Great Lakes sailor to Deep Sea insight

Union insight AMO vs. MMP

With the end of the year coming, and the discounted rate for AMO full books, I was looking for some insight on sticking with AMO or switching to MMP.

For some background I live in Michigan and plan on staying in Michigan for some years. I’ve been sailing with AMO all year, mostly lakes since I have full pilotage. I am looking to branch out to do some deep sea contracts, preferably box ships or ROROs. Anyone know working conditions on roros; no discussion I’ve seen on them. AMO has tote and Crowley LNG containers and roros, but those jobs are prime real estate.

Having the option of doing a simple 30 day hitch on the lakes always seems like a great backup plan, which is why I’m favoring AMO. But the deep sea contracts mostly consist of tankers; which I’ve tried and opted out as a career path.

I more or less enjoy being non permanent crew; picking my own vacation schedule is very nice. But committing to AMO without trying MMP is a big decision. Traveling to a hall doesn’t seem like the biggest of issues, but AMO online board is quite convenient.

I’ve been considering MMP but pulling that trigger is something I’m unsure about. Yes, MMP has lake boats in it, but sailing with Grand River is not an option I will consider. Also, I’ve seen doubling dipping as an applicant in both unions can delay the shipping card age if I apply to MMP.

Overall just looking for insight. I like the lakes, and the option to get an easy hitch in, but it’s not a long term career option with stable work. I’d like to branch out deep sea non-tankers, but with AMO all it seems like on the board is tankers. Is switching unions worth it? Thank you!

Why not try MEBA?
You could always go back to the lakes with Interlake Steamship Company which is MEBA deck. You can try deepsea roros with Alliance/ Maersk or Liberty Maritime and try box boats with the hapag-lloyd/ crowley.
Also all those companies are signers to the MEBA pension plan. So you’ll get pension credit working for any of those companies.

MEBA gives you access to deepsea relief hitches that you’re interested in. Also Interlake has been putting 30-45 relief hitches on the board.

Don’t bother sitting in a MEBA hall just find out when the ships are coming in an show up. Better yet just call see if there’s anything on the board. If there’s jobs sitting on the open board and you want one just let them know not to send it to MMP or AMO and you’ll fly in the next day to take it. The MEBA doesn’t send jobs elsewhere until they been in the board for a bit and sent open for night cards, early return and retirees but best to just give them a heads up so they don’t send it elsewhere when your on your way to get it.

Depending on where you live in Michigan you might be able to travel to the hall in Cleveland but it is appointment only. Haven’t been to that hall but I don’t see why they wouldn’t dispatch you from there for jobs that are open board.

Thank you for the info!

Does MEBA have some sort of online database similar to what MMP has or AMO for certain jobs. I know meba and MMP are hall based but I’ve heard MMP has some sort of online database for tracking ships that should be going on the board soon.

Also I’ve seen Cleveland as appointment only. If I schedule one would I be able to join the union in Cleveland? Thanks again

Do you have STCW endorsements? If not your options are extremely limited, maybe non-existent.

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I probably would have joined MEBA if the process of joining could have be done remotely. It would be nice having an actual pension.

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MEBA does not have have an online job board members can access from their house like AMO. The online MMP website is not all that is crack up to be. It shows open board jobs and the assignments of jobs with an “end date.” All MMP jobs or most are called for 120days so you add 120 and that’s the end date. But that doesn’t factor in the ship schedule/ trip length and the LOA (trip off policy) of the ship or desire of the person onboard. You figure out with enough research and get a pretty good idea of when a job i being called. But MMP is MMP they are SUPPOSED to call jobs 5 business days in advance……
They also have a lot older career 2m and even some 3m.
Seacor doesn’t pay into their pension.
Grand river and also is considered their inland division with no pension credit and time counted toward your book status
Containerships are going to get more competitive in 2025 with MMP because the MEBA is not going to allow MMP to calm 4 express containerships in their halls. So you’d have been luck getting containership gigs as an applicant in the MEBA

Just call the MEBA hall and ask about the open jobs.

