How long before Navy takes control of MSC manning?

Does anyone know the truth of the rumor that MSC is asking the USCG for waivers to sail without 1 A/E, Chief Mates, or enlist 2 A/E , 2/Os to cover the job?

**Heard that a Chief Mate just walked in Hawaii. 6 months overdue.

How long until MSC collapses and the Navy has to step in and doing something drastic? So glad I am not involved in this operation anymore. What a mess.


More like let the Unions take over. Would be a win for the unions to take over MSC ships. I would go back to an AO if it was MMP. The most fun hitches I had were with MSC, much more exciting then bringing BMWs to Baltimore; but all that MSC bs just ruins.


I dont know about MMP/MEBA but im not sure the union’s have enough people to take over this one. AMO has 151 jobs on the board. SIU has had hundreds of jobs on the board for years at this point. We’ve got 10 more TSP tankers on the horizon allegedly. Throwing another 30-40 ships that require all the goverment vessels classes at the union isn’t going to help anyone. The Navy and Coast Guard are both having retention/recruiting problems, not sure they have the spare manpower sitting around either.


There should be some sort of Union aid to provide relief. If you could sign up for a 4-6 month hitch on an MSC ship and the Union was in charge of say 20 billets that they could rotate people through to ensure reliefs. Nobody is gonna go there to be a chief mate and never get relieved. 3Ms and 3AE’s they can still attract from schools but even that is dwindling. Serious manning crisis in the next 3-7 years.

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Alternatively if they just upped pay, more people would be willing to work, and they could use the extra manpower to solve the eternal hitches to go even time.


I think the biggest issue with MSC is reliefs, not pay. They’re currently paying “good” money right now, but in this day and age, it will always be hard to find people without on time reliefs. When I graduated a couple years ago, I never even considered MSC because of the relief issue.

If MSC were to be taken over by unions it would still probably take a year or two for people to be willing to go try it out. Regardless, the biggest issues facing MSC currently seem to be quality of life issues (on time reliefs, hostilities on board) not necessarily pay issues.

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Exactly. I dont care if youre paying me $2,000/day I’m not going to MSC.


Their pay is not on par with any company. You make a lot of money because you work 8, 9, 10+ months of the year. There are plenty of 3rd mates making 130k+ right now working 6 months of the year. At MSC if you worked 6 months only as a 3M you would not clear that much money. It’s a problem that needs to be worked out in unison, the pay and schedule is directly related.

But I do agree the org structure there is backwards in general so they just need to tear it down and start from scratch on the crew schedules. (They won’t)


You would go to MSC for 2k a day don’t lie to yourself. Everyone has a price.


When the academy had us fill out evaluations on our cadet shipping I wrote:

“If MSC were to be the only job available to me, I would change careers.”


Cadet shipping at MSC is a blast. It can be a bad company to work for but that is definitely and exaggeration. For young mariners who want cool experience and a variety of opportunities it’s a fine company.

I’d be willing to argue that their pay is technically on par with the rest of the industry for 2/M for the first two years. My math, using their average annual salary numbers plus the bonus, puts a 2/M day rate at $757.75 for 9 months. My day rate now on a large OSV is $750 working 28/14. Personally, I don’t think the MSC day rate is worth dealing with all the BS I’ve been hearing about, but to say their day rate isn’t comparable I think is false

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The pay and free training MSC provides is not the biggest issue. Getting relieved on time is. Not sure Navy can solve that as they have their own problems in that area as well. Last trip my son made for MSC…paid fairly well, but was 4 months over waiting for relief. I worked even time on offshore tugs, Didn’t mind working over a bit if my relief was having issues, as I knew my relief would do same for me., just banked it. 4 months over is WAY TOO MUCH.not knowing who your relief is as well.

