Info on sailing foreign flag

I logged on here for the first time in a long time to hopefully get some input/advice from you guys. I’m sailing with MEBA right now and and happy with it but I am really concerned about the long term viability of not only MEBA but of the US flagged industry as a whole. To me, with our government as broke and financially incompetent as they are, it is just a matter of time before the Govt. subsidies go away or are dramatically reduced. The only way I see the US flag surviving in any real numbers is via short sea shipping. But until that happens, I am trying to get a backup plan in place.

Which brings me to my real question…Foreign flagged ships…I know the pay is way lower, but shit pay abroad beats no job at home. I live in the Philippines so my cost of living is low, so I think it is viable financially for me. I think I understand how to get the documents, but what about getting hired? Any tips there? Sites to go to? Any info or insight? I’m being proactive on this to do my research now before it becomes a reality so there is no time rush or on-rush of US mariners all looking for the same foreign jobs.

If you have any info/ideas/insights, I’d appreciate it…

Many many years ago, fresh out of high school with nothing better to do I worked foreign flag. As an AB I made $215 per month. That’s right, $7.17 per day. Overtime was .80 cents an hour, but the captain didn’t like having to use a calculator to figure our overtime so he upped it to a buck an hour. Easier math. I got the job through friends of the family, but other guys were using headhunter/crewfinders in the far east. I made some connections (long gone now) through various port agents who said they might be able to help me out if they had a ship that was suddenly short-handed. Maybe pick a few companies and go straight to the front office with your questions and see what they say or cold-call an agent or two and talk to them.

P.S. I had a ball and wouldn’t trade that time for anything. If it paid just a little better, I’d be right there right now.

Been on foreign flag ships since 2008 for the same reason you have. Life was easy on foreign ships, with no unnecessary hassles,
with majority of Crew with million miles on their tails…

U.S. Master is welcomed for the R/R written in English for passing lots of PSC inspections ( I got 14 inspections for 8 months hitch)
of Paris MOU, Med MOU, Middle East MOU, Tokyo MOU plus Class Inspections and P & I Inspections…(only OIM job seemed similar)
Major Oil Inspections, CDI etc…

Money’s from low to almost same as some U.S. Ships (like 550 a day) on Product & Chemical tankers, I’ve heard LNG pays more but I never been on …
You don’t need PIC stuff endorsements like in the U.S. Been on tankers with no tanker man PIC, like we crossed Pacific Ocean with the old ship towed
behind for break in Columbia River without any towing endorsement.

Food was a problem, some owner paid 500 a month and Chem tanker owner 1,600 a month for your private foods.
Had to shop for foods everywhere in the world by myself and that was not easy.
And had to teach how to cook American Food right to the foreign Chief Cook.

I am not sure about foreign shipping, but I have been on foreign flag drilling vessels for the past 5 years. The pay is above average for shipping. I would love to be on a US flag drilling rig, but they don’t exist. Normally you can get on a vessel with your current license, but have to apply immediately for your foreign conversion. Most conversions are merely a verification of your International Credentials. Some flags will not allow a conversion.

Some years ago, after I retired from sailing (US Flag), I took a job which took me onto many foreign-flagged ships. I was not happy with my job at that time. One day, I was an absolutely beautiful crude oil tanker. There was a Senior Superintendent on board and I approached him about employment. He listened to my credentials and work experience and then he replied, “Mr. _______, with your experience, you would surely be a great asset for our company, but I cannot hire you.” “[I]Why?[/I]” “It is because you have a US Passport.” “[I]What difference does that make?[/I]” “You Americans are considered to be a litigious society. You are always making law suits. If I hire you, our P&I Insurance Premiums will increase too much. If you can get a different passport, I might be able to hire you.”

Since then, I have met several mariners on the ships who live in the USA, but they still have their home passports and they travel with those.

I met one Captain on a Passenger Ship who was American. Everyone else was from one of the maritime nations of the world.

I know that some of the Offshore Petroleum Industry high-tech vessels will hire Americans. Drilling Platforms, DP Heavy Lift Vessels… They want expertise and they will pay whatever costs for it.

Good luck!

Some years ago, after I retired from sailing ( US-flag), I took up an employment which took me onto many foreign-flagged ships in port.

For awhile, I was not happy with my work. I really wanted to go back to sea. One day I boarded an absolutely beautiful, one year old crude oil tanker. There happened to be a Senior Superintendent on board, so I approached him. I told him about my credentials and my experience and suggested that there might be a possibility for employment. He replied to me, “Mr. _______ , with your experience, you would probably be an excellent employee on our ships. …But I cannot hire you.” “[I]Why not?[/I]” “It is because you have a US Passport.” “[I]What difference does that make?[/I]” “The rest of the world sees you Americans as a litigious society. If I hire you, our P&I Insurance Premiums will go sky-high. If you can get another passport, we might be able to hire you.”

I’ve met several Canadian mariners on these foreign-flagged freighters and tankers. I’ve met several mariners, who live in the USA, but they still have a passport from their homeland and they work with that. I’ve only met one American mariner and he was a Captain on a Passenger Ship, (Texas Maritime & ex-USN).

I know that Americans get hired for service on foreign Drilling Platforms and DP Heavy Lifting Ships in the high tech sector of the Offshore Petroleum Industry. Expertise is wanted there and the Offshore Industry will pay whatever is needed for that expertise.

Good luck!

Yes - Correct. Our policies specifically state, “[I]No Americans to be employed.”[/I] Not fun to see, but it is the situation. We have employed a few, with specific advise to U/W.