
The common thread was that the office folks in charge or making big descusions and interpreting policy generally were clueless about what vessel life was like. Either due to never being on deck or in and engine room or because they’d been so far away timewise from being in an operational vessel role.
It sucked seeing bad decisions made about important things.
It was even worse for morale when they were just arbitrary bullshit calls for the sake of making a call.
I’ve never worked for MSC. So I’m half talking out of my fart box. That said in my role as deckhand on a govt assist tug I think 20 different ABs asked me how to get in the tugs while we were handling lines during dockings.
And I was active duty in 2004-05 on MSC ships and the crews were generally always talking about doing anything other than sail 10 months plus out of a year.
Whether or not they did is neither here nor there but what a great retention tool to keep people working too much to find anything else, or pursue an education in a different field.
I felt like some of them stay because they get effectively “institutionalized” and become “unsuitable for life ashore…”