Looking to break into Brazil offshore work


I’m seeking advice about pursuing a position in the Brazil offshore/deepwater job market. Specifically, I’d appreciate input regarding US companies active in the area, available vessel classes, and info regarding immigration issues. Rig work also an option. Additionally, I’d entertain the idea of relocating my )(willing) family there for a mid/longterm contract if necessary, and I wonder about the feasibility of such a move (travel/adventure a high priority for the wife, plus her brother is there for work.)

I’m a US citizen, currently employed, with Master 500gt Oceans, AB Unlimited, Crane/Rigging, 5 years commercial experience, without DP, ARPA, or GMDSS. I’d like to hear about possibilities with current certs, as well as best way to earn more. Priorities are increasing tonnage and decent compensation.

Any help greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance.


Almost all the major US offshore companies have vessels working in Brazil and they will arrange for any visas required to work there but I hope you like working with lazy men with bad attitudes because they know they are untouchable.

I won’t say I’d never work in Brazil but knowing now what I do about the work ethic of Brazilian oilfield hands and seamen, I sure as hell don’t want to.

No GMDSS, No ARPA, No DP = Not Likely

I agree 100% with firecreek and disagree 100% with C Captain. I worked in Brazil in '98 and two of my three Brazilian AB’s were great workeers with great attitudes. I really enjoyed working with them. Had I been able to stay another six months, I probably would have gone native!

Long hours. Crappy help. No experience. Place is hell. It’s not a third world country for nothing. Take a shot to see if u like it but I can tell u it sucks. Sure as hell would not move there. Also you need all credentials bc port state down there don’t play and if you do not know regulations like ism and marpol you have lost already. Also if u do not speak the language give it up. Even on 16 they will not speak English if they know it. Delivered a boat there this year. I will never go back.

Thanks for the responses.

Things that have occurred to me reading the responses so far:

I’ve plenty of experience with West Indian hands whose work ethics are questionable and wonder how they compare to the Brazilians?

I wonder how much insight one delivery gives?

I was hoping that someone might have specific ideas regarding what billets are available for US mariners and with what firms. I know that some of my credentials are lacking and would be willing to investigate slots lower on the totem pole.

Anyone have knowledge of rig positions and working environments?

Thanks again.


There are none. All positions are filled by locals except officer positions.

Thanks jemplayer.

I did more than a delivery. I stayed there and got the job set up over the next three months. I had a very positive experience.

The language thing is an obstacle but not an imposible one, the work ethic of the locals is not that disimilar to the gringos just in a differnet language, and the job is a challenge unless you are convinced that there is nothing outside of the GOM. That being said the big Fourchon companies are down here and they are the best ones to talk to. The Horse, pumpkins, and big blue. Plus the French are here too.

Thanks CaptStew,

That’s the kind of considered response that I was looking for.


anytime man, and by the way I am down here as a 200 tonner if that helps your piece of mind

I’ve been working down here since this past August and I seem to like it alright. The language barrier is a little frustrating, but I don’t mind learning another language. Like Charlemagn once said, “To know another language is like having another soul.” Knowing a little Spanish makes it easier too. They are lazy, but they will do there work if you make them and if they won’t you can request a a replacement. The one thing they I like down here compared to the Gulf is that there isn’t any cut throat going on. No one wants your position and is willing to get you fired over it. A more laid back atmosphere.

Whats the rotation down there? Does the company fly you guys back and forth?

What is the name of the company you are working for down there and are they hard to get on with

The rotation is 60/30 and I work with Chouest. The new raise that came out may effect how I feel about having to work down here. They’re giving us a raise according to the size boat that we’re on. You never know what boat you will go to at times. I’m on a 240’ now and was on a 190’ last hitch. I should be able to work a 280’ or on a anchor boat.

All the small and large Bayou LaFourch companies are down here along with Seacor. My employer, Chouest, is looking to place even more boats down here…

The Captain and Chief Engineer are the only US crew, the rest are Brazillian…Per the contracts. The work is NOT bad nor is the language barrier, 1/2 speak at least some English and the upper Officers speak pretty good English. If you do find something permenent, you will be emersed in Portugese and you will learn faster.

I have worked the world over and Brazil is NOT bad at all, some crews you have to push and some just sit back and watch, same as in GOM, the majority of the time is sit back and watch. Getting supplies and work done to the vessel is sometimes harder, sometimes easier than is the GOM, it ALL depends on your handler.

You might want to look into getting started on your DP, GMDSS, and ARPA, ARPA is cheap and a good place to start. Showing you are at least working toward getting your certs will look good on a future employer, and remember - most employers have training programs. Some pay to attend the classes and some don’t, the way I look at it is that as long as they pay the classes and hotel, I’m happy - too many years I had to pay ALL to get my certs.

I know of one X-Pat down there and he is happy, went down may moons ago, got hitched, and has a family.

Good Luck!

Hornbeck has a few boats down there and from what I gather, most guys don’t want to go down there. If you express intrest, they will send you to DP school and I’m sure send you down there. They pay for travel and from what I hear, pay 10% more then they do in GoM

You thank Hornbeck would hire me to go to Brazil i hold a 100 ton master 200 ton mate license but only boats Ive ever ran are commercial fishing vessels Im only looking for a mate or 3ed captain spot

Look at there website for vessel specs. None of there vessels are under 1000 tons with the exception of tugs. Which you can not run with a towing endorsement. Better hit up the crewboats or utility boat companies.