AB OSV for near coastal tugs/ships?

I got a letter/application today. The company sails between Seattle and Alaska. Tonnage between 800 and 1800 ITC.

They don’t require an mmd for deckhands/wipers- and will accept an AB OSV/Sail/Wiper for AB.

I had thought the AB OSV was only good for the GOM- out to 200 miles.

My question is- how do they get away with this between the Seattle and Canada?

Also- is an AB OSV all you need for any tug/vessel within 200 miles/not visiting another country?

To start with, the MMD (Now known as the MMC or Merchant Mariners Credential) is mandatory for all hands aboard U.S.-documented vessels of 100 GRT and up (U.S. Domestic tonnage). I repeat, ALL HANDS: Deckhands, Wipers, Engineers, Cooks, Captains, Mates, Mermaids, Pirates and so on.

Next, an [I]AB-OSV[/I] is, very simply, only good on OSV’s (Offshore Service Vessels). That’s why it says OSV on it. It’s no good on a tug or ANY other kind of vessel. Just OSV’s. But it’s good wherever, not just in the GOM, out to 200 NM and beyond.

Any company that tells you that they will use an [I]AB-OSV[/I] or [I]AB-Sail[/I] or a [I]Wiper[/I] in place of the required [I]AB[/I] (Special, Limited or Unlimited, as the case may be) is fly-by-night and should be avoided. Given the Seattle - Alaska route you described it may be that they’re documented as commercial fishing industry vessels. If that’s the case an [I]AB-Fishing Industry[/I] would be sufficient.

The regulations concerning AB’s can be found in 46 CFR - Part 12 (Certification Of Seamen) and in 46 CFR - Part 15 (Manning Requirements).

only good on OSV’s (Offshore Service Vessels).

Not exactly.

Here’s what the Marine Safety Manual (Volume III page 16-5) says:

  1. Service By Able Seaman - OSV.
    46 U.S.C. 7310 is not specific as to the type of vessels that may employ an Able Seaman- OSV. It only says the vessels must be less than 500 gross tons and support exploration, exploitation or production of offshore mineral or energy resources. Therefore, an Able Seaman-OSV may be employed aboard any such vessel, including an uninspected towing vessel, involved in this industry.

You are technically correct, trekleader. But, for all practical purposes, you’re not likely to ever see it. The classification of OSV’s may include anchor, seismic, well-intervention, supply, crew, utility, and jack-up vessels (and maybe some new hybrids I haven’t heard of). Very few tugs work solely in oilfield service, so (except for those few) their AB’s can’t have only an AB-OSV or they’d be limited to that kind of work. I can’t imagine a boat owner giving up that flexibility over what type of AB to carry. Anyone working on a tug (in the oilfield or not) will qualify for a “normal” AB (Special, Limited or possibly even Unlimited) and I’ve never encountered or even heard of someone working on a tug who wouldn’t go for that first. The AB-OSV was never more than a shortcut “gift” to the oilfield industry so that they could meet inconvenient and bothersome manning requirements faster. It also limits anyone foolish enough to get it to the oilfields. It should never be considered as anything more than a stepping stone to a higher grade of AB.

I also have to commend you for your ability to wade deep into the dark bowels of the MSM. Good work, man.

Yeah- something seems wrong. The vessels are freighters- all way over 100 ton…

As long as they have enough of the required Limited or Unlimiteds AB’s on board to fulfill the minimum manning requirements of their COI, there is nothing wrong with them hiring an AB-OSV and paying them AB wages. That may not sit well with the other AB’s, but that does not make it improper or illegal.

If it’s Coastal Trans. all the boats are <500 tons and are fisheries vessels in Aleutian Trade so they have pretty lax manning requirements.

If so, it’s a fun job. I used to take relief chief jobs on them while waiting for my shipping card to mellow a bit and while the boats are primitive compared to deep sea shipping, most trips were a great adventure.