Why is gcaptain accepting ads from Compass Marine?


The legal concept that applies to what you are describing is known as “putting form over substance”. Courts are suppose to look to the substance of a thing, not the form that it is dressed up in to disguise what is really going on. US law, lsame as MLC 2006, makes it a violation to charge a seaman a placement fee for a job. This law comes from the era before payroll direct deposit.

A court should look at this power of attorney approach of accessing the seamen’s direct payroll deposit account being used by Compass Marine and readily see that the substance of the matter is that the seaman is being charged a rather high placement fee that is being deducted out of his seagoing earnings. It should also be obvious to the court that the employer is conspiring with the recruiter to violate the law, and deprive the seaman of the protections that Congress intended.


I’m definitely nervous now!! I just filled out that application with them. Now I’m definitely nervous about what’s going on here.


I agree with you. I made my earlier statement as an alternative viewpoint to potentially show a loophole that these scumbags feel is “legal”. Surely, in their mind only, they are breaking no law…as no “witholding” occurs.


good luck in your job search oscar. I bet they blew lots of smoke up your ass on how they will find you a job.
not to get cynical, but in best of times they probably get jobs for 5 out of 10 applicants…these days I bet 1 out of 10.
you have to do what you have to do to survive. if they call you back read all the fine print and don’t sign the dotted line if it isn’t the right thing for you.


One of the keywords in the contract is “irrevocable” keep an eye out for that legal terminology in their Paycheck Mailing Agreements, or what ever they call it now?


As a rule of thumb, when anyone presents you with a contract that is incredibly one sided and overreaching it’s a good idea to just walk away. If you still think you want to go forward, then you need to have a lawyer review the contract and advise you as to what you are getting yourself into.

The best legal advice I ever got was pretty simple: “Don’t do business with dishonest people.”

I never heard of any other type of business, except these mariner-pays-the-fee recruiters, that demands a power of attorney to take control of your checking account. That should ring enough alarm bells right there.


Go away, please


ah steamer your back.


I’m curious to know if Compass ever came back with a response or if they ran away to lick their wounds and hide.


Compass Marine and the other scumbag mariner-pays-the-placement-fee recruiters are a topic worthy of some good investigative journalism and an expose’.


Looks like the ad came down off the job board.


After looking into the ad we have decided to remove it from the job board. As a matter of principle, we won’t accept listings by recruiters who charge a fee directly to the jobseeker and not the employer. Please report any violations of this rule or otherwise false or misleading advertisements directly to us by email info@gcaptain.com or using the “Contact Us” or “Report” functions, if available.

Also, we understand now that Compass Marine has been acquitted of any charges related to alleged illegal business practices.


Regardless of the anti mariner legal decision they are rather blatantly violating the law by charging the mariners they place.


Gcaptain made the right decision not to accept these scumbag mariner-pays recruiter ads, and I applauded them for it.

The term “acquitted” generally refers to a finding of “not guilty” in a criminal case. I see no indication of any criminal case involving Compass Marine. The seamen’s wage statute that prohibits withholding from a seamen’s wages is a civil violation that appears to specify a $5000 civil penalty for its violation. I see no indication that the US attorney brought any civil enforcement or civil penalty action against Compass Marine.

Compass Marine won a civil case in which it was found “not liable” for civil damages. Seaport won a similar case. It appears that most of the claims were decided on summary judgment (without trial). The Plaintiff’s (seamen) sued under General Maritime Law GML, not the federal wage statute. It appears that the statute does not create a private right of action. The 1th Circuit upheld the district court on appeal and affirmed the district court decision in favor of Compass Marine.

The court thought that is was unfair for the seaman to receive the benefit of Compass’s services, and then avoid paying anything based upon a technicality in the statute. The court was clear in its refusal to hold the employers liable for Compasses actions. The court also discussed the court’s duty to protect seamen under doctrine of seamen as the “wards of admiralty.” While not quite dead, the court suggests that the wards of admiralty concept is outdated and should be sparingly applied.

