MSC proposed CIVMAR crewing model


We got wind of this on our ship maybe a week or two ago. I haven’t heard anyone say anything good about this pilot program. There is obviously a problem with work rotations at MSC, but I’m 100% sure this Admiral isn’t the guy who will solve it.


I current work on a ship where there are no OSs (Ship rates 8) and, if you don’t count the Carpenter and Fire Marshall, there or only two deck ABs on board (Deck rates 13 ABs). While this provides for almost unlimited overtime, I am overworked and on the edge of hating my Job. I’m an old man. Not a young Navy recruit that can work in these conditions for two years.

My back, knees, hands, feet, shoulders, neck, arms, legs, ankles, hips, head, etc., hurt. I need a long break and cannot imagine doing this for more than 5-6 months without time off. I’d be DEAD.

If this goes through I’m quitting and joining SIU or SUP…to…uhm…save my body, mind, soul…and mostly my life.


MSC has always suffered from the lack of adequate relief, and extremely long hitches. Basically this program seems to be doing the following

  1. you sign on for 12 months hitches with leave and training approved by the vessel master.

How many months are you required to work? before being entitled to leave/vacation? In the past 4 months entitled you to 15 days, with travel permitted to twice per year, then 6 month hitches? How much vacation time?

MSC has long hitches due to deployment and lack of relief, maybe this is trying to make official what is already a practice.

I have always been a fan of even time, 60/60 75/75 120/120 ; keeps the mind sane


The pilot program is 12 months, but the goal is 24-month assignments. They’ve waived the four-month minimum between leave periods, but it says nothing about changing what constitutes “Ship’s Funded Leave”. I believe SFL is currently limited to a maximum of 30 days, inclusive of training requirements. That doesn’t make for much time at home.


No one wants to suffer in silence for two years stuck with a hated crew or ship or a Captain that plays God/ Favortism with vacation/leave.


From what I’ve heard the problem is, at least partly, that it’s a federal job and there are federal rules that specify exactly how much paid time off any federal employee earns per day worked. There is no exception for CIVMARS and you’d have a hard time convincing any office dwebes in Washington DC that there should be one.


Technically the shore leave portion of our leave is extra from other government employees. It takes an act of congress though. Now days MSC lets you take 2 months after each ship. My opinion is they really need to change the overdue policy because $25 a day is nothing make it an extra day of leave and you will find very few people are overdue after that


Are there foreign articles with MSC? I’d have to imagine no, what with their Navy similarities and talks of favoritism and whims of the Master. Two years would have to be a record in modern times if there are.


Not office types. Far worse… Congress.


Federal employees can get in their cars and head home at the end of the day and have weekends and holidays off. That’s kind of impossible to do stuck on a ship in and out of Djibouti for two years. Yes, we can get the time off, if it doesn’t interfere with operational (Whims of the Master) requirements. Just watching Norfolk homed CIVMARs denied a couple of days off while the ship is docked in Norfolk is very disturbing.


When MSC cannot find crew willing to do two year hitches with very little time off, Congress will try to use “no American wants the job” as an excuse to allow MSC to start replacing American mariners with our cheap Filipino and Ukrainian “allies.”


Not if they want to be re-elected.


B.S. Every CIVMAR has to have a clearance… with more than a few holding higher than Secret.


I know many guys who sailed with them for 1 year plus, 14 months or so. 2 years is not that far off ; I couldn’t do it, but right out of school I would have considered it.


The problems are not just the 2-year assignment. Some ships pay considerably more than others. Some have clicks that get the best jobs and the best opportunities for additional pay. So who wants to be stuck on a ship that works you like a mule and pay pennies. If I don’t like a ship because of lousy pay, poor conditions, poor leadership and lack of opportunities, then I know that relief from undesirable conditions is just a few weeks away. Put me on a ship that pays well and has a good crew then I’ll stay as long as allowed. Most of us sail to make money. Not to sit in our rooms, barred from spending the day with the family who is sitting at home a few miles away. Then have to put up with that for years at a time counting pennies until the next paycheck.


Looks like this project has stalled.


Are you sure? Just got this today:

From Commander, Military Sealift Command

Mariner Manning Pilot

The MSC Voyage Plan, our roadmap for moving the command in the right direction, includes a focus on harnessing and developing a diverse, capable and talented workforce. A supporting effort is cultivating a proper work-life balance, ensuring our workforce has enough time to take care of the business of life.

When talking with our civilian mariners the number one concern I hear is overdue reliefs. It frankly dominates the conversation when visiting our ships around the globe. In addition to this direct feedback, I have serious concerns about whether the current crewing model provides enough time to train, plan life events, and to recuperate so that each mariner is able to approach his or her job with focus and energy.

Under the current model, 23 Marine Placement Specialists manage ship rotation actions for a population of over 5,600 mariners, each of whom have a unique rotation timetable and schedule requirements. The ratio of detailer to customer support combined with the variability of four-month rotations creates an unlimited number of potential transactions and results in a significant manning model challenge. Clearly, our mariners are underserved by this process.

In an effort to respond to the concerns of our mariners and to improve how our crews train and operate, we are implementing a mariner manning pilot program for our government-operated ships.

For this crewing pilot, USNS JOSHUA HUMPHREYS and USNS PECOS will serve as our test platforms, with the goal for each ship to function independently of Marine Placement Specialists ashore. During the pilot set to begin this summer, crewmembers will be assigned to a ship for a period of 12 months and all funded leave and training will be managed by the ship’s Master.

I believe the decentralized management of a ship’s crew and return to the same ship after taking leave will build unit cohesion leading to a more effective team and simultaneously provide opportunities for improved work-life balance.

Adding mariners to the pipeline is not the only option for solving our manning challenges. We must figure out new processes to more effectively and efficiently place mariners on our ships and manage the overall manning process. The new maritime environment demands a modern and collaborative approach to employing and developing our talented afloat workforce.

Let me close by saying we don’t know that the pilot program will yield better results. But we do know that if we do nothing, we will continue to produce the same unacceptable results in the manning of our ships. We do pilot programs to see what might be achievable and what might help us realize something greater than the status quo. I look forward to your thoughtful feedback on this program as well as constructive ideas on how to improve our manning model to better support the joint warfighter, operate in the new maritime, and improve civilian mariner work-life balance.

United We Sail,

Rear Adm. Dee L. Mewbourne, USN
Commander, Military Sealift Command


That plan, which has stalled and probably will not happen now, lacks a great deal of imagination. Untimely relief is preferred over giving up control to the Master for 2 years.

One could always do what bold ones do. Walk off the ship, and report back to the pool for another assignment after vacation.

Step 1. Marine Placement Specialists should be Mariners. (Nuff said).


“take care of the business of life” “ enough time to train, plan life events, and to recuperate”.
Fuck this guy. Sounds like he really gives a shit about his mariners.


Sounds like they want to run people out. Think about it. Does this not sound like they want the older cohort to toss in the towel and retire?