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I’m not sure what that figure they’re advertising is based on…because the salary for 2M is still only 79k. If you sail 12 months sure you’ll be close to the max like pushing 180k. But if you sailed 12 months at 750 you’d be pushing 275k. All I’m saying is, the money isn’t bad but it’s only “not bad” due to the amount of time you have to spend at work. The schedule and pay are a package deal. They need to improve both.


79k is base pay. w/o overtime and the many other benefits. As you know that check grows quite a bit with the bennies. Still… getting relieved on time I think is the biggest issue. Can remember the long faces on some crew members when a relief was not coming. A GIANT morale buster…


So true. When I graduated MSC was the only employer. Everyone else had to sail AB or go shoreside. I took the third option: vagabond around Europe while harassing HR departments until I got a 3/m gig.

There are always better job opportunities if you’re willing to put in the work. Most people aren’t. I decided I’d rather be homeless than work 10 months a year. What really sold me was the training ship chief mate who worked MSC for 10 years then bought a Ferrari. That was the best recruiting tool ever. 90% of the campus fawned over that car, it was beautiful, but I just kept asking myself “would I trade ten years of life for a car?” Nope


I’ve had a lot of talks with MSC leadership the past few months. They have 1.2 people per billet and are talking about increasing hiring to 1.3 but the head SES keeps pushing back. @Salvatore_Mercoglian did the math and they need at least 1.5 before they can solve the relief problem. They likely won’t because if they went to 1.5 the manning crisis would look a lot worse on paper.

Truth is this isn’t an difficult problem to solve. The DoD spent $1.5-$1.8 Trillion this year, they have the money.

  1. Improve pay and opportunities for senior officer.
  2. Fully fund and streamline the military-to-mariner program and have recruiters selling the program to every SWO in the fleet.
  3. Fund a hawsepipe academy to get prior-enlisted SWOs licenses.
  4. Rotate some of NAVSEA’s 86,000 employees (NAVSEA alone is twice the size of the entire USCG) out to the MSC fleet.
  5. Boost advertising and media engagement. Pay people like @Meme.Lord, @Salvatore_Mercoglian and @Mikey to go out to the ships and produce content. Encourage existing civmars to write for gCaptain and produce social media content.
  6. Stop treating CIVMARS like second class citizens. They are US Merchant Marine officers but some naval officers think its of to treat them like civilian burger flippers at the Navy Exchange.

The issues are almost oxymoronic because you can’t attract people without a better schedule and you can’t have a better schedule without more people. Really the only viable solution without having to drastically increase pay would be to have a union/managing company come in with people.

Then again it sounds like all of the unions are having their own issues with manning. Which leads back to the crux of how do we get more people to join the industry and/or incentive unlicensed to move up.

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Agree John… on most points.Number one on your list is improve pay for all officers…not just senior officers… Number 2 would help the pool.Number 3 would also be warranted. Number 6 is much too prevalent, even though quite a few naval officers are academy grads not associated with Annapolis. Go figure.

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It comes back to money. If it’s not too late already, it’s really close, but this industry used to pay the equivalent of at least twice what it’s currently paying. A number of years of significantly more people than jobs in the US work force has allowed wages to decline considerably and now it’s not worth it for most people to go to sea. There have been doom and gloom articles predicting future mariner shortages for many years now and the industry leadership (the companies) were complaining and whining about “how do we attract new people?” They knew the answer then and they know it now that the shortage is here and it’s too late to attract new people, PAY SIGNIFICANTLY MORE MONEY. What high school kid is going to decide to go to school to be a third mate and be away from home 6+ months a year for only $120,000? And then, after a career of being gone over half the year and missing facility events a master unlimited barely makes $200,000 per year. Go to school for computer science and become an app developer. In less time than it takes to get your chief mate license you’ll be making more than a master unlimited.

In short, all pay industry wide, needs to at least double NOW in order for crewing to not collapse in 5-10 years. Of course, the companies don’t want to pay more or prevent a complete crewing collapse. Not having enough US mariners is good for business because when manning completely collapses they’ll just lobby to get rid of the Jones act so they can import cheap labor.