The MEBA open board in the hall is a google excel sheet opened on an TV screen and updated in real time unlike the MMP board open jobs which are just printed out on sheet of paper.

I would call the New York union hall or the Houston union hall and talk to the east coast VP or Gulf coast VP to hall to ask about the Cleveland hall situation. They would be able to answer your questions and set everything up. I know the Interlake guys all go to Cleveland hall to join the union so signing up deepsea guys should be no problem.

Thanks for all the info. Hard to get MEBA deck side info. Are most contracts through MEBA 120 days, or is there 90 days etc? And I haven’t seen much on working on ROROs. Any info you can pass along? Thanks again

Most MEBA jobs are called for 90 days except Liberty I know calls some of theirs for 120days. However, there’s nothing preventing you from getting off early or asking for a relief if you’re hitting the US before. Also there are deck contracts that have permanent 3m and 2m jobs too but depending on the contract you can’t hold those for more than 120 days unless you’re a member/ group 2 which takes about 2 years.

Liberty roro jobs -35ish round trip days west coast and called 120days
Liberty conro - 70-80ish USGOM/USEC to MED/ Middle East called for 80days
Hapaq-lloyd- 35 day round trip to Northern Europe
called for 90days
Alliance/ mearsk - 90-100ish days USGOM/USEC to Middle East, India, Africa, Caribbean. Called for 90 days
NCL- permanent 70day jobs usually but depends on what you and your relief want to do
Interlake- permanent
Chevron- permanent 90ish
Keystone tankers - permanent except 3m. Jobs called usually for 90. Permanents depends on what reliefs agree to but minimum 45 day hitches
Keystone FOS- sometimes 10-14 turbos, sometimes 70-120 day FOS longer hitches depends on government / the mission

MEBA deck side companies/ ships include

  • Keystone (12 ROS ROROs that get activated FOS throughout the year, 1 small commercial roro” M/V Rocketship”, 3 Jones Act Tankers)
  • Liberty (4 roros, 1 conro)
  • hapaq- Lloyd (5 containerships) *1 Delaware express called in our halls for junior officers, senior officers can work on all vessels at company discretion
    ** passthrough with MMP ending in 2025 likely that all containerships to be called in MEBA halls when agreement ends/ if a new agreement
  • Alliance navigation / maersk line (2- alliance Norfolk, and the alliance St. Louis)
  • Norwegian Cruise Lines (Pride of America)
  • Chevron (3 tankers)
  • Interlake (10bulk ships, 1 bulk ATB)
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Is there a lot of completion in the hall for mates with what seems few contracts on the board? Have you gone a certain period of time sitting in the halls waiting?

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MEBA should be paying you. Great info.

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Great post. All the union information should be publicized for all to see.

The only people that benefit from wage, benefits , schedule and working conditions secrecy are vessel owners and union executives!

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Amazing how this is where that info comes out otherwise you’d have no idea about any of this. I guess it’s for job security of those currently in the positions maybe.

I have never had to compete for a job and there’s not that much competition in the MEBA for deck job. There’s jobs that still go open board, early return, retirees and then sent to MMP or AMO.
Just because it’s hall based like MMP doesn’t mean you have to waste your time sitting in a hall- no MEBA mates do this. Just show up when a job is being called or take it off the board. Once you ship out once or twice you’ll figure it out. And eventually you’ll be able to text around to see if anyone with a higher card is gonna show up and take it- if they are then don’t waste your time and go for that job. You can track the ships online. Call the hall and they will tell you how many business days in advance certain companies call their jobs. However, I know MEBA mate jobs have been recently called early to be put on the open board earlier. Sometimes the jobs come in waves but I’ve never had trouble getting out during the time of year I wanted to.
Last week on the open board 3m jobs included an Interlake 45 day job, a keystone 30day job, a mearsk 90 day job and a liberty 120 day job.

Can you clarify? So let’s say if you take 35 day Northern Europe trip that calls for 90 days you can request relief after the first round trip? Does this effect future employment?

Yes, ship can’t take you foreign if you don’t want to go.