3rd Officers — 3 AE

With the recent opening of applications for 3rd Officers and 3rd Assistants (10/1/2019) along with cadet applications for all Maritime Academy’s, does anyone have any information of why Military Sealift Command reopened the positions? Last I heard MSC was over packed with 3rds onboard and at the pool.

Also does anyone have information of how long the process will take to get hired. Responses from customer service hotline say 6-8 weeks but we all know it’s going to take longer than that…


3/O’s seem to be in shorter supply, than before. Several were promoted, others left, some are taking excessively long leave. (by MSC standards, at least) They hired lots of AB’s with 3rds licenses, but won’t formally promote them until their 1 year probation is finished.
3/O’s are getting relieved a month late.
2/O’s, 1 1/2 months late.
1/O’s, only a couple weeks late, if that.
AB’s, 2-3 months late.

I don’t know stats for engineers other than we had a 3 A/E relieved ~ 3 months overdue.

They’re short on 3rds again. Turnover is still high in all positions, they keep promoting lots of people to fill shortages, and need more 3rds to fill in the bottom ranks.

How fast they move depends on how badly they need people. I’m not sure how many they’ve hired recently, but they were short and those recent hires should have moved relatively quickly. If they need you, I’d say 2-3 months is accurate.

I applied in late September. Although it is moving through the processing, I still haven’t gotten to the rating and subsequent interview stage yet. Called last Monday and they said it will be another 3-4 weeks before that happens. That means probably not until after the new year. Not sure if mine is typical or abnormal as far as times go, but it sure is slow right now… They also let slip that they were a little understaffed at the moment as well.

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I applied early october, and my application went through the whole process interview, offer, drug test, etc.

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You applied for Third Mate or Third engineer?

Mate, but I was a cadet there 9 months, 2 different ships, PIC through them, etc. I assume they’re going to prioritize cadets who sailed with them for a good amount of time.


I also got the offer but no drug test yet! I’m fast tracked for NEO on Jan 21st 2020. What about you?

How long did it take to get from interview to official offer and all testing scheduled?
I just finished the interview with a verbal unofficial “you got it”. I called yesterday and they said it would take 6-8 weeks for the next stage…beginning to think thats a cookie cutter response.

The offer letter came a couple weeks after the interview. Then they call a week after that to schedule NEO. Make sure you get the fast track process since you will wait months and months otherwise. They’re really short on engine dept so you’ll be in training probably a few weeks and go out. Deck training is a couple months at least.

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Thanks, Roger that.
What is this fast track you speak of? did you just request it over the phone or…?

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They’ll probably try to offer it to you. It brings you to Norfolk a week early to do medical and other admin stuff. Since you’re already on location the process is streamlined and moves months ahead of how it would be otherwise.

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Any updates as to how long you get a call for NEO after you clear medical and security? I was told they have NEO every other week.

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How long is the process from submitting your application to onboard? I’ve heard anywhere from 3-4 months? Is that usual time frame?

I thinks it’s longer. I applied in September 2019, got the offer in March 2020. I just got fit for hire about a week ago. I was wondering when they will call me for NEO.

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