I was just offered a 3rd mate job with MSC, has anyone had experience with them that would like to share. All I’ve heard is you make good money, but ship out for long periods of time.
It depends, I have an unlimited master license and a permanent job as a master, I would turn down the job if offered. . But if I had a third mate’s license and I was sitting on the beach going broke I wouldn’t be posting on a forum I’d be packing my bags.
You will be a watchstander with two ABs and an ordinary, you generally have low responsibilities except for endless paperwork, you will be on ship with people who stay signed on for several years and see new people as trespassers in their home.
You should NEVER plan on getting relived on time. Two months late is normal. While overseas you will not get a good sleep even by a mariners standard.
Finally, you will be treated like a child/ terrorist by the Navy. You won’t get liberty, you won’t go ashore. Bring your own satphone as the Navy often cuts off sat communications (including email) to reduce the telecom budget.
That said you will make very good money. If you need to make a wad of cash in a year or two then MSC is for you. If you want some kind of life or want to keep your family/friends than find a different employer.
How many other job offers do you have?
I’d do it
spend a year or so, take the money and then go from there
If you accept it then they will send you to New Jersey for six weeks training but you are getting paid for it. I was Third Mate on a duty oiler in the Persian Gulf for four months. I did get relieved on time. The money was good, take the money and run is what I say. The whole thing was a pain in the ass but what job isn’t I suppose. I quit after my second ship because for me it was eating up my life and I was not dedicated enough for it. I felt like MSC was all consuming. I saw people who had been onboard for years and lived on the ship, made it their home. At least with a union upon discharge you are free to go away and forget about it.
I had a good, albeit short experience. Generally had a good crew, and really nothing terrible that stood out, but long trips just weren’t for me. I did manage to get relieved on time - at that time, there was an excess of 3/Ms on shore so I had my pick of discharge dates. They actually sent my relief early.
You have to do a minimum of 120-day trips, and request (key word here) a relief 60 days in advance; you can stay on for as long as you’d like. Guaranteed (paid) off time, if you sail on a non-domestic based ship, works out to about 1 day off for every 10 sailed; thats weekdays off. You can request additional unpaid leave after that, at their discretion.
Expect to double your salary with OT. Benefits are pretty good and you get a government retirement plan. As a 3/M, your responsibilities are generally pretty mild; actually probably the easiest money I ever made.
Personally, I left because I realized that the money wasn’t worth my time and I really didnt enjoy not having any life outside of work. It’s not necessarily good money, [I]you’re just working more[/I]; on average I make a far higher daily rate with my current commercial company, so if they forced me to work 8-10 months a year, MSC wouldnt have anything on them. By leaving MSC I figured that I was essentially buying my off time back, which was OK with me.
I’d second what Mr 100-ton said, do a year, take the blood money and go from there; you’ll figure it out soon enough. Of the dozen or so people that started with me in the orientation, I can count 2 or 3 that are still there 4 years later; most did 1 or 2 trips and skedaddled.
I’m presently on an msc ship as an AB, and have been with the company for 5 years. I have my third mates license since oct 10 but still sailing as AB. The hawspiper program is a joke, as they have hired yet another 40 academy grads to start training in june, but will not offer me or the other ab’s with a license the jobs first. We would only get a temporary position to get them out of jam like christmas time, until a newly hired permanent with no experience comes onboard and I get to help train them. Congrats on the offer, but take the advise from others. I have put my life on hold to quickly get the experience and sea time but now I’m spinning my wheels for ungreatful company. Of course with all government jobs, it goes in cycles and in a couple years they will taking any and all thirds as there are no reliefs so you will not be getting off when you request, even though you gave them 60 days notice for relief which is required.
Good to you.
On that same note, since I am looking for my first mate position, any insight on companies that are hiring??
IMHO: You are at a critical juncture in your career. You either accept it. Or you argue, dither, and bitch about how you aren’t respected. Or you accept and move UP! Just MHO! You mention the Christmas time jams. Yup. How do you you expect to move up? It takes determination and verve. Just ‘expecting’ an opportunity won’t work. Take the opportunity and run with it.
I bet MSC paid the 25 grand for you to get your license. Now they will ignore you and hire some snot nosed school kid as third mate, spend our tax dollars to train them up only to have them quit in less than a year. By then you will have come to your senses and quit.
Waste, fraud and abuse… MSC delivers!
Once they reimburse you for your thirds give them notice and quit. Hell, I’d say go find a headhunter to get a mates job if it came to that. Just don’t stick around with any company that intentionally cockblocks your professional progression for their connivence.
Back when I was a cadet I heard you go to the head of the line for Group 1 in MEBA … it struck me then that it might be worth it in the short term for that. But from everything else I’ve heard both on these boards and when I worked at MSC HQ … NO EFFING WAY would I sail with them.
[QUOTE=KPEngineer;48655]Back when I was a cadet I heard you go to the head of the line for Group 1 in MEBA … it struck me then that it might be worth it in the short term for that. But from everything else I’ve heard both on these boards and when I worked at MSC HQ … NO EFFING WAY would I sail with them.[/QUOTE]
What job you turn down depends upon your goals are and your situation. I worked for MSC as well as a lot of other outfits. MSC was not the worse by far. The lowest paying job I held was non-MSC, the least safe job I’ve had was non-MSC, the biggest dick captain was non-MSC, the worse run ship I sailed was non-MSC. My paychecks at MSC didn’t bounce which is more then I can say for other places I worked.
Anyone one who thinks MSC is the worse place to work doesn’t know what else is out there. I would’t turn down any job based on what is said by people I don’t know.
