Looks like I am about to get major hosed!

A few months ago I decided to resume my career working on boats after 19 years away from the water. Back in the day I had an AB Unlimited ticket. At that time I turned in two sea service letters from companies I worked for totaling well over 1080 days. Both compainies are now long gone and out of business. I sent a request to the USCG for sea time records the first week of May. After two and a half months, I finally recieved my much anticipated sea time records today.

One two week certificate for one hitch was all they could find after two and a half months at archives! …Man am I pissed. To make it worse I decided to take a leap of faith and go ahead with all of the required courses for my AB Unlimited, STCW, and 100GT Master while I was waiting for my sea time records! Being out of work and trying to cut time off this whole process made it seem the right thing to do.

One last hope I have is that they sent a request down to Texas where there are supposedly records from New Orleans REC that were damaged by Katrina A private company was contracted to freeze dry the damaged records and go thru them and salvage what they could by putting them on a disc? It will be about 30 days to see if anything is left down there. Man talk about a long shot! Having spent several thousand dollars to get all my schooling and testing done, phyisical, drug test references ect. Now I am being left at the dock with my bags in hand!

It looks like I can still get my AB unlimited because it is a reissue and I have completed all the courses to do so, sea time is not required as they will give me credit for what I had back then.

However I am being told, [U]even though you have aqquired sea time in the past you have to provide proof of it now (in paper form) in order for it to be of use on a new issue 100GT Master License! .[/U] They will not allow it to be used for the Master license because someone at the REC center in New Orleans back in the day may have made a mistake!

I am totally stuck on this and am feeling like the USCG is wrong to take this appraoch if it is indeed the final postion. You will give credit for a reissue based on the good faith asumption that the paperwork was done right back then, but now that is not acceptable when it applies to the license! [B]WTF![/B] It will take me years to get the sea time worked back up, mean while I loses thousands and thousands of dollars in income over the next few years.

Thank God for this forum, at least I have a place to vent. If there are any ideas or ways to pull a rabbit out of the hat, I am all ears!

Thank you for listening


just a thought…get your ab unltd in hand…work that ticket…accrue some recency…if you still want the 100 tn (don’t know why you would?)…lodge both a protest and appeal regarding your past sea time based on “that it is implied”…“implied” is a term that the USCG likes and understands…if by chance they grant it then apply for your 500 tn mate based on your “implied sea time” and recency time…be advised that all of this will probably come under the scrutiny of the gran poobaa of the NMC…WTH nothing ventured nothing gained!

Couldn’t you approach the USCG that the records were lost by the USCG because of Katina? It seems like a ligitimate and sympathetic approach. That way they have an alibi and wont have to admit to negligence.

You wrote:
“mean while I loses thousands and thousands of dollars in income over the next few years because of bad record keeping at the USCG.”

I’m not trying to attack you, and I understand it’s been 19 years but, your record keeping could have been a bit better. A lesson learned for everyone I guess.

Thanks seadawg and Jeffrox for your advice. I edited my post to cool it off a bit. Never really thought about the 500GT mate!

I just got of the phone this morning with the guy who handled my file. He was helpful and steered me back down to a wonderful lady at the New Orleans REC in Mandiville. She says there are a couple places where records, files, documents are kept from back in that time period (1984). She has sent in request for me. Even if there are no records that some consideration should be given anyway because of the old AB Ticket with 1080 days required and the 100GT masters only needing 720 days and being a lesser license?

Not sure of the outcome, but still have some hope. For know get back to work and keep at it. It looks like when all is said and done I will have something worth while to share with everyone. I am sure I am not the only one walking down this path or will be. One more thing, the REC in New Orleans is touchy to the accusation that they lost files!

they should be…over my career they have “misplaced” mine twice!!

I quess 2 out of 6 issues isn’t so bad…one time I was in their face when they opened up w/ paperwork in hand and got renewed before lunch…another renewal I mailed in and recieved in 2 weeks…those were the days…last renewal was at the beginning of their transition after katrina and only “half” of my paperwork made it to the NMC…NOLA did “fast track” me after I hand delivered a copy of my paperwork to them…I believe that renewal took over 8 weeks…really looking forward to the next one in 2012…currently I am waiting on the VSO endorsement which I think involves issueing me the “new” document…currently waiting 4 weeks so far for that.

bottom line…be patient…know and play the “game”…don’t get upset, there is nothing to be gained by that…request all the important “stuff” in writing…maintain a file of EVERYTHING…I believe I have better records than they have right down to my first time letter, application, z-card and license.

Well I am not trying to be a hard ass but you have not sailed in 19 yrs I would be greatfull that they are giving you your ab back with all the recent changes I have a friend that didn’t sail for 7 yrs and they made him sail 180 days as an os just to get his ab sp back they wouldn’t give him his unlimited back

I hope that things work out for you and hope you get your ticket but if not you will make more as an ab than a 100 ton master not to many places even if the vessel is under 100 tons are hireing 100 ton the ins wants the bigger license and there are so many 1600 ton masters looking for any thing floating it would be easier to get a job as an ab

Not trying to say to spend more money but tankerman pic barge might get your foot in the door

Good luck

Trust me bully, I have been feeling the love for just having the oppurtunity to get back in with some consideration for time served. I have struggled for many months now trying to land a good paying job in this economy. Problem is they keep changing the story around. Today I recieved a call by the guy who worked on my seatime request and he says they have no record of me ever having an AB or anything other than one two week discharge paper! I am talking to him picking my teeth with the edge of my AB card which for some reason I have kept all these years. From what I am gathering there is still alot of confusion with were all the old old files are for mariners. The REC in NOLA says they have several places back in the day where they kept records. Some places they filed a bit of this and a bit of that. Nadine Theodore down in Mandville says she at least knows where to look because I was able to give her exact day and year of issue. The guy at NMC says that I should get copies of [I]shipping orders[/I] from all the ports in Louisiana and Texas where I worked in the eighties (pffT)! I know this is gonna work out good but man if you don’t get on it and stay on it.


sounds to me that you are well on your way to getting your AB back…just three comments:
(1) Nadine Theodore is one of the GOOD “guys”…she has been there awhile…if she is not now in charge of NOLA, she should be!!
(2) “the guy at NMC”…sure hope you are keeping a phone log and taking notes!!
(3) suggest if they don’t have a “record” of your AB…schedule an appointment w/ NOLA and take your card into them to be verified…I believe you will also need your twic to get in to see them.

hope you find this useful…“know the game, play the game but, play nice”…GOOD LUCK!!