Mariners direct ownership in shipping companies

Manning of vessels is an issue. Do you think it would incentivize, retain, and attract mariners to continue shipping if they had the option to buy into a fractional ownership of a company they worked with? This is outside of common or preferred stocks, we are talking about being a true owner of the company.

I have no interest in being a fractional owner. Sounds like it could get unnecessarily complicated, and would enable companies another way to have leverage over and/or take advantage of a mariner.

Just pay mariners what they are worth and don’t treat them like an inconvenience that you have to deal with when it comes to operating vessels.


I hear you on paying us what we are worth, and this seems to be on the downward trend so I was brainstorming ideas on how to take that power back.

Didn’t MEBA at one time have their own container ship? Or maybe it was AMO when it was district 2? Maybe one of the older folks can expand on that, but that’s probably as close as you could get or have gotten to a Mariner direct ownership.

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It was a topic of discussion before. It was NOT the money maker they had hoped.


This is great insight, I did not know about this. if anyone has further info on this about MEBA, please post it.

What I was thinking was more of the use of emerging tech for fractional ownership. DLT or blockchain technology can be used to leverage the value of the ships to make the assets/ships owned by a community or pool of people (mariners) and yes, it is a big jump but this is possible, it is being done with properties (both residential and commercial).

And yes, Maersk and IBM DID try this with to an extent with Tradelens but they went about it in the wrong way. They built this without taking a community into account and tried to make this an elitist platform, which obviously failed. But, where they failed, lessons can be learned to make the future better for everyone else.


Are you suggesting crew having a % or share type ownership in the vessel, or the registered owning company or having a stake in the cargo?

Thank you for your comment. I am saying that the crew have stake in the vessel itself and a % ownership in the revenue it brings in, to start with a future ability to invest more capital into the vessel(s). this will be done through the use of smart contract technology and what is called “tokenization of assets” you can read more about this here. This can (and currently is) being done with many assets (i.e - art, houses, cars, etc). The more people we get to understand this concept, the more power we will have as a collective community. Please share this far and wide. Asset Tokens & Fractional Ownership · sherminvo/TokenEconomyBook Wiki · GitHub

I worked for a venture with 3 boats that was structured that way and I’m currently looking at investing in a business also set up that way that owns the same number of high-end apartment complexes. It should work with a ship, especially if you had the advantage of vested crews operating it.

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I walked onto the Delaware Bay as a night mate back in the early 2000’s and everybody was wearing boiler suits that had the MEBA logo on them. I was confused AF and had no idea who was what billet… in addition to the normal green 3rd Mate confusion. The two ships were the Chesapeake Bay and Delaware Bay. I cant recall the chain of ownership…this was also very confusing. Lykes, Farrell, MEBA, Maersk and something in between. I need a coffee and to get out of my office. .

Interesting, tell me more about how the business you are investing in is structured, is this smart contract based?

To be clear I’m a novice and I’m not familiar with smart contracts. I got interested in buying shares in a portfolio of 3 buildings because I was impressed with the team that manages one of them that has a marina attached. Unfortunately, the principal passed away in mid-December when he crashed his Pilatus PC 12 so I’m back to square one.
Since I’m just getting my toes wet, I’m looking to start with a small venture in an area in which I have some interest and knowledge such as maritime, real estate or aviation.

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I’ve never liked employee ownership schemes for a couple different reasons. For one thing, most employees are working the jobs that they’re working because they like knowing exactly how much money they’re going to get paid and exactly how often. If they wanted to be on the ownership side then they’d be entrepreneurs. Ownership comes with all sorts of different risks and responsibilities that the average employee doesn’t really want, which brings me to my second point: I only ever recall hearing about employee ownership schemes that talk about things like profit sharing, but what about the other side of that equation?

The right to profits should come with a duty to the losses too. If you want to talk about being an “owner” then that means coughing up the difference in the down years, and taking all of the other responsibility and liability that comes with ownership. If all you want is a cut of the dough on the up years then you’re just an employee looking for a bonus, not an “owner”.

I can only speak for myself, but for me personally and employee-ownership scheme at a company would not entice me to work for one business over another, in fact it might do the opposite.


Ship ownership is usually structured similar to commercial real estate.

Often it will be a limited partnership with one LLC as the general partner that operates the ship, and a number of other LLCs as limited partners.

Employee ownership might be structured as shares in one of the limited partner LLCs. Generally speaking, employees would have no liability for any losses.

I can imagine some interesting legal questions arising if the Master of the ship is also a member of one of the limited partner LLCs.

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Master/Owner (or part-owner) is not unusual in Europe still, although fewer than in earlier times.
In Denmark there are many cases were the ship is owned by a “Kommanditselskap” (Limited Partnership) and the Master is one of the Partners.

This apply mainly to smaller ships in short sea trade, but is not limited to any specific ship type, or trade. (I remember one 299 GT cargo ship operating between Australia and PNG, where the Master was part owner)

PS> Similar arrangements exists in Germany, The Netherlands and probably other European countries


There are very many owner/operator small passenger vessels and a few tugs in the USA.

I don’t see any issue if the Master is a Generak partner.

One of the legal issues I was thinking of is that if the Master is part of an employee group that is a Limited Partnership, that a court might find the Limited Partnership is really a General Partner because it’s exercising operational control.

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I do. For certain matters, including limitation of liability, “privity or knowledge of the owner” is an issue. If the Master is among the “owners” it might create additonal liabilities for the owner(s0>

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Yes, I agree. I was posting to hastily while traveling

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AHL Shipping had an ESOP that was presented as fractional ownership until they were forced to admit it was just an ESOP. At the time AHL was saving their centavos to build their sketchy Frankentankers. As ownership of the company was pretty sketchy early on, (MMP were owners and reps at one point until forced to bow out by the .gov
ESOP and fractional ownership are pretty good scams if your business model is to make hay while the sun shines until it’s time to ride the company into the ground like Slim Pickens in Dr. Strangelove.

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