9,000 ton OSV license

As long as we’re complaining about exceptions to the rule, what about ATBs? They’re nothing but tankers that break in two. How come the unlimited license holders aren’t in a lather about them?

The USCG has already proven that they care NOTHING about STCW, nor any other conventions the US has agreed to. They apply only when it is convenient to the USCG. The Norwegian, Finnish, and German officers (All with valid STCW certs) I work with are unable to sign-off on my Ch Mate assessments because the USCG “has no jurisdiction to prosecute for fraud”. A US officer who has read a few pages of an assessor “manual” is qualified, but an individual who has attended a several day long assessor course and holds an assessor certificate with their picture and a stamp from their government does not. When I sent an e-mail to the IMO regarding this…they forwarded it to the USCG - no kidding!

OK, my bitching is done. Now a real question. Does that mean that if said 9000 ton OSV was to be moved overseas, it would need to have unlimited licensed crew? Is then, by definition, the OSV Master, Mate, and Engineer licenses limited to domestic trade only? I was under the impression the rules regarding OSV tonnage were changed to make them more competitive internationally. Kind of self defeating idea if the crew can’t go. If this is true, then it makes a case for the need for OSV officers to be able to progress to Unlimited licenses. This is the argument that needs to be pressed to the Coast Guard.

Actually Capt_Anonymous, ATBs have always been a source of contempt. Not against the guys who run them, but because they exist only to beat manning and inspection rules. The rest of the world uses small coastwise tankers and seems to make a profit. And I’ve worked several ATBs that were bigger than some ships I’ve worked. Back when I had a 200 ton Mate, I worked on a 150 foot, 198 ton tug mated with 16000 ton barge. Everyone knows that’s wrong, but it was legal. By the way, apparently US Shipping mans their new ATBs with only unlimited licenses. Or so I’ve been told.

Can the guys who work ATBs upgrade to unlimited as the Large OSV guys can, or do they get hosed just like the linehaul guys who can’t get credit for the barge tonnage?

I never understand why you unlimited guys get so pissy over the fact that we get to drive these big boats? There’s nothing saying you cant apply with a company running one and see if you get hired. Is it because it doesn’t need an unlimited master its beneath you?
And the only excuse that even makes a bit of sense is the manning requirements, but at the end it still doesn’t float with me. These vessel’s don’t operate in transatlantic voyages, explain to me how having more then 2 officers in the wheel house, a guy or 2 in the engine room and 2 or 3 hands running around per watch is needed? We’re never more then 200 miles offshore except for a few rare cases (at least in the gulf) unless the boats being sent over seas for a job. As soon as you take them out of the oil field they have to be manned like ships.
Professionalism gets thrown around, but if you think having an unlimited license makes you more professional, then your just show your ignorance. A piece of paper dose not make one a captain.
So the only thing I can think of are that we might be making money that is comparable to what you ship guys are making, I don’t know what yall make a year on average, and pissed that because we didn’t take all the courses your jealous or something.
But at the end of the day it’s just eaiser to take a guy whos been driving OSV’s who have been doing this type of work for years before getting on the really big boats then it is to take a guy whos been driving ships his whole life and has no experiance in this industry. And there are probobly not enough guys who have made the jump from the oil fields to ships and willing to come back.

I got credit to upgrade to 3/M at 1 day for 2, assuming combined tonnage was over 1600 and operated in push mode. But only up to half of the max time required on vessels over 1600. So left a Captain’s job and went and sailed AB on a ship to get the rest of my unlimited time. That sucked, BTW.

Mike173 wrote: "Now a real question. Does that mean that if said 9000 ton OSV was to be moved overseas, it would need to have unlimited licensed crew?"
Are you talking re-flagged? (Then maybe so IAW the flag country’s requirements.)

I don’t know what’s worse. They (NMC) let me me upgrade all the way to Chief Mate after spending $25,000 on STCW courses, but I never realized, or was even told that you couldn’t get Chief Mate seatime on a large OSV even if you were the sole Mate responsible for taking the ship if the master becomes incapacitated (the definition of Chief Mate). Luckily, my boss offered me a spot to get 180 days of Chief Mate time on a vessel Classed under sub-chapter I.

Jeffrox…Not reflagged, just say, working on a contract overseas.

Anchorman…That truly sucks. There is something wrong with the system. I sure would have thought the time would count. Shit like that really pisses me off. I really hate seeing guys get screwed, especially when it’s your own money. Ship or OSV, it is the position of Chief Mate.

Mike173 Said:
<span style="color: rgb(255, 0, 0);]“Does that mean that if said 9000 ton OSV was to be moved overseas, it would need to have unlimited licensed crew? Is then, by definition, the OSV Master, Mate, and Engineer licenses limited to domestic trade only? I was under the impression the rules regarding OSV tonnage were changed to make them more competitive internationally.”</span>

On the uscg list of approved OSV courses for Chouest, it says that 500 GRT (3000 ITC) is for "domestic service."
And for the 6,000 ITC it is for "domestic or International service as appropriate."

Also a very interesting take on this subject from the Proffesional Mariner last year.

The manning regulation with any Large OSV going overseas in the end rests with the port state. They might or might not allow an officer with an “endorsed” license to serve in their waters. As of right now, I don’t know of any US flagged large OSVs working foreign and thus do not know if they are doing so with trade restricted mariners. I have been told that Brazil won’t accept them and you can bet no European nation would accept them either. Another fellow was on an earlier post on this same subject and said that SIngapore wouldn’t buy off either. What usually happens is that the US mariners are taken off and replaced with foreign nationals even though the vessel doesn’t change its flag. I do know of some US flagged vessels working foreign with a majority foreign mariners contrary to the regulations and guess what that means…yes, regs and rules are being broken to the disadvantage of US workers! The regs also say that all these Norwegian mega vessels coming to the GoM are supposed to have US crews just like the foreign flagged drillrigs have, but again rules get waived and US mariners loose. The rig companies don’t seem to try to circumvent the regs but everyone else does…do I detect a double standard here?

