GoM to SIU rant

I made the jump and got on a “well-paying” government vessel. The accommodations make up for the slightly lower rate of pay. We have a cook to prepare meals and I get a couple breaks in at least somewhere in a 12hr period. We have a bosun here too, and although It’s also the complete opposite of “work smart not hard”, at least I’m burning calories and I don’t have to make any big decisions. You don’t get 1.5 days of sea-time in deep sea though. Vessel required training classes are expedited but it made be hard to save up for that big block of classes to upgrade at MPT at this pay rate. Seems like unlicensed are complacent and just never upgrade out here.

The licensed leadership here however is fucking miles above what I’ve encountered in the GoM. No slovenly 400lb joystick DP mates or paper captains scared shitless that they’ll lose their jobs for ineptitude/fraud/being excessively obsequious. No approval-seeking, ego-fluffing, horrific mental conditions to tiptoe around. Just professional mariners doing maritime work. It’s great.

Still, that extra money and sea time in the gulf though…
That is all


Is SIU/Piney Point not open for training anymore? Should be able to get your training courses through the Union.

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In the few months I’ve been with the union the only hawsepipers I’ve talked to about it either did it way back in the day or said trying to schedule the very sparse courses offered by SIU with their time off was damn near impossible. This is something I’ll be looking into when I get back to the states however and I’ll update on gcaptain as well. I should add that the main reason I went SIU was to invest my time into a secure company where I can transition into a licensed position. If the SIU helps me with this in any way it would surely be an added bonus.

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It’s nice to read that from someone who made the transition. There have been quite a few arguments here over the years when someone from the deep sea side tried to say what you just wrote.

Don’t get too comfortable though, you will eventually run into a real doozie of an exception … just keep your mouth shut and don’t let it discourage you. And when amongst the unlicensed, don’t talk about “moving up”, just keep quiet and find a way to fit in while you accrue time and training.

Good luck.


I agree with Steamer to a point. He can be
a giant asshole otherwise. Hoped against running into a smart engineer that I could not sit at the table with. Most of them are worth their weight in gold. I really respected the value of a good engineer. I attended Piney Point as a teenager. It for sure changed my life, never regretted it. Upgrading was always availablle, and free of cost other than your own personal expenses, as was AMO. I went from OS/wiper to Master due to effort and Lundeburg School opportunities. Mike Sacco may or may not be many things, But he loved seeing the students come back to upgrade. He always met me with a smile “Welcome back sir”. Although I retired from from the well managed AMO by Mr Doell, SIU treated me quite well while I was a member… I get a check from both unions every month, along with what I banked/invested from the jobs they negotiated over the 30 some years I was employed. No regrets at all. Some should be so lucky. Keep studying sir, good things will happen, people will know you are trying to move up by your efforts. Be a good shipmate while doing so. Don’t be a grump on your way up. Good people will lend you a hand. Pass it on. That goes a long way more than you know…

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[quote=“snakenbush, post:3, topic:59527”]
In the few months I’ve been with the union the only hawsepipers I’ve talked to about it either did it way back in the day or said trying to schedule the very sparse courses offered by SIU with their time off was damn near impossible.[/quote]

Progressing can be done but it takes effort and a lot of patience currently. Meanwhile there are plenty of educational opportunities on board. Read the equipment manuals, that alone will put you ahead of a lot of folks. Class scheduling has been effected by an abundance of unemployed STCW qualified mariners and Covid. In the grand scheme of your career this is just a bump in the road.

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Roger that. Good to hear this hasn’t become the new norm on account of cost cutting. I’ve heard a lot positive experiences from hawsepipers invested in the union. I should have started here.

For what it is worth some SIU time is creditable towards an AMO pension if that is the route you are looking for. https://www.amoplans.com/Forms/Retirement/DC/DCPlanInfoBKLT2016.pdf

The key is to always keep your ultimate goal in mind if hawsepiping towards a license is what you want to do.


Yes indeed. I never though found it impossible to schedule training that was free through SIU or AMO. The hardest part was to fit my schedule into theirs. Not their faullt, my paycheck had to fit in between classes. It worked itself out at the end of the day. The classes more than paid for themselves. My dues were well spent many times over. I did sell a cherry 65 mustang with a 289 and 2+2 package to upgrade early on in my career to pay my rent back then… Money well spent.

I miss this about blue water sailing. I’ve seen GoM office walk into a union yard thinking they were hot shit. They were complaining about safety on a pipe job that was a fraction of all the other contracts the shipyard received. Sorry, but you can’t intimidate a shipyard that takes $30-40 million dollar contracts from MSC every day.


The only contracts in SIU worth a shit are the ATBs or dredges or assist boats. The rest of that union promotes a bunch of lazy bastards.

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