Take the job. Its just a job not career. You aren’t marrying MSC. You will get all your government training required to serve about MSC ships out of the way and get some experience. Take each hitch one at a time and just relax. I never thought I would stay beyond my second hitch with MSC, but it turned out the ship was great, the captain awesome, and I was having a good time. Once the good times stopped, I left. This is just your first job and you need experience, get it. MSC is a great place to learn about watch standing since you will get to do things no other merchant captain in their right mind would allow you to do.
Take the job and get what you can out of it. Personally, I spent 8 years with MSC, and left with my chief mate’s license, experience, money in my pocket and, luckily, my marriage. If I’d stayed longer, I’m not so sure about the marriage. It’s tough on a family life, but for a young single guy, it’s not a bad life. The work is interesting and as has been mentioned, the checks aren’t going to bounce.
Take it. I almost turned down the offer last year but accepted it last minute. A bunch of my class mates turned up there noses at even applying with them. Of the 90 deckies we graduated, 11 applied, 11 got hired. 6 months later when 70% of the class was sitting in the hall or on a harbor assist tug they sure regretted not going with MSC. I’ve lucked out and gotten on a good ship with a good crew and captain. Yes it’s blood money, but blood money is better then no money. I’m sailing with them for a couple years until commercial jobs start opening up, and probably gonna get MSC to pay for my upgrade classes in the mean time. Worse case, you take the job, get the MSC training (big plus if feel like working on a pre-po ship), then quit after the training.
[QUOTE=paco3333;48647]I’m presently on an msc ship as an AB, and have been with the company for 5 years. I have my third mates license since oct 10 but still sailing as AB. The hawspiper program is a joke, as they have hired yet another 40 academy grads to start training in june, but will not offer me or the other ab’s with a license the jobs first. We would only get a temporary position to get them out of jam like christmas time, until a newly hired permanent with no experience comes onboard and I get to help train them. Congrats on the offer, but take the advise from others. I have put my life on hold to quickly get the experience and sea time but now I’m spinning my wheels for ungreatful company. Of course with all government jobs, it goes in cycles and in a couple years they will taking any and all thirds as there are no reliefs so you will not be getting off when you request, even though you gave them 60 days notice for relief which is required.
Good to you.
On that same note, since I am looking for my first mate position, any insight on companies that are hiring??
They did something similar with me. I had been there 12 years when I went out and got my license on my own dime. Had it for four years without a promotion. Got the good evals and all, but was never put on the “best qualified” list because all the school boys and girls had a college degree. Every june there would be a new crop of acadamy grad third mates. Finally quit in digust and never looked back.
As I told another poster in this forum, MSC is what you make of it. Like every other company, it has its good and bad - its not for everybody, but, if you can put up with the bad - the good is very good! Its been a rewarding career (I’ve been with them for over 30 years) with fast upward mobility for those who apply themselves!
The best of the good is that the job starts at last line - you’re not a bus driver sailing from point (a) to (b) with pilots taking you in and out of port, longshoremen loading and unloading you - you can work underway replenishment, towing and salvage, cable layers, research ships, etc. The worst of the bad is the inability to relieve people on time and I can say that MSC is working hard to fix this, but for alot of reasons, the fix remains out of their grasp. Several times in my career, I’ve questioned the wisdom of my decision to remain with MSC and every time, after seeing what its like on the other side of the fence, I conclude the grass is no greener over there. It’s just a different pasture.
A Third Mate is the bottom of the deck officer ladder but, alot of the senior people (like me) are at or near retirement age and MSC is currently experiencing a vacuum at the top - last month, for example, they identified eight new Masters. Eight Masters, means, eight more ChMates necessary, eight more second mates required, etc. and promotion is usually from within. This trend may well continue for the next several years as the fleet expands and the old-timers retire. To get to Master, however, there are alot of roadblocks to overcome and hoops to jump through, but there is no finer feeling as a Master than watching that carrier pull away from you after three or four hours alongside, hooked together with wires, with a full load of gas, full magazines of bombs and bullets and full lockers of food - and it all came from YOU!
hhmariner… how do you deal with being at sea 9 to 10 months a year for 30 years? From what people tell me the long hitches take a toll real quick.
How do I deal with being stuck at sea for 9-10 months of the year? First and foremost, I really ENJOY the work! Second, I married late in life (age 40) to a strong woman who understood that going to sea was who I am and could take care of things at home while I was gone. We had a “trial” period (one year of a normal schedule) before we actually tied the knot. She understands “intellectually” the absences but doesn’t like them “emotionally”! I picked interesting jobs (some of which nobody else wanted)…new constructions, fleet introductions, shore tours, etc. Since I got married (15 years ago), my tour lengths went from 9-12 consecutive months (longest 22 consecutive months, but the first Gulf War screwed up my leave plans) to 4-6 months and maximize my time off in between (through leave and training opportunities). Bottom line though is I really enjoyed the ships, and mainly the crews I worked with - and gone are the days of 120 days AT SEA (no ports), 14 in port (maintenance) then another 90 days underway supporting ships in the Arabian Sea. Then, I looked at what I had (steady work, good retirement, etc) and what my peers on the commercial side had and decided to ride it out to retirement. I’d be throwing away too much money in retirement to leave. The rest is history. Hope this helps.
You are only required to do four months at a time. Then you can go home for a month.
In practice it’s not exactly that. You need a few weeks before being assigned a ship to take care of training, and you are not usually relieved exactly on time so add another few weeks to the end.
There are many things that can effect your sea::shore time (for good and bad). As a rule of thumb you could do a month at home followed by five months away (this includes training, medical and so forth.)
Long gone are the days when civmars were forced to do nine months or more at a hitch. These days the crazies do that on their own accord.