Just trying to help.
I see a regular pattern (clearly entrenched way before I left shipping) of mariner’s having troubles getting proof of THEIR sea time via these ridiculous sea service letters from HR / Crew Coordinators / etc.
I hear the same stories from all ranks from boat to boat about weeks and hitches going by waiting for these letters from the office while being fed excuses of how they just forgot, it was screwed up and will be re-typed before you get off NEXT hitch, or how they only do it on a certain day of the week (which is conveniently after all boats have completed crew change for the week).
As corny as it may sound, enough is enough. Also, I really got the impression that more than a few mariners (at least in the GOM) don’t know this from even exists.
Fill out 3 copies of 718A.
You and the Master sign all 3. It would also be very wise to stamp once or twice (all 3 pieces) with vessel stamp which should include at least IMO number or official number.
Keep the original and give 2 to the office, or leave 2 with the Master for him/her to distribute to the office.
The company SHALL retain one copy for a 3 years, and one copy SHALL be mailed to the NMC.
If your vessel is approved (by the USCG) for a 2 watch system and you are in fact standing 12 hour watches (NOT to be interpreted as 12 hour days, b/c 8 hrs of watch and 4 hrs OT does not count), simply make a notation near the dates (joining or departing) that you worked 12 hr watches.
This is how ship’s mariner’s deal with all their sea time. When it’s time to upgrade, renew, etc., we don’t call the office. We just submit the application, and the NMC looks up our time off of filed 718A discharges to determine if we qualify for what we are applying for. This form has been around since WW II and hasn’t changed much.
Serving as a US credentialed mariner on an inspected US flag vessel, the master SHALL sign and the company SHALL handle them as clearly instructed. There is no choice in the matter.
I would love to see use of this form take hold on all OSVs, ATBs, tugs, small cruise ships, etc. I gather sea service letters are commonplace everywhere limited tonnage licenses / credentials are in use.
Any blow back from the office can easily be rebuffed by telling them it means less paperwork for them, and who the hell wouldn’t want that?
If, down the road, you have problems with the office failing to submit the copy to the NMC or least not in a timely fashion, call the NMC. There is also a process (email form) by which you can get your entire sea service record from the NMC.
here is the form…