Maritime Work - Future Job Employment


#1

[B][I]I’m currently 25yrs old, I’m going on my 2nd issue of my 100ton master upon inland waters license. I’m born and raised in South La. I started decking straight out of high school for a local company on the Miss river, Belle Chasse Marine Transportation, www.BCMT.com as a deckhand on the pilot boats and got enough time and went to school and took the course and got my license. After runnin the pilot boats, I was at top pay at the time a few years ago which was $185 a day, and that was for a 12hr day, 6 days on and 3 days off and go home ever day. I left that job and went into the inland oil rig tending business and went and worked for Reeves Boat Company out of Houma La, runnin the 45ft and 65ft crewboats tending the inland barge drilling rigs for such companies as Parker, Hercules, Todco, Basic Drilling, Nabors, and Axis Drilling. Then got laid off about yrs ago and went to work for their # 1 competitor, Delta Towing LLC. I was getting $285 a day at Reeves but had shitty benefits and no 401k or short term or long term disability. When i was hired with Delta Towing as a crewboat capt, i got a pay cut but pay increase in a way, I got hired on at $270 a day, but from day one of hire i was enrolled in the 401K and 100% fully invested with dollar for dollar company match from day one, and 100% healthcare coverage that was totally free, no out of pocket cost, and it was for employee whether single or married with 4 kids, your whole family was covered, no cost to employee at all. So about a year ago, March 16 2008, I was hurt prett bad on the job working out of Cameron La, three days of stacked winds of 45-55mph winds and a 92ft crewboat wasn’t a ood combination for th 65,000 pound lift that the rig told us had to go to the dock immediately, I wasn’t runnin t boat, recieved a back injury, this past Feb my final option for my injury was having a Fusion Back surgery, now i’m 25 and have four 4 1/2" titanium pedicle screws drilled into my spine with connecting rods, I have a very promising lawsuit according to my attorneys, but just out of curiosity, what wuld some of you say are my chances of finding future employment in the maritime industry, once again this is all I’ve ever done straight out of high school, I know that alot of companies are still building boats at a rapid pace even to this date and ther still isn’t enough licensed personel to operate all the boats… Any info wilbe very much appreciated…[/I][/B]


#2

First off, I’m truly sorry for your situation…I have a pretty good idea what you are going through…

I had a herniated disc in my back at age 35…This surgery wasn’t near as complicated as yours was…I was in another industry at the time and have just recently switched over to maritime work…

I have lost job offers with Otto Candies and Chouest over my 10 year old surgery…As soon as the Dr’s at the physical saw “Back Surgery” they went into immidiate cover their ass ,mode…They have all kinds of tricks to not allow you to work…The easiest is for them to put lifting restrictions on you…That will finish you in the GOM because the companies have figured out away to eliminate you by putting ridiculous lifting requirements on their job descriptions…100lbs continuous…

This has been very difficult and extremely frustrating…I know that after what I have been through to finally land a decent maritime job that if I were to do this again I will go against my principals and lie through my teeth at the physical…

What a few people have told me was it may be easier to get on with a smaller company that will not be so thourough…I didn’t try that but it will depend on the physical and if they see the scar or not…

It’s certainly not impossible because I managed to do it…But my friend…It won’t be easy…good luck


#3

One more thing that comes to mind…I recieved some very good info from a maritime lawyer …He advised me to get what is called a Functional Capacity Evaluation…

It’s a measurment of what if any limitations that you may or may not have…This was origanally designed to help insurance companies settle on how much disability a person has after a serious accident…But you can use it to your advantage by getting one done…These are done by credentialed people and from what I have found are very respected…it gives the physician doing the physical a reason to cut you some slack and it helps cover their rear too…

Also, I noticed on a few applications down in LA. that there was a question …Have you ever filed a claim or had a work related injury and sought compensation for it???

I’m paraphrasing but you get my point…I don’t know how they get away with that but I will bet you that a yes answer to that question, will gaurantee you no job…


#4

More things keep coming to mind about your situation…

The Coast Guard will also want to get involved as well…Under NVIC 04/08 the new medical standards .There is a reference to invertabrae disc surgery…I’m not sure how they would classify your surgery but I would think that it will fall under this, as a fusion is done by the removal a disc…

The NVIC 04/08 enclosure 3 page 22 that if the surgery was within 5 years it will need additional review…Which I take to mean that the Coast Guard Dr’s will determine if you get a license or what/if any limitations are put on you…

http://www.uscg.mil/hq/cg5/nvic/2000s.asp#2008


#5

Yeah thats pretty much what I figured so far, my neuro surgeon that performed the surgery on me is saying that after the full 6-month recovery that I’m gonna have a 25lb weight lift restriction. Which kinda screws me bigtime. I was hopin since I’m young enough I could take a step down and deck for a while since you can jump over to towboats with a 100-ton license, but since I got hurt and everything I’ve done had to deal with I really don’t think I can’t take rolling up 35s and totin rachets for 12hr shifts. I had someone else tell me to basically lie if I ever wanna work for anyone again. Also every boat company i ever worked for in the oilfield they all had that question, " Have you eve been injured on the job and if so, have you filed for workers compensastion ?" Yeah I dont see how they do that. I’m just glad that I worked for a company that offered Long term disability and I was smart enough to pay out of pocket for it. Anyone else have any input on the topic, it will be much appreciated.


#6

JJ, feel free to PM me if you would like…I have a couple of other cards up my sleeve that you may find useful…