Thanks so much for your Reply John. Love your sight. actually met you once on a walking trail in South Korea. Glad to see you’ve had such success with G-Captain.
Yes, I was touring the the first Triple-E!
That sounds about right. Unfortunately My industry is not represented by unions and no such contracts exist. Also the Captains don’t really have much say. They do whatever the vessel manager tells them to do, trust me they want to go ashore as badly as the rest of us. They know they will be immediately fired if they grant shore leave. All the responsibility and no real authority.
I can honestly say thats not true, but think what you like. It won’t hurt my feelings. A more appropriate question would have been what don’t I wan’t to do ashore. Part of what attracted me to this industry in the first place was traveling and experiencing different cultures, and food, and people. I think its safe to say I’m not alone, perhaps you would be just as content staying aboard the vessel and not seeing the sights, and thats fine, but don’t assume we all share your opinion.
Then ‘something’ told you wrong. I have worked for companies before that didn’t let people go into town and it wasn’t any big deal. In Fourchon I never saw anyone not allowed of the boat; people would go to other boats, regularly go for a run on the dock, occasionally even walk to the gas station to buy something (a bit of a hike), etc. Plus, you can have anything you need delivered to the boat.
You weren’t down here very long then.
My general rule for myself is “Don’t get off the boat”. Nothing good will come from it.
Sailors, going to the bar? Heaven forbid…
And I thought our liberty policies sucked…
Well, there are no sights to see in Fourchon, though I guess you could be spending a lot of dock time some place interesting.
The commercial industry can be a lot stricter on alcohol consumption than you’re used to. Most workboat companies have a 0% BAC policy at all times while “at work”.
I’m not saying this company doesn’t have the prerogative to hold its people on the boat, and maybe the job market down there lets them get away with it, but I can’t think of an easier way to crush morale than denying the crew shore leave (and letting them tie one on). As long as they’re not turning up for watch in the morning hung over, what’s the harm?
Apologies for my incorrect assumption.
Good for you concerning your crew & shore leave. I have worked with more than a few captains who claimed to interpret their company’s shore leave policies as “no shore leave period”. All those captains had a few things in common: 1. They were insecure about their jobs. 2. They received some type of twisted pleasure by having control over others. 3. Their crews had nothing but disdain for them when he wasn’t around. 4. They were usually miserable with everything else in their lives as well.
I used to work in the GOM with Tidewater. In Port O’ Connor, Aransas Pass, Surfside, Galveston, Cameron, Morgan City, Amelia, Venice & even Fourchon, I always found a place & a reason to go to shore as long as the Captain said it was okay. I never came back late, drunk or too tired to pull my next watch & be on time. There’s a few reasons why I will not return to the GOM oil field & the shore leave policies & insecure asshole captains are two of them.
When I started in 2001 on deep sea vessels, if the vessel had approval of port, we went ashore. Post 9/11, going ashore was slightly restricted but terminals added requirements to make it a pain in the ass but most captains would try to make accommodations but it rested on $400 van rides to travel 200ft to the gate. When I switched to non-union vessels, they would say that the company forbade it to get guys to quit both asking but I did Force the issue when we were in shipyard in Galveston as I had a former instructor invite me to his home for dinner… it was double secret… don’t tell anyone… Then on drill rigs in the shipyard, I was only restricted once because the Angolan crew to disappear under the cover of vessel security…
I think it’s BS to restrict us crew in us ports… if you get drunk and do something stupid, it’s on you as an adult not the company… the guys on the dock can have a beer and chase girls why the F can’t I…
I know you have been “tied down” to the GoM and Fouchon for a long time, but maybe you should update your knowledge about “the rest of the world”.
Many seafarers who are on deep sea ships are permanently employed directly by the shipping company or ship manager and have a fixed rotation, which may be anything from 2/2, or 4/4 for officers, but up to 6/3 for junior crews. (Months on/off) Payment are continuous 12mth./yr.
For crews on European owned/operated OSVs the schedule is dependent on area of operation, but usually 4/4 weeks in European waters and 5/5 weeks when operating overseas.
There are few seafarers on contracts exceeding 6 months, even when hired through crewing agents.
For those considering working offshore but, after reading this post, say “F that!” Consider that most ports today suck anyway, that even cargo ships aren’t in port very long nowadays, the longest hitches offshore are 6weeks and that many offshore companies are flexible with travel.
