[CENTER]Hello USCG SectorGreat Lakes Are You Out There?[/CENTER]Attn: gCaptain Staff
Please don’t move this thread to theGreat Lakes Warriors or as I call it (Great Mistakes Flakes) thread although itdoes have much to do with that made for TV “reality” show.
I am wondering why we do not seeany scenes of the USCG laying the hammer down on John M. Selvic “The Legend”(in his own mind).
As a former “disgruntled employee”of “Selvic” or Cal River Fleeting (aka Marine Management Inc. back then) I canhardly stand to watch this show, but I cannot help myself in watching the egregiousviolations of federal law taking place on national and international TV.
What I do not understand however,is how Mr. Selvic remains in business when he violates law after law onnational TV as if he is almost rubbing crap in the face of the Puddle Pirates.
He operates his company as thoughhe is exempt from federal law and the USCG does nothing to stop him. It makes one wonder if there is some truth tothe rumors of Mr. Selvic’s mob affiliations. But then again we know there is no such thing as “The Mob or Cosa Nostra”in Chicago or New York City; right?
It also makes this “disgruntledformer employee” also wonder how far the arm of the non-existent mob reaches;All the way to the federal government in Chicago? Never. I mean that has never happened before in Chicago history has it?
I mean that is not how they dobusiness in Chicago is it? All those “mob”related killings and trials that take place every few years are purecoincidence, yes?
How about when an employee quits “Selvic”and reports numerous safety violations to the local offices of OSHA because theUSCG says “There is nothing we can do. Those are ‘uninspected’ towing vessels.” and OSHA brushes off some veryserious accusations with no on site inspection to see if there is any truth tosuch accusations as forcing employees to weld in confined spaces without adequateventilation or removing asbestos lagging from the engine rooms of steamconverted tugs from the early 20[SUP]th[/SUP] century without the properequipment or training to do so.
I have not seen all the episodesbut suffice is to say I have seen enough…enough to make me sick to my stomach.
Come on Coast Guard!
In one of the very first episodesone of this guy’s employees, Captain Ted Long aka “Capt. Nice”, has an unreported“barge break away” in an area of heavy Laker navigation and within sight of aLaker at anchor.
What if those barges would havegotten away from him and rammed that ship? Or how about sinking them on a LOP that the Lakers use to get intoIndiana Harbor for discharge?
I never saw or heard any verbalor written reports made to USCG Sector Great Lakes. Yes, they could have cut that out but do youthink the reality junkies would cut comms with the Coast Guard out of theirmade for reality TV show?
Or how about in another episodeMr. Selvic (he does not deserve the title Captain in my opinion whether he is licensed or not) admitsto not only working his deck crew 28 hours strait but also pulling that long ofa wheel watch himself.
Yes, he had other licensedwheelmen on the vessel with him but you show me a place on that vessel that isfit for a dog to get a 6 hour off watch and I will sell you a real nice bridgein Chicago for a steal. It’s called theSkyway. Additionally the time lapse ofthe camera shots shows him behind the wheel from the beginning of the evolutionuntil the end 28 hours later.
Again, I ask you USCG, is thisconsidered safe vessel operation or legal vessel watch standing for thatmatter?
Who underwrites this guy’s insuranceand why does Canal Barge lines, Illinois Marine Towing, ACL, and ARTCO (just toname a few) allow this guy to move their barges in such an unsafe manner across“the graveyard of the Great Lakes”?
Who underwrites their insurance? Iwonder if a letter calling the insurance companies’ calling their attention to this show wassent; would these aforementioned insurance companies enjoy watching the show asmuch as I do?
Even better yet how about the unreported“Loss of Propulsion” on Ted Long’s tug as he is on final approach with the railroadbridge in South Chicago?
What if that bridge operatorwould not have been able to get that bridge up in time or what if the deckhandwould not have been able to restart that engine in time to make that bridgesafely?
Does it take a major bridgecollision and train derailment in South Chicago to get the proper authoritiesinvolved?
Is that not why we have new ruleson the books now for towboat operators?
Does anybody remember not toolong ago a major bridge being knocked down by a towboat operator and a couplefatalities resulting from this that has led to much more legislation on how toprevent such disasters from occurring again in the future?
Yet, “The Legend” that has beenmade out to be a “Cowboy” of Southern Lake Michigan by a film productioncompany with no conscience continues to operate substandard equipment just ashe did long before the days of Sub Chapter M coming to fruition.
But again somehow he manages tocontinue to stay in business with tugs that should be scuttled in the words ofhis own employees on national and international television.
And as a former employee I cantell you that at one time there were no work vests or life jackets let alonecold water survival suits to be found on any one of his tugs when I worked forhim. Liferafts? WTF are those?
If you wanted a work vest you hadto bring your own from home. I wonderwhy all those life vests and work vests I keep seeing are so new and shinylooking?
At least he tried to make ashowing for the cameras but he has been operating illegally for so long that hedoes not even know where to begin to bring his company to within the operatingstandards of the AWO RCP, USCG UTV, or any other inspection for that matter.
But I must now digress for theseare just the ramblings of a “former disgruntled employee”.
Why was I labeled a disgruntled employee?
Well, two days before Christmas Ihad to chase Mr. Selvic down for my paycheck because he had spent the entirecompany payroll the night before in the high stakes room at the then EmpressCasino (now called The Horseshoe Casino) that was also known as his secondhome. Any why is it again that they kept repeating over and over that his company was over 100k in the red?
Ask anyone that has or stillworks for him and they can tell you that come pay day if you are lucky enough toget paid you are probably going to have to pursue him to the bar at theHorseshoe Casino to get your pay and it will probably be paid to you in casinochips. How disgusting.
If you are not so lucky and youare afraid for your job and not willing to quit him over such ridiculous anticsthen you may not be paid until he gets paid again a few weeks later or he maywork out a deal with you to pay you “in trade”. Like the wheelman that he owed about 12k to that he traded a furnacethat was supposed to be installed in one of his vessels for the wheelman’swages owed.
The parolee work releasedeckhands from Cook County Jail were forced to continue to use the oven andspace heaters to try and stay warm in the middle of a Chicago winter becauseMr. Selvic had to pay wages owed one of his employees by bartering away afurnace that was meant for one of his vessels.
Or how about when I was asked toweld in the forward hold of The Matador and I requested a confined space blowerto prevent from being poisoned by my own welding gases and was given a “box fan”to place over the hatch.
Or better yes asked to removeasbestos lagging from pipes in the engine room of another garbage can tug thathe was “refurbishing” in his ramshackle shipyard he had going alongside thecoal dock in South Chicago.
Hello Shallow Water Sailors areyou out there?
If you are then do somethingabout this before he kills someone else.
Can anyone tell me what thepenalties are for failure to report serious marine incidents such as a “Loss ofPropulsion” or a barge break away?
How about a an unreported allision/collision or a spill.
Those were daily occurances when I worked for Mr. Selvic.
I want to see something in theChicago Sun Times about this guy being busted or at least his company beingforced to conform to the standards of the companies that he is sub-contractingfor instead of a bunch a media hype calling attention to a substandard operatorthat takes unnecessary risks and encourages his Captains and crew to do thesame and making him out to be a “gunslinger” of the Great Lakes.
This man and his company deservesno positive publicity but rather to be called on his bullshit for once byfederal authorities that are not on the mob payroll.
Maybe a letter to DC would do thetrick. Who knows, eh?
I pray for the sailors workingfor him. They need all the help they canget.
God Save The United States MerchantMarine
Acta non Verba