9,000 ton OSV license

 A source has told me that an 9,000 ton OSV license has been approved officially by the Coast Guard, but I'm not sure of particulars. That's all I know till next week. If it is official, I'm sure Jim would be allowed to enlighten us in this public forum.

This is the new subchapter L (OSV) class we were looking for?

Really not sure to be honest, but the consideration is in regard to the crew of a certain newbuild coming out within the next few months and they are being requested to submit credentials as appropriate for a 9,000 ton license. I don’t know about stipulations in extra training, or others isuues which I’m sure there are. We will find out soon.

You trying to start an argument anchorman? I sense an angry tirade in the works.


Not you, but someone out there is fuming at the thought of a 9,000 ton OSV.

Why have any tonnage limitations at all? Don’t the licenses state “ANY OSV”? hehehehehehe

Why can’t OSV officer’s just jump through the necessary hoops to get an unlimited licence (a real one) as I have done? No - its not easy, but it is possible. Why does everyone seem to think that the only people with unlimited licenses are academy guys from big ships who have never had to handle a vessel or deal with the oilfield? Despite the efforts of some - as far as I know the hawsepipe has not been welded shut…yet!

There are several folks out here that are jumping thru the hoops to get the unlimited license but in the mean time the Large OSV is a relatively simple process that gives one the opportunity to gain experience on bigger boats. No harm, no foul.
I have also found that several “old timers” have no interest in runnung deep sea or other vessels that require the unlimited tickets. In terms of ability/proficiency it is a small step for the OSV or Anchor Boat Captain that has been running a boat for 15-20+ years to step up to an OSV over 3000ITC. They are essentially doing the same job they have been for years, it is just on a bigger boat. Why should they be forced to spend countless hours, time and $$$ when there is another viable option?
For people that have been in the oilfield all their life, they would have to eventually work on an Unlimited Vessel (ie find another job possibly doing somthing they have no desire to do) in order to get the sea time they need to eventually get their Master’s Ticket.
No system is going to be perfect, we can find flaws in every beaurocracy large or small. Necessity is the mother of invention: To satisfy customer needs, boat companies were compelled to build bigger and bigger boats. Its the American way. Those same companies then had to deal with manning them and they figured out a solution and “jumped thru the hoops” to make the solution a reality. Have there been abuses, of course but I don’t think they are the norm. Find me a set of beaurocratic regulations without any loopholes. Is there a better solution? I don’t know, nor do I care enough about this particular issue to spend my time coming up with one.
Let me pose another question: If American boat companies didn’t build the bigger boats wouldn’t there be more foreign vessels in our waters now?
PS - how about the green 100 ton master that is running a 150+ foot vessel at 20+ knots thru the oil field.
In the big scheme of things, and in my opinion, I don’t see this as a problem or even a flaw. Those that have the license for a particular job will apply for it and hopefully the best man (Beaudreaux Thibideaux’s cousin) will get the job!

No matter how you try to twist it, a 9000 ton OSV is a ship. Period. In no way am I knocking OSV guys, and I know they perform a specialized job. But so do Chemical Tanker Officers. But at 9000 tons, they require an unlimited license. No loopholes. No BS license exemptions. To run a 9000 ton OSV, or a 6000 ton OSV for that matter, officers should have to jump through the hoops, and invest a bit more in their future, and guarantee a higher level of professionalism. It takes a lot more than boathandling to make a good Captain. It would also justify the possibility of better wages, etc. The other option would be to stay on smaller vessels if they didn’t have the desire or ability to reach the unlimited level. The 100 ton master on a 150 foot boat has no bearing here. Boat handling and experience aside, this discussion is about whether or not to allow improperly trained and certificated officers to run ships. Read the thread on the TOAR. The concept is the same. The mission of the ship is irrelevant.

I know some “uneducated” 100 ton Masters who are able to manage their crews better than some Unlimited C/Ms or Masters. You imply that having an Unlimited license somewhojw raises that individual to a position and skillset that just can’t be realized unless one takes CM/Master classes. Horse Puckey! There is no guarantee of better professionalism by virtue of holding an unlimited license. I will appluad anyone, especially the hawsepipers, who in this day and age take on the challenge of the “upper level” licensing structure. But I’ll also point out the example of “professionalism” aboard a large ship that left the greatest impression on me: The galley table for King’s Pointers, the other table for SUNY, the other table for CMA, and the hawepiper table. No mixing allowed! We can bang our class rings louder than those guys! How very professional. In my humble opinion, there is nothing more professional than a hawespiper Master who remembers his roots, and actually goes on deck and chats with the ABs and even now and then picks up a needle gun. When’s the last time you saw that on a ship?
Off the top of my head, I’d have to say that the deck officers of a 9000 ton chemical tanker are probably quite good at taking her across the pond, but they have no experience handling the ship in pilotage waters or near a berthing area. And boathandling, no matter how you want to discount it, is a major compnent of an OSV deck officer’s responsibilities. No one expects a 3m on a ship to even know what the telegraph does, but a green Mate on an OSV is going to learn how to drive the thing right off the bat. And so the OSV Mates and Masters have a whole 'nother set of competencies (boat handling) that must be factored into their definition of “professionalism”. An Anchor boat Master looks at a 9000 ton OSV and thinks “Cool! This is going to be fun!”. He doesn’t think about arbitrary tonnage numbers, and it never occurs to him that he, because of a lack of ambition or test taking skills, is in the opinion of some not qualified to operate that vessel.
There is no magical mystery about handling large ships vs. handling vessels <1600 tons. Physics is physics, and they all behave and adhere to physical laws. Ask anyone who handles a variety of vessels on a regular basis. If you undertand mass, momentum, and inertia you’re going to be fine. It is just a boat.