The cases turned on the legal distinction between the contracts being “voidable” under GML, as opposed to being “illegal” bAsed upon the statute. The court sees it as Congress’s problem, not the court’s to address this placement fee withholding issue, the 11th Circuit was not even interested enough in the cases to write its own opinion. I doubt whether this decision has too much precedential value, but it certainly has some in the 11th Circuit. Then next case with different facts, especially where the seamen objects and attempts to revoke the withholding agreement before the full placement fee is deducted might have a very different result. In any event, this decision is not binding outside of the 11th Circuit.

The MLC 2006 treaty, which the US has not ratified, clearly prohibits charging a mariner a fee for finding him a job, with good reason. It is embarrassing again, that US mariners do not receive basic third world seamen’s rights and protections from The US Government.

What Compass Marine did, charging the mariner a 14 days of gross pay placement fee and taking control of Mariner’s paychecks to collect it with a power of attorney apparently is not illegal under GML or Alabama law, at least not in the 11th Circuit. That does not mean that the same scheme might not be found to be illegal by some other court in some other place.

Don’t do business with dishonest overreaching money grubbing scumbags. If you are foolish enough to do so, don’t rely on the law or the government to help you.


You have to wonder about the morals of a company that would accept people from Compass Marine. They are either ignorant or in on the scam. My guess is in on the scam and getting kickbacks.


From 46 USC, sections 10314 & 10505:
(“Foreign and Intercoastal Voyages” as well as “Coastwise Voyages”)

(b) A person demanding or receiving from a seaman or an individual seeking employment as a seaman, remuneration for providing the seaman or individual with employment, is liable to the Government for a civil penalty of not more than $5,000.


The two small bayou companies that used Compass Marine and Seaport to find their employees in these two cases were Odyesea and REC Marine. There is no mystery about the attitude of the bayou companies toward their employees, nor is there any need to wonder about Jeaux Bosses morals; he is proud not to have any.


Couple friends of mine got courted and/or got jobs a few years ago thru compass and seaport. If I recall correctly aries, southern states offshore and triton divers were the companies they mentioned.


The Court viewed the contract with Compass as “voidable”, and perhaps subject to enforcement action by the government, but not actually “illegal.” That is, the burden would be on the seaman to declare the contract “void” before the performance of the contract was completed.

The court pointed out that the foreign and intercoastal statute did not apply to plaintiff’s employment, presumeably because he was only working in the Gulf. The Court did not mention the coastwise statute. But I would not be surprised if there is some reason why that would not apply either.

Apparently, the District Court was not overly impressed by the quality of the briefs in this case. O’Bryan, the lawyer that passes out those “pirate T-shirts” , represented the seaman in the Compass Marine case. The Court pointed out that the seaman only sought to recover under GML, I.e., common law, claims, not under the seamen’s wage statutes. The Court pointed out that it was not the court’s job to do legal research for the parties to look for legal theories of recovery that they had failed to argue in their briefs. The Court did discuss whether the statute might, or might not, provide a private right to sue, as opposed to only authorize the government to seek a civil pentaly for violation of the statute, but did not decide that issue. Whether the statute give the seaman the right to sue remains an open question. They court also declined to consider plaintiff areguments that it considered untimely.

A factually similar case that is properly briefed and argued by very good lawyers might well lead to a different result in favor of the seaman. The Court did point out that if the seaman had timely objected to Compass Marine and the employer and had attempted to revoke and void Compasses paycheck mailing agreement, the result may have been different. The Court’s decision in this case is confined to the facts that the seaman did not timely attempt to void or revoke the contract.

The result might also be very different in other Circuits.


So now I’m wondering… were someone to stupidly sign on the dotted line with them… then get hired… then attempt to revoke the agreement prior to payment… would they have a leg to stand on as they’re attempting to prevent an illegal act from occurring? Seems like a pretty good defense in theory… but then, I’m no Admiralty Law wonk.