Btw, Chouest has unlimited mariners on at least two of the government service vessels and don’t seem to have a problem there.

When the first OSVs went over 3,000 Tons the reason for the large OSV license was supposedly because there was no one with OSV experience who had a license that would let them work anything that large. That was almost ten years ago, more than enough time to work someone up from 3rd Mate unlimited. Maybe the reason to continue to push for “large” OSV licenses is to trap you into staying with the OSVs as you’ll have no other options…?

THe company I’m with is very aggressive about pushing AB’s towards the restricted trade or OSV license. It’s easier and faster. I have always believed it was to keep them in the OSV “labor pool”. When asked my opinion by the deckhands, I strongly encourage them to get an unrestricted trade license so they will have more options.

anchorman, I know you and I have had this discussion before. Can anyone tell me were it says you must serve on a vessel that requires the vessel to have a C/M on it’s COI. I can tell you the USCG has not been able to provide me with this bit of information. People keep posting this but no one knows were it comes from. Look in the CFR’s for upgrading from C/M to Master it does not mention COI, OSV, three watch system. It simply says one year serving as Chief Mate. Now look up the definition for C/M, also found in the CFR’s.
Contrary to popular belief the CFR’s are not just guidelines they are LAW. And yes, I have had an attorney researching this issue for me. All policy letters and nvic’s must follow the law and not make a new one. The USCG can not make law they follow it and enforce it.
NVIC’s and policy letters are there to help explain how to use or apply a certain CFR, but can not insert something that is not there.
With that said, it doesn’t mean they will not try. I have had them misunderstand CFR’s and policy letters and attempt to enforce something that was not there. My success came because I was following the CFR’s as written and in the end they were not able to argue with that.

Now I not saying this information is not out there somewhere, but if it is I would like to see were it originated.

Just to be technical, CFR’s are not LAW. Rather they are regulations published by agencies to interpret and implement laws which are found in the USC. I hope if you have a lawyer that the lawyer at least knows that.
That does not of course, change your contention that the NVIC’s etc still must comply with the CRF’s.

The reason that there is a Chief Mate, or a 3rd, or a 2nd, for that matter is because its an eventual step to become Master. The intention is to work in each capacity to serve in the next. There are ways to get 2 for 1 days while holding a certain license for up to 6 months of the required time, but you will never bypass all of the required seatime to upgrade. To work in ANY capacity, you must be on a vessel that requires that capacity (3rd & 2nd can be excepted as OICNW). I KNOW exactly what a Chief Mate is, and by definition, any licensed person, from 25 ton and up, can meet that definition, but are they required to? The answer in no. You must have the <strong>requirement</strong> to meet the definition by NMC, and this is where most people trip up. For those that get tripped up in the text, the USCG found it beneficial to draw a picture in the CFR of the career paths to “ease” ambiguity. This has been reiterated by the highest brass and Jim. It is what it is, but NMC will always look at an application on a case by case basis to determine <strong>IF</strong> the definition has been met minus a requirement. This would involve a letter from the company and still doesn’t promise anything.

Robert is correct: the regulations (what you are reading in the CFR books) are written by the Coast Guard (or another executive branch agaency) to (hopefully) implement the intent of the laws (what you read in the USC or United States Code books) written and passed by Congress and signed into law (or not) by the President. The [b]Navigation and Vessel Inspection Circulars /b issued by the CG are meant to be plain-language explanations of the regulations and how the CG intends to administer them upon the industry. Conflicts between the intent of the law (what Congress was trying to achieve), the regulations, the NVIC’s, and how the CG actually applies the regulations in practice are not uncommon. We, of course, are caught in the middle.

" I do know of some US flagged vessels working foreign with a majority foreign mariners contrary to the regulations "
I have been told that US flagged OSVs only require a US captain when working in foreign waters, the rest of the crew can be foreign, another OSV special case. As with the potential new OSV 9000 license one doesn’t have to wonder who pushed for this change and who benefits, money wise. A compliant USCG and well placed campaign contributions can work miracles.

anchorman, I am referring to not being able to use the sea time on an OSV to upgrade to a Masters license because the COI does not specify C/M, or three watch system. This is clearly not in the CFR’s. The USCG safety manual even addresses this issue. Jim was not able to answer the same question I asked him nor has anyone within the USCG or NMC.
And there is a way of achieving an unlimited masters license without every holding a C/M license.

The USCG submits to Congress what they would like to have as a regulation. Ultimately Congress passes a law written by Congress. The USCG then enforces and follows that law (CFR). Under the premiss that we can’t actually take what is in the CFR’s and apply it, how would we be able to make any decisions. Well I know it says I shall carry a stern light but is that what it really means. Should I complete a DOI before transferring hazardous cargo, is that what it really means?
If anyone studies the way the USCG applies the CFR’s in their decisions on finding seamen at fault, you will find they apply them exactly as written. They do not add or subtract. They do not worry about intent. I have studied hundreds of decisions on appeals. In all cases the CFR’s were applied as written. Each of decisions are were seamen have lost their documents and have appealed. In every case the CFR is read into the case as written. Then they specify how the seaman violated the CFR. In some cases the USCG will side with the seaman. In those cases they specify how the USCG did not enforce the CFR as written. In all of the cases that I have read and studied I never read a single case were the Judge Advocate stated I know what the CFR says but they really mean this so thats what we are going with.

So, why is the way the CFR’s for obtaining your Master’s license such an issue. Follow what is written. It was put there for a purpose. If the USCG doesn’t like it change it, but follow what is there at this time.