Is Union (MMP) worth it?

Things change in 5 years. The SLNC Goodwill got raises every year and then when they won the MSC Coontract for another 5 years, MMP got the officers considerable raises, they just went into effect a couple months ago. SIU saw raises as well with the new contract. I’m thinking about going back, if nothing else for 1 tour to make sure i maintain my tankerman.

1 Like

Do you know what the rate is for 3rd mates?

Yes, have to go to the hall for a job but there’s no requirement to hang around, or even go to job call in the first place, If there’s jobs on the open board just walk in and claim one.

Otherwise as far as how to get a job what tactic works best depends on the situation and circumstances.

In John McPhee’s book “Looking for a Ship” the tactic of “laying for a ship” is described.

EDIT - just saw this on the pay thread:


And there are a good number of open jobs on the “open offshore jobs” board on the MMP app. A couple CM tanker slots and many Patriot jobs.

Patriot paid well, even for third mate. I found it close to APL wages at the time and a great way to build book time. Having the certs meant reliably steady work on prepo ships where the workload was extremely light. Once a lot of guys advanced their licenses and got their books they struck out for better jobs (like Maersk, where they had trip-off options instead of being stuck on flyouts) which created plenty of open slots.

1 Like

I don’t have the updated numbers wages but go look at the Mariner 2024 pay thread @Seadog6726 has the numbers listed

There are ROS jobs for both MEBA and MMP on the open board right now.

I would look at where you want to be and then pick . Different unions have different ROS contract locations and that is set to change possibly change in the 6 months as the MARAD contract renews


This is true especially in MMP no one is treating it as a career anymore both young and old. More like a side gig because the wages haven’t matched inflation with the contracts and land jobs are much more competitive. Plus and minus to it but definitely effects the caliber of people you get if they aren’t dedicated to the job.

@Saltlesssailor I might get some flack for this but honestly my recommendation to a junior officer wanting to make this a career or have some stability in their life is to not join MMP. If you have a second income and want to just sail once a year as a junior officer then yes. But you would be way better off getting in terms of the money, seatime, and time off not worrying by finding a permanent 3m job elsewhere. With 3M in MMP you are limited in the jobs you can take and with 2M you are competing with the greyhead A books that never moved up. I recommend getting your chief mate as fast as possibly then join. There’s always been people clogging up the latter at 2M and a gap at chief mate. And if you are a young CM and don’t have many bills you have the flexibility to take a third mate job when needed and take the chief mate scraps. You can get on the company preferred or call list and soon enough land a permanent gig (even as a C book because the companies have the right of selection for senior officers )


As far as I know, there’s only one, true “union” for deck officers: MMP.

Someone already mentioned AMO’s hiring process: you check an internet board; email that you’re interested; they tell the company; company hires you (or doesn’t). That makes AMO a crewing agent, not a union. The company MIGHT hire you… they might also hire another 3/m’s cousin/brother/friend. You won’t know. And why give the company that power anyway?

MEBA, is a marine ENGINEERS union. They have deck jobs, but you’d be a carpenter in a plumbers union—an afterthought at contract time (and every other time…).

I’ve been MMP for 16 years. I’ve never had real trouble finding work. I took low paying jobs, sure. But I’ve been on Matson ships, too, and permanent for the last 8. What I tell everyone who asks is this: MMP is without question harder to start out. BUT, once you get a foothold, it’s not even a debate—it’s worth it. Be ready to take jobs you ordinarily wouldn’t, at times you don’t want to, and you’ll never be out of work, gaining points and seniority the whole time, so you can get to the place where you can pick and choose.

And on the hiring hall… no one forces you to go (it’s not the MSC “pool”) and you don’t have to sit there all day. It’s wise to go in often, starting out. Then you learn how to handicap. Besides—the hall is kind of the point of the union, isn’t it? You’ll know who got the job, and why. You can challenge their qualifications. And the union decides who goes to work; not the company—they don’t get to choose their buddies and ass kissers. It took 30 years of fighting to wrestle that from the company—embrace it. Enjoy it.


Man, that was my first and only AMO job on the Bravado back in the 90’s. $68 a day and $10.88/hr for OT as an AB. I was never able to ship with them again and went to tugs and Local 333 in NY

I posted it in the Mariner Payscale thread.

It requires more context. If a member wants to 'thrown in" their shipping card to bid on a job that requires being there in person.

To me the term “sitting at the hall” is meant to describe someone that is spending time in the hall hoping for a pier head jump or the like.

Not going to see that much when shipping is good. Even when shipping is slow most members don’t hang around long. During call most never even sit down.

  • Edited to remove 'no other requirement"
1 Like

If anything this feels more misleading. You’re still going to hall and spending any amount of time physically there to get a job. If you’re sailing off the board are there rules about having your bags ready and all that jazz? Don’t you still have to go to the hall to file for vacation and such, even if you’re permanent/senior officer?

I think the disconnect is that with AMO there is no physical “hall.” There’s union HQ in Dania, but unless you’re taking classes you theoretically would never have to go there for work.

I was not trying to describe the entire hall system, just answering why saying the hiring hall system “requires sitting at the hall” needs more context.

It makes it sound like the MSC ‘pool’ which it is not.


MEBA, is a marine ENGINEERS union. They have deck jobs, but you’d be a carpenter in a plumbers union—an afterthought at contract time (and every other time…).

No true at all.

The wages for mates and engineers are the same on a MEBA top to bottom ship. MEBA top to bottom ships consistently have better continuity between departments vs an MMP/MEBA ship. There are plenty of good jobs and a real retirement with MEBA. If you plan to make a career of sailing MEBA is the only choice. Talk to any MMP Master with 25-30 years and ask them why a MEBA 2nd Mate with 20 years has a larger monthly annuity.


Lately everyone I see at the hall has been surfing the online portal and knows exactly what they’re showing up for, even during the slow season. No one really strolls in casually unless they’re new or filing for vacation/reregistering.

Eons ago when I was new I heard horror stories of “sitting around all year waiting for work,” like it was the 1980s again. Half the time it was people who only wanted Horizon Lines or showed up one day a week and left whining about how bad shipping was. I recall an applicant turning down a Central Gulf Lines rotary cause he never heard of the company and wanted to hold out for Horizon or Maersk because the pay was better. Your call, kid… I’ll take it if you won’t and get my bills paid.


I had to go back to your first post to jog my memory… but I think I got enough of the dots connected now. You were on the Charlton, no? Then hopped over to the Express ships?

As far as sitting in a hall with MMP, If you are at a hall that gets a lot of jobs called then you can make out pretty good. If you ship out of Tampa, like I did, jobs are few and far between.

Tampa is tough, not sure about Pompano… so is Boston ever since APL left the east coast.

I live in Brooklyn so NJ is just easiest for me, though I am jealous when I hear the old timers talk of days when the hall was in Lower Manhattan (before my time.)

1 Like

Boston hall told me to move to Norfolk when I signed up. Sadly that wasn’t in my immediate college grad budget and AMO called me first.

1 Like

I sat in the Boston MEBA hall years ago for 2 months looking for a job after my roommate got a sweet gig as a MEBA mate…not one job.

I found out after I left that all the “open board” jobs got called in NY first before they ever went anywhere else. What a stupid system.

Never worked for Patriot. Only heard horror stories from those who have. Sitting at anchor off a tropical island does have its appeal but the wages are enough to drive me away.