While I was working offshore I would often take a different route home each time and spend a few days (sometimes weeks) in my connection city. I was also a platinum frequent flier all the years. When the company couldn’t honor my request for a different route home I’d just ask for a week long layover in whatever connection city I was flying through (usually Paris or Frankfurt) and I’d use my points jump a connection somewhere else.
Once I got the company to buy me a round-the-world ticket with multiple stops because I found one that was less expensive than my regular flight home.
Working overseas in a highly technical position also means a lot of training. This stinks for guys with families but if you’re single and work for a good company you can basically take an unlimited amount of training and choose schools in different cities around the world.
The younger guys are even better at this than I was. The second mate on my last ship is now a Captain for Maersk. He has a condo in Vegas because it’s cheap and tax free but he’s never home (it’s basically a storage unit for his stuff)… he spends the large majority of his off time traveling the world and, because he does jt so often, he’s really figured out how to get really cheap and very nice lodging.
My only regret is that I was once one click away from booking a flight on the Concord with frequent flier miles but decided to wait a few months… a few weeks later a concord crashed and they pulled all the planes.
Wow! I thought the forum was dying but this thread has really given everybody an opportunity of expressing a view.
In 20 years at sea I was only prevented from going ashore twice. Once on a deep sea ship on its way to Dakar in West Africa from China. When we stopped for bunkers in Durban no-one was allowed ashore. I think the captain believed we would all desert, and he could have been right. The next time was over a three month tour in Saudi Arabia. The Saudis had banned foreigners from going ashore, but it turned out that this prevented the ships from leaving port since the crew needed to step onto the quay to let the ropes go, so they changed it to allow them to go up to one metre from the side of the ship – except for me. I was allowed to go to the barge office to get the ship’s orders.
When I was captain in the North Sea neither the company or I prevented anyone from going ashore, and the only time I had any trouble was on a seismic ship, when I used to have to tour the bars to get the seismic crew back on board. That probably says something.
Tanajib in Saudi is just a hole in the desert, and I have flown over Fouchon. It did not look much different, but Aberdeen and Peterhead are still fun cities, as are some of the European ports, and you can have a good evening in Stavanger or Bergen if you can deal with the price of the beer, so if you are going to work offshore try a European gig
It is a bit of a hike. We were denied shore leave in Port Fourchon because they didn’t want us to have beer. But I remember the walk and I remember the pizza, so there must have been times when that wasn’t the rule. They used to allow people to get beer, and then they lost someone over the side when he was taking a leak. Instead of prohibiting peeing over the side, they prohibited shore leave.
I’ve never gotten shore-leave in Africa, except in Namibia, which is THE BEST. Libya, ok, maybe not. But Ghana would have been fine, I think. Weirdly, I was forbidden shore leave in Valletta once. I got to go a few months later, though. What a gem. Had a lovely time in New Plymouth, once, too. Hammerfest will never forget us… Its not like that on a tanker. Late night chocolate run, if your lucky, and by the way, pick up new leads for the multimeter.
I’ve only seen union rules regarding this which basically said if in port more than 8 hours or something a lighter had to be made available, confinement to ship was well spelled out and required a disease or some such.
A private employer can do whatever they can get away with (what the crew will stand for) would be my assumption. A pretty short observation here but I think fairly close.
Never been denied by company. My contract calls that restricted to the ship and you get paid for it. I have seen some of the ports deny leave because they don’t want you walking through their refinery. Or they make it so hard that it’s not worth it. True that today’s shore leave isn’t what it once was, but it is nice to plant feet on the ground once in awhile. Even if it’s just to go to store or grab dinner
You “know” wrong.
Not any of the ones I’ve met.
The OSV company that I worked for had boats all over the world. I started in the GOM then went strictly international. One of the countries I worked in was Nigeria in Escravos & in Port Harcourt. Death was lurking around every corner in Nigeria & even a mosquito bite could kill you. But all the captains I worked with international understood the SMS manual to allow shore leave. After a half dozen years I returned to the GOM to be closer to home. When I returned a few prick captains in Fourchon claimed the same SMS manual forbade walking to Charlie Hardisons to buy a newspaper or lottery ticket. That got old very quick, life is too short to spend a career working with a bunch of assholes & being treated as a child confinded to a few rooms for 6+ months of the year. One of my mottos now is, if I’m not allowed shore leave, I won’t be won’t be working there very long. We shouldn’t let people treat us like prisoners.