Midshipman X Union Statements

We just recieved this statement from MEBA Union:

The allegations brought forward by a USMMA cadet are deeply troubling and should be taken seriously. M.E.B.A. believes sexual assault and sexual harassment is unacceptable in any context and will not be tolerated. M.E.B.A. fully supports a thorough, independent investigation into the matter and is cooperating with the Company regarding such investigation. M.E.B.A. is committed to working with its partners to ensure that our vessels are safe and respectful for all employees.

Adam Vokac
Marine Engineers’ Beneficial Association



But wouldn’t the C/E and 1ST have been MEBA?
Also I’m unclear if the two junior engineers, refers to unlicensed or to the 2nd and 3rd.

All the ship’s engineers belong to the MEBA. The engineers you reference as “junior engineers” are the 2nd and 3rd Assistants.

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Yes and the Captain (who Maersk also suspended) is MM&P.


Although late, these actions are certainly warranted. And there should certainly be an thorough investigation.


During my 39 years as a licensed commercial mariner I often observed that alcohol abuse was the common element in bad things that happened on a ship; fights, injuries, poor job performance, etc. Pre-OPA90 the abuse was often overlooked by Captains, Chiefs and even Office Staff but post OPA90 and with the current rules in effect there is NO excuse to allow or permit alcohol aboard. During the many years I sailed as Master I believe I had an open door for the crew to bring any issues, I fervently hope that my own perception about that was correct. Those two issues are fundamental to keeping everyone safe at sea.


When I sailed with Maersk as master, THERE WAS A CULTURE about alcohol on the ships. Although the corporate line was “no alcohol”, there was a knowing “smile & nod” about it. I’d hope in the intervening 20 years, that it would have dissipated and disappear. Apparently it hasn’t. Having a “dry” ship took balls. I was much happier leaving M & sailing at lower levels and just minding my own business.


I wasn’t going to post about this because I sailed only on one Maersk ship but the unwritten policy on that ship matched what you reported: ‘Don’t ask don’t tell’.
One night, while we were moored in a South American port, the bosun was found cavorting in the cab of the big deck crane with a local woman and a bottle. He wasn’t fired. It was well known by all on board that both he and the electrician kept stashes of liquor in their rooms.


9 posts were split to a new topic: Shipboard Alcohol Policy

With regards to the MEBA, they don’t really have a dog in this fight .AFAIK It’s Maersk that selects the Chief and 1st A/E. I wouldn’t think that the union would have any obligation to help defend against federal charges. That’s one reason some unions reimburse for license insurance.

The captain might be a different case as that would presumably would be failure to enforce company policy,

Alleged of course, as required.

MM&P just released a statement.


I agree in that if the captain does not enforce company policies, or worse allows blatant and open disregard of those policies there will be problems.

Hey, how did this post devolve into alcohol being the problem? I’m voting on rape being the problem. Was alcohol a contributing factor in this assault? Yes. BUT…rapists are going to use anything to have power over their victims. If the Midshipman had not been drunk, it would have been another situation where he got her alone. He had keys to her room, people. He was her supervisor. Alcohol just made his job easier and the other engineers on hand, that did not speak up, they also made it easier.
I’d love to see you folks spend as much time talking about the asshats you’ve sailed with that you have overhead speaking inappropriately, or demonstrating even worse behavior.
Because I’m willing to bet that most of those statements or actions were “against policy”, too, and yet you don’t seem to be mentioning it. How are you ok with them representing our profession?
Guys, we can’t do this without you. Start a real conversation, no matter how uncomfortable, if you are tired of sailing with misogynists, bullies, and yes, rapists.


I think alcohol was more than a contributing factor. I think it was the enabling factor. I am not convinced the 1st had already made up his mind to rape the cadet at some point during her time aboard.


" The 1st Assistant Engineer, a man in his 60’s, often made derogatory comments about women and told me early in the trip that “ you should know your place, and it ain’t out here. A woman’s place is in the home .” The 1st was my supervisor and the 2nd in command of the engine department, and I was afraid of him. He was creepy, made romantic passes at me and made crude and demeaning comments about me in front of other members of the engine department."

Do you think he only made those comments to her alone? Do you not think he shared his view with his shipmates? The kind of pervasive misogynistic BS is what leads to a culture where it becomes ok to push young midshipmen to drink. And it becomes ok to treat the woman as less than, because you know, she doesn’t belong out there.

And I give zero effs about when he decided to rape her. He was always going to rape her, alcohol or not.

So, given that, what can YOU do? It is a lot easier to sit here and tsk tsk the abuse of alcohol than it is to say directly to a shipmate, “Hey, we don’t say that.” or “That’s a bunch of bullshit, First”, or “We don’t need to get these guys drunk, let them be.”, or “I’m not comfortable with this.” And if your reaction to that is anything other than, “Hell yeah”, you’re part of the problem.


I always knew it wouldn’t be an issue until it came to cadets. When I talked about things people said I was a troublemaker even and especially other females in the industry even especially female deckies who have a whole different experience even especially the HR ladies in the office it doesn’t matter if it’s a minority unlicensed :fu:


Apparently the U.S. Coast Guard has done a good job at stamping out assaults aboard Coast Guard cutter‘s (but obviously a poor job on commercial ships). I talked to a person who helped develop the program they use.

He said, looking back, the biggest demographic they had trouble stamping out was “nice guy” predators who premeditated their crimes. Often this type of predator would be really nice to his shipmates but would mercilessly harass a single individual. Sometimes even when the guy had significant evidence against him he would get protected because everyone thought he was “so nice”.

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I really hope the results of whatever investigation is done by the authorities is made public and not fade from view as people’s attention moves to the next headline. That said, someone’s misogynistic BS is not ipso facto that he is actively planning a rape. No more than someone using the “N” word is actively planning a lynching. Perhaps not quite an apples to apples analogy but close enough to be in the same basket. BTW, I do not consider either verbiage acceptable.

Would I have expected someone to have come down on this guys behavior (pre incident)? Yeah, the Chief in particular, or the Captain if he was aware. I reiterate my belief that alcohol was an enabling factor in this incident. Nor do I fault the victim.


By the way the blog sounds it, it would lead one to believe that purposely trying to get someone drunk that doesn’t drink is something these people were well adept at…but I’ll take the industry stance and say she is a troublemaker for bringing it up. What a troublemaker seems she had a hard time getting along with the first and the people on board. Obviously she has problems with rank and hierarchy. And the 1st engineer, he is needed! Way more important than a cadet! He knows the ship and that engine! He is a genius! No other can come close to his genius mind to get the ship to work like the other hundreds of ships on the water with engineers with engineering licenses just like his.

Your sarcasm is noted. Keep in mind the “Minority Report” (movie reference) is not real life…yet.