How to Avoid a Shit Storm

On a container ship, I was second mate. Third mate was an old-timer. We figured there was some trouble going on between the company and the senior officers but didn’t know and had no real interest in the details.

We had just gotten tied up, both the third mate and I were on bridge, I was putting things away and tidying up, third mate was bent over the chart table finishing up his log.

Chief Mate comes bursting though the door onto the bridge, He exclaims, “This is turning into a real shit storm!”

Old-timer third mate doesn’t even look up from his log. “Shit storm” he says, “steer up wind and stay well clear.”


Unfortunate for us old timers that we have to deal with 2nd, 3rd, C/M showing up to watch on the bridge wearing flip/flops, crocks, shorts and cell phones while having to be first responders to any emergency. And as a temporary relief Capt…how far can I go implementing a proper watch without worrying about discrimination?? The USMM has reached an all time low. Then you have the unlicensed crew complaining daily about whatever they can think of?? The SIU staff and their lack of sanitation and ability would be fired from Mcdonalds on the first day. My relief experience was a niightmare on board an active working US maritime car carrier. Sure, my standards for the galley and reefers were “gordan Ramsey” well before he was even popular. I have so many pictures that would make you ill. SIU training schools are horrible from my experience. Used to be decent…but they still send the worst of the worst out to feed the fleet. And I had to deal with it!! Plus, you can’t fire the steward department when the ship is sailing, or overseas! But a previous Capt did just that and ended up cooking breakfast for the entire crew for weeks until a steward finally arrived. They still talk about it!! Welcome to the US Merchant marine with an SIU crew, on a lower paying ship and ending up with the bottom of the barrel…when actually they were all making very good bank and top overtime. Unbelievable situation to deal with. The deck officers were horrible. The quality of junior officers (on this ship) that are produced from the maritime academies these days is a disgrace. Good luck everyone.