1st AE pathway for new career prospects

Im about to take my exams for 1st AE unlimited in next days and I’m wondering what path I have to choose or where is more easy to accept me in my new beginning in USA career ( type of vessel , companies , union etc ) , what I have to expect.?

-Im coming from foreign flag vessels, with a lot of experience in tankers , chief engineer last five years uscg only accepts my sea service , so no certificates during my beginning.

Any input or thought for guidance would be much appreciated .

Sail 2ND or even 3RD on MEBA ships for a while, until you understand the dynamics of U.S. flag Union shipping.

Not many companies want to hire senior management personnel with limited experience on their ships

I generally agree with the idea of sailing 2nd or 3rd to get a feel for the social dynamics. Once comfortable that you can do the job, there are plenty of 1st jobs waiting to be filled at the moment. As far as what type of ship to sail, i.e., tankers, containerships, etc. That is really up to you.

As far as unions go…I am partial to the MEBA. The other choice is AMO. There are pluses and minuses to both.

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So as I see , I must sacrifice some contracts in order to gain the appropriate level of dynamics for the USA way of seafaring, this isn’t problem for me , im humble and I’m willing to, if it’s the right thing to do.

  • Gonna be MEBA for sure , I believe that is the best way to go.?

  • In my thoughts is also MSC because I’m used to sail for at least 8 months per year , the only thing is that I have two citizenship, im not sure if they gonna accept me there.?

First things first, test and get your license. Get all your STCW certificates in order. Grab a ship and sail. If MSC interests you, apply, it is a matter of yes or no from that point on.

МSC requested me to surrender my old Ukrainian passport (however, they didn’t require me to officially denounce citizenship) . But that was many years ago, may be things changed…

For sure I will do , thanks for the hint, stcw first, when I finish my exams I will try to lineup with training center for the stcw certificates .

Do you have any suggestions about training centers , im leaving in New York, ?

But I can work without stcw in inland or in some tugs without stcw, is that right .?

Interlake Steamship is MEBA and possibly does not require the STCW/OICEW. That would be a good place to start sailing while figuring out the STCW stuff.


Thanks for the advise , actually same I have in mind, planning to start somewhere after exams till to complete my stcw and the rest .

Just take a 1a/e job right off the bat if you have the papers. If you don’t there’ll be some dumbass who will take it and you’ll be getting paid as 2d or 3rd to handhold a lazy/dumbfuck/incompetent first.

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Of course I will take the job and I will perform my responsibilities like nobody else , if have the opportunity to choose , I know many ways to survive,.

Think twice about the lakes. They are mates without any STCW and only suitable for the Lakes. I mean real inland/lakes mates only. BEWARE. They are not qualified to sail as OS’s deep sea per USCG. Their mates lics are very different from any of the National lics accepted for STCW.
The ones with FCP do a different exam solely for the Lakes and are nowhere close to STCW.
In fact most of them do not know and do not want to know about STCW coz they do not want to go beyond the lakes.

If HP is your thing which I think it is, then you have that but beware they are not OICEW or STCW. On the deck side, they are abs not.

My plan is to find something to cover my expenses after exams till I will be able to afford for the stcw and OICEW certification courses , ,

Thanks a lot for your concern.,

The thread title says 1AE. The guy is talking about engineering. I mentioned OICEW. Why are you bringing up irrelevant mate stuff?

Engineer licenses are simpler, overall. He likely can get the national 1ae with just an exam. The OICEW/management level may be more involved…because…reasons. A savvy license consultant may be able to help minimize the STCW pain.

At the very least, one can sail on the lakes with a national license for MEBA and also attend many classes at MEBA school and possibly get tuition assistance for other required STCW classes not offered. Emphasis on possibly.

Fair enough , always upon start some thing isn’t easy .
Guys the world that I’m coming from , this is pretty much about the same and common , talking about dangerous people , locked in a vessel for more than 8 months , you have to be the babysitter for some of them for a lot of time , really difficult and awkward things.

I hope USA mariners isn’t the same as the fellas that i met in my past .

Although lakes or inland water isn’t bad idea for me to start.? Does anybody know the pay rates.?

Yes it may seem unimportant for engineers, but assessments for STCW on board a ship apply to all deck and engine licensed endorsements.
A good lic consultant out in MI said getting that may be what holds you back from an STCW since the guys on the lakes are not STCW not to mention QA being a non requirement.
Was just throwing it out there in case someone was looking long term. The op seems like deep sea and that is a far cry from inland/lakes especially when unions look at you including MEBA.

Very good point. I’m not sure if one actually needs to hold STCW endorsement to sign off on assessments. It likely is clarified in one of the 50+page NVICs. And Qualified Assessor requirement keeps getting pushed back.

With that said, the original poster likely will have to take many STCW classes. These classes usually perform the required assessments or the class certificate counts as passing all assessments (all clearly stated in the course approval letter). Said another way, hopefully the classes he will be required to take cover all the assessments required.

Or maybe our government could figure out a way to evaluate his foreign stcw endorsements and grant them with his USA license. But that would make too much sense. Especially since they basically issued him that national license to work on a big, as long as it doesn’t leave the USA…but his skills and knowledge obviously disappear once going foreign.

So you are getting 1AE only and not STCW III/2?

If you don’t have STCW than I am pretty sure MEBA is not an option. Your only option without STCW is inland.

The letter of confirmation that I received, states :slightly_frowning_face: -MMC 1st AE Motor Unlimited Horsepower.
Examination modules : 511 , 512, 514, 516, 517 ?

  • after passing of exams I will hold the national license of 1st AE ,

  • STCW and OICEW certification will take place, upon start of working and further development still 32?.

  • MEBA isn’t going to accept me .? Or is difficult to work with them cause of non stcw , please advise?

I think the MEBA will take your application. The issue will be finding jobs that do not require STCW and OICEW. Starting off with Interlake is not a bad idea if you can get a job there as it will get you covered employment. To take classes at the MEBA school you normally need 30 days covered employment in the previous 12 months of the date the class starts, or application submitted.
MEBA Students - Admissions Procedures - Calhoon MEBA Engineering School (mebaschool.org)

I know there are opportunities out there, I am not sure what they all are.