How to get started on container ships

I just wrapped up my first season of sailing on the Great Lakes. It was everything I was hoping for. On that same note, I’m sick of seeing Duluth, Minnesota amd the surrounding area. I’d really would like to get into international container ships, along with widening my maritime career… I’m under the impression that I’ll need and STCW and a passport. However, I’m also under the impression I’ll need to join the SIU. Which I’m not too thrilled about. I haven’t heard much good about them. Is there anyway to get into container ships and not go through the SIU. I’m also not thrilled to have sea time and have to attend an academy.

I am not sure what allure container ships have for you but the reality of the situation is that your options are limited. You have a choice of either the SIU or SUP. Looking for entry level positions with low seniority is a very tough road to row. It is for that reason the SIU’s Apprentice program is a viable option to get started and a leg up.

There are also non-union freight outfit that run up to Alaska that might interest you but other than that, there are few options. I suppose I should also mention MSC as a possibility but you are looking for container ships.

You heard bad things about the SIU, so what? It’s like hearing bad things about utility companies.

Of course groups that are anti-union in general are going to pound away at how messed up unions are but for the most part aboard ship the topic rarely comes up. They run the halls, the schools, the insurance etc.

When you’re aboard ship the union it just not something you’d spend much time thinking about. It’d be like sitting around the house bitching about the electric company or what ever.

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If you’re in the engine department you can also check out the MFOW.

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Wise words. So obvious and true I laughed out loud .

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[quote=“Kennebec_Captain, post:3, topic:53855”]
It’d be like sitting around the house bitching about the electric company or what ever.
[/quote]

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Why? You have one season on the lakes, it’s not like you have much sea time. If you have any aspirations of licensure definitely go to the academy now.

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Doesn’t sound like you’re thrilled about much. Yeh, you have to join SIU or SUP if you want to get on a container ship.

If your dream is to use shipping as a way to visit exotic ports for extended stays then forget about container shipping. Go with MSC that’s the last bastion of exotic port calls and sight seeing.

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I would also suggest the Government contract ships like the TAGS as an option to see the world stress free.

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Government contract ships?

Government owned, but operated under contract by companies such as Maersk or whomever wins the contract when they come up for bid. The example I mentioned, TAGS, are multi-mission oceanographic survey ships.

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