I am looking to transition from the gulf to deep sea and have some questions. If anyone with firsthand knowledge could weigh in it would be very much appreciated.
I hold an Unlimited Master, Tankerman PIC and am trying to decide between MMP and MEBA. Looking to sail RORO or Container ships.
I have spoken with the halls over the phone and they are both promising me the world. Would it really be possible for me to sail as a CM right away without experience on ROROs or Boxboats or are there required training/classes to work on these vessels?
Are the open boards really full of senior level positions that they are having a hard time filling? If so are these jobs permanent?
What union is the best choice for someone with my license looking to join? Why?
I would recommend you actually visit the halls of each union and see what is currently available. There is no specific training or classes other than the license requirements. Would it be possible to snag a CM job right away?..Yes, if it went open and no one with higher seniority grabbed it. That said, I would hope you are confident in your abilities to learn fast, make sure the basics get covered, and hope to God the captain and others are willing to help you as you progress up the learning curve.
We’ve had green, first time Chief Mates make relief trips. Some did well, others not so much. All had a bit to learn with regards to the ship in general, stability software, cargo operations, ships procedures, and the like. Those that did well had the support of the Captain, bosun and crew. If you don’t have that it can be tough sledding, experienced or not.
Yes you can ship out right away as a CM coming from the GOM. I know someone who did it before. However, it wasn’t intentional. He took a junior officer job then the ship needed a c/m so they bumped him up. He was stressed but managed. Sometimes the best way to learn is to jump right into it.
In terms of getting a c/m job you will have better luck as an applicant with the MEBA. There are some openings right now with the MEBA that are temporarily being held by MMP reliefs thatd you be able to take. MMP within the last 6months only had 5 c/m containership or roro jobs taken by applicants.
But it also depends on what you want. Getting a permanent spot with MEBA is easier. But maybe you want access to a lot of night mate jobs, travel the country from hall to hall and like the thrill of competing for jobs. - then the MMP is your style. Or if you really want a west coast containership then MMP is your only bet because the containerships for MEBA are on the east coast. There’s roros for both unions on both coasts. If you don’t live near a hall and to hold a permanent job sooner then the MEBA is a better option.
This is pretty much how I look at it. Not your fault that they have nobody experienced to take the job. And if they don’t want someone from a different background they should require training or proven experience on the platform.
The solution would be to PAY MORE and then you wouldn’t have this problem.
Haven’t worked box ships, son has at sea and ashore. Very familiar with oil transport in my career. Both have their complicated challenges in different ways,. As a green CM on either without prior experience will more likely than not be problematic
Thanks for all the good info here. My plan is to get into the halls as suggested and possibly try and night mate first. If then I feel like it would be possible for me to do the CM job I’m just going to go for it.
That being said what are the best halls to night mate out of? Does MEBA even offer this option for their deck guys?
Many years ago when Viet Nam was over, American WW 2 vintage break bulk ships were laying up. New container ships carried more cargo than several of the older vessels with smaller crews. U.S. Flag carrier not unusual to se a crew crew list every deck officer had a Masters License all the way down to 3rd. Not so much Engineers suspect they found shore side employment.
The bubble worked itself out, many retired or found jobs on shore, Stevedoring companies, surveyors, Port Captain cargo superintendent etc.
Not many companies will hire a master with little experience their specific type of vessel. Scandinavian I worked for latter required 5 years experience minimum 1st officer before they could work as a Port Captain. Less experience required as Cargo superintendent.
Difference Port Captain was qualified planning stow & stability calculations in advance of port call & subject to vessels master approval. Superintendent managed the discharge/load at the berth in consultation with the Port Captain who handled the vessel entire voyage from a central location & few port calls, always attending on sailing foreign last port.
Supers that stayed with it generally moved up to Port Captain .