GOM Offer: Need Advise, Opinions & Suggestions

Greetings everyone,
i received my QMED Reefer/Electrician endorsement barely a week ago from the CG and I was contacted by a recruiter from ECO last Monday to hire me. In just 2 days, they have tabled an offer as “QMED with clearance on government vessel” 75/45 rotation. This looks exciting to me in many different ways.

I’m currently sailing with MSC as a wiper and even though i have my RFPEW too MSC says they can’t sail me as QMED because my RFPEW is limited to Electric/Motor/Diesel so i have to get unlimited RFPEW first, which means another 6 months hitch on a steam ship. Not that it’s bad being a wiper but with this offer on the table i can’t wrap my head around going back to MSC as a wiper.

I’ve read that you get more sea time at GOM as engineer (1.5/day) vs (1/day at msc). This makes me feel like switching to GOM is a no brainer especially with the type of rotation i have. Switching to GOM means in 2-3yrs i can test for my unlimited DDE or 3AE. That will be impressive considering that i’ve been sailing for less than a year right now. What is the big difference between GOM and Deep Sea like MSC apart from 12hr shift & 8 hr shift. I need advise, suggestions and opinions. Thank you all in advance and sorry for the long post.

On the face of it whomever that person at MSC told you they didn’t want to offer you a QMED position is doing you a disservice. MSC has very few steamships where you could get that sort of seatime. Therefore, most of the jobs they could offer are for motor ship endorsements.

Take ECO’s offer seriously. It offers more of an opportunity for a more balanced life. I would also suggest taking a look at opportunities within the SIU. At this moment in time they have 4 QMED/Electrician jobs on the All Ports Job Board.

The key is to ask yourself where you want to be (in the future) and what will best help you get there. That is important if you wish to get a license? What job do you enjoy as it isn’t always about the money (which is of course important unless that job make you miserable).


If that is your goal, you should consider that you will probably also need the STCW endorsement for Officer in Charge of an Engineering Watch (for 3rd AE) and/or Chief Engineer (for DDE). This will require training, so consider how you will pay for that, and whether any possible employers will cover your costs.

75\45? That must be with the with the overseas government fleet. You might not be able to get 1.5 days because of the routes and distances to run.

Nobody works that schedule on the regular on the GOM. 28\14 is kind of the standard and most qmeds I know work 28\28. Of course if you want to work over that’s easy right now

Shop around, ECO isn’t the only company hiring. Might be a better offers out there.

Or because of the inspection classification of the vessels. As specified in 46 CFR 10.232(h)(2):
On vessels authorized by 46 U.S.C. 8104 and 46 CFR 15.705, to operate a two-watch system, a 12-hour working day may be creditable as 1 1⁄2 days of service.

OSVs are authorized to divide into two watches, other types may not be. If it’s government support, the vessels may not be classed as OSVs and 1.5:1 service credit may not be available.

Thanks very much for your response. I appreciate all the points you brought and the questions. I have already talked to SIU rep. I’m already a member i just have to register with a hall according to the rep. And yes i want to get my license so i will take my time to think over everything. Money at this point is not “EVERYTHING” to me but growth and better career path.


@jdcavo Thanks for drawing my attention, yesterday i thought of that as well of paying for courses by myself. It is well noted.

You might be right, the recruiter said it’s going to be government vessel that’s why the pay is $400/day and Regular GOM QMED pays $380/day.

Yes as others mentioned i’m shopping around. I’ve spoken with SIU this morning and I applied at Harvey this morning too. Hope i make the best decision and choice. I am a bit concerned about the unstability of GOM.

I see, well noted about the sea time credit.

Also consider the benefits, health and disability insurance, thrift savings vs 401k [what’s ECO’s match on 401k and is it guaranteed? ECO had problems in the past with that], transportation etc. Total compensation and chance for advancement is key. You Will advance eventually, make sure you are compensated properly while doing so Good luck!

Keep in mind also whether you want the skills or whether you just want the license. Most supply boat engineers don’t work on their own equipment, outside technicians are hired to do basically everything other than oil changes. You’ll have much more hands on experience at MSC or SIU. You’ll also have exposure to much more varied equipment on ships vs on supply boats.

1 Like

Very good advice. Do you want skills or just a license? If you have the license but lack the skills you’ll soon be found out. I received from HR a lot of applications of people from GOM companies like ECO, including some with 1st AE licenses.I tried a couple out and after that unless they had other experience their resumes routinely went in the round file.

Sounds like a great opportunity, and everyone has provided some great advice. All I may add is a spot with their govt fleet is usually a highly coveted position, and they may not be affected by any future down turns. Plus they have a huge fleet and their hands in different things so there is a possibly of transferring and trying something different in the future within the company. ECO may be one of the, if not the most stable company out of the gulf.

In regards to supply boat engineers not working on their own equipment, that’s gonna vary from boat to boat and company to company.

I won’t generalize SIU QMEDs like the OSV engineers have been, but I will say the few I’ve met haven’t exactly been balls of engineering fire either.


I don’t know how much hands on the oilers actually get on ships but the engineers will get more hands on on an average ship than on most supply boats.

That’s a very valid point. If you’re worried about down turns that position is not affected by the oil market volatility. Also, they may do more of their own engineering work as well because they could be based out of somewhere without easy technician access.

SIU and AMO does have many courses to advance your career. No cost for the course, other than travel and perhaps board…Looked in to that as a dues paying member? MSC screaming for engine people and a few others. Breaking a few ships out of Marad lately…Wonder why? Read the news.

Great points. I wasn’t looking at it that way. Thank you.

It’s sad how the office runs in MSC. I know at least 7 people who are quitting as well because they have their QMED endorsement but MSC still wants to send them as wipers.

I hear the same thing happens frequently with ABs that get their mate license.

Supply Boat GOM - First it is a Coon Ass first place. When the GOM companies lay off, the Non Coon Ass are the first to go. Promotion, advancement, and general reputation, the Coon ass no matter how bad they are, receive the most praise even if the praise is by taking credit for your work. ECO has thier own training facility, so getting training from ECO is fairly easy. However subject to office politics - Where Coon Ass rule ie Coon Ass born and raised south of I-10 in Louisana. The GOM is highly subject to metaphorical back stabbing, defamation,…
Next there is Union employment - While not as good as it used to and definetly has its own brand of …Unions do have there benefits - Place. The GOM at times can have high pay, but things change at other times and the pay decreases. If your there long enough, to experience it. You may question your decision to sail GOM. If your thinking of a 20yr career with sustainable pay and the greatest chance of longevity, retirement,…etc. You may want to consider staying with the government or unions. The GOM is also a niche industry, that limits you to GOM type vessels. The GOM type vessels, are niched into oil and gas. Which the world has decided oil and gas industry needs to be shut down. As soon ? However California has a law to go into affect around 2035 that will outlaw the internal combustion engine in California. The GOM industry seems to be a dieing industry, the pay would have to be sufficient enough to be able to retire in 10yrs. Or it may not be worth it as any GOM skills you obtain may become obsolete prior to finishing your career.

1 Like

I’m going to jump in here as Captain of one of the ECO government boats and hopefully clear something up for you a little. The sea time will depend on which one you go to. As JD Cavo said, it all depends on how the ship is certificated.

Now, the big thing that I really wanted to clear up. Forget what you heard about the GOM and supply boats if you’re going to government division. Just about all of us in command either came from deep sea or at the very least came from gray hulls. The company still wants the boats run like they do in the gulf, but there’s some leeway and they’re about as close to what deep sea is like as you’ll find in any of the bayou companies running govt contracts.

If you have any questions I might be able to answer, feel free to message me on here.