That’s just what I left.
I was a third in the relief pool with a second’s license and was given temp promotions on occasion as needed. the pool operates differently from MSC, in that you are dispatched from home, unpaid LWOP unless using annual leave/shore leave/awards etc. If you are permanent you generally homestead.
There are about 15 ships. I have been on pretty much all they have now except Dyson. Unmanned and manned, depends on which you go to. Two are COI. Overtime varies and depends on whether the CME has the budget and isn’t someone who believes the money is coming out of his own wallet. I have had to fight for penalty pay and OT that was performed that they tried to claw back, so document everything you do.
Time off depends again on if you are permanent crew or relief. The field season is from Mar-Oct and they do pay for a “quality of life” flight home once a year I believe. Voyages are anywhere from one week to a month or so. These are small vessels, so the endurance is limited. For Covid, they have adopted a bubble system so they do one voyage and bridge it with one day in port for crew change/stores and then back out. If you are not changing out you do not leave the ship during that in port. There is a deadline to get vaccinated coming up so if you are not, you will need to be very soon. That will pretty much be the case with any company so people who want to work will have to be vaccinated. Just FYI if you aren’t.
Speaking of insane asylum. They have good people and doozies like anywhere else. They did a good job cutting some CMEs loose a few years back, people who really have no business in this business, but they did not get them all. One I can think of just retired last month, so there is another one. Not sure who else is around or who is new. There has been a lot of turnover the past year and the vaccine requirement will no doubt drive a few more people out.
Then there is the NOAA corps. This is a uniformed service. They have no licensing requirements to operate a vessel. If you have worked around the Navy, well, they get the pay and benefits of Naval officers without the combat risk (although some are also veterans). They serve as Master, Chief Mate and other deck and admin. functions. They rotate every couple of years…so they are never around long to really get the hang of what they do. Hey it’s my opinion and everyone’s got one.
They are building two T-AGOR vessels not unlike the ones acquired by WHOI and Scripps and one can hope they retire a couple of the three 50 year olds they have now.
The union is MEBA. Few if any ships have a rep that I am aware of so if you need assistance you will have to contact the rep in Norfolk who is still Tracy Burke.
Living spaces are modest. You should get your own room most of the time. Occasionally you may have to share a room, and you will get penalty pay for each day you are sharing that room. Usually with a scientist. There were few science parties aboard last year but it’s picking up now that they have the Covid protocols figured out.
You are used to doing things the MSC way and you will be in for a culture shock especially when it comes to routine things like fuel and water testing, jacket water, lubeoil etc. Some of them don’t do it all. Some just test jacket water. And potable. Some they look at you like you have two heads. They do not have a chemical contract so it’s buy whatever the hell is at Grainger’s. It will be an eye opener. Some CME are big on SAMM…some never touch it and how they get away with it is anyone’s guess. There is so much I’d love to tell you but this should answer most of your questions I hope at least.