                   "If you undertand mass, momentum, and inertia you're going to be fine."

I agree with your sentiments but think “understand” should be replaced with “are experiencd with”.
The new 3M “understands”, he/she just ain’t never DONE it.

I’m not throwing any Molotov Cocktails here but will somebody please answer me this…how come in every other nation on the planet are their offshore service vessels over 3000grt manned by unlimited tonnage officers and operated with the same manning structure as a merchant ship although all those officers still have to perform the specialized functions that any offshore vessel demands? Why is an offshore vessel so unique that is cannot be considered a ship and operated accordingly? In addition, what makes the USA the exception to the STCW convention of the IMO even though the US has signed that very same convention?

I’ve said it before but the boys from the bayou love special exemptions as long as they reap the benefits but if suddenly the the USCG started to give out exemptions that disadvantaged them they would certainly howl…wouldn’t anyone if they suddenly found the rules changed to their detriment?

The only thing that is sought is a fair and equitable deal for all US mariners. There is work enough for all of us without one side or the other being greedy and demanding a piece of the other guys pie.

Is there anyone here who can’t live with that?

I kinda figured that this thread would go in this direction…like I DIDN"T KNOW!
There wouldn’t be an issue if the OSV mariner COULD go unlimited all the way to Master, but under current regulation, this is not possible, even on OSVs over 3,000 ton ITC like the rest of the world.
I believe the OSV threashold is simply being pushed to 9,000 tons versus 6,000 tons to accomodate classification of these newer vessels, and the licensing of mariners is following suit. From what I’ve heard today, there is no additional training requirement other than previously working the >3000 ton vessels.

Anchorman…please expand on your last comment. I not being an ass here. Why can’t an OSV guy go the unlimited route, if his boat is over 3000 tons?

This isn’t a discussion about international manning issues; I don’t feel that those comparisons are relevant to the issue at hand. That being the fact that some of the USA Unlimited crowd has a problem with the Large OSV issue, and argues these problems as being issues of professionalism. If you think yours is the correct way, then I encourage you to work the system to change it.
In the meantime, I enjoy skewering the arguments that are presented by the “upper level” boys and their apologists, and try to offer up my perspective in return. That perspective being: I could make a ship dance, but your average Unlimited Master has not a clue as to how to drive my tug. That’s the “lower level” truth some of the “upper level” are so freaked out by.
Regarding your pie, I don’t know any “lower level” guys demanding a Master’s job on a container ship. The only demands I’m hearing are from Unlimited guys screaming about how unfair (or “unprofessional”) the Large OSV class is. “How dare you build a ship and call it a boat but won’t let me drive it! I have an Unlimited Master’s License! You guys suck!” Why cry about it? If it really is so important to you, then apply for a job on a Large OSV and then spread your gospel when you’re not painting. Populate the boats with nothing but your peers. Why not? Indeed, there are already cases of Unlimited license holders who have swallowed their pride and signed on just like any “lower level” guy and started from the bottom on OSVs. More power to 'em. Many Large OSV endorsement holders have upgraded to Unlimited licenses. Does this all of a sudden make them acceptable to you?
What means to most to me professionally is not the piece of paper you tested for that contains some tonnage figures (or the lack thereof), but whether or not I can sleep while you’re on watch. That is all that matters to me. Limited license or Unlimited license, who cares. Are you safe? Are you competent? Do your shipmates respect you or moan when they see you coming down the dock to join the boat?

I think what Anchorman is referring to is that fact that in order to move from C/M to Master, you have to have time on a vessel working under manning that calls specifically for a CM. Since Large OSVs don’t, one can progress to CM and no further.

You are exactly right my friend. That goes for the engineroom side as well.

Well aren’t we glad that little stumbling block is in place. We wouldn’t want to presume a level of professionalism we’re not entitled to. So there.

International rules do apply since the USA is a signatory to the STCW Convention…it doesn’t matter if a particular vessel is in international trade or domestic. Since the US signed the convention, it is supposed to abide by the regulations mandated by it. Tonnage breakpoints are 500grt & 3000grt. There are absolutely no special OSV tonnages or categories contained in it.

Like I said before, I have no intention of throwing any hand grenades at anyone or declaring one category of mariner better or worse at their profession. I’m just saying that there are rules out there that are supposed to be followed but you seem to be saying that you don’t care that they aren’t because you are getting the benefit and I am not.

Go ahead and pile on all you want and keep saying that getting the rules changed is just fine until they change the rules to allow some foreign officer to do your job then see how much you like being on the short end of a raw deal!