MSC proposed CIVMAR crewing model


I simply can’t understand why this is so hard for MSC to understand. All they gotta do is provide reliefs when a mariner’s time on board is done. If they just did this, even in their current manning model, things would improve exponentially. I know they have enough people - buy my impression is that the detailers just can’t be bothered.


You nailed it. MSC is a little corner of the swamp. There’s no profit motive and no incentive to use common sense and achieve even a modicum of efficiency. People are milling around the pool while sailors are stuck on ships past the end of their hitch and instead of fixing the problem at the source, they react by going off on a tangent that will create a complicated set of new problems.


I mean, two weeks over due is understandable. Three months overdue is inexcusable. I can’t understand why people stick around after the age of 25.


Meh, still waiting for another call for C/Ms that I can get that nice $30k signing bonus for. :grin:


I like my life too much, I guess. Work/life balance and all of that. To old for that crap.


The proposed solution to overdue relief dates seems to be “you can’t be overdue if you aren’t entitled to a relief date” while simultaneously making it mandatory to spend less time at home. The problem lies within both the flawed placement/pool system and also the MSC culture in general. The people who do the minimum 4 month commitment are generally looked down upon by homesteaders who spend years onboard while only taking 2 weeks of leave twice a year.

(After spending 1 month in the pool and 2 months onboard while turning in a relief request for another 2 months later) “What do you mean you want to leave? You just got here!”

I agree that something needs to be done but I believe the pilot program is a step in the wrong direction. It is just one of many reasons I’m looking for work elsewhere but it is not easy to leave a steady paycheck.


“The people who do the minimum 4-month commitment are generally looked down upon by homesteaders …”

I only do the minimum and haven’t noticed that at all.

Can’t speak for West Ships, but the overwhelming majority of Eastern homesteaders live in Norfolk or the surrounding area. Makes sense. Nights, weekends and holidays at home with family when not deployed. I’ve also found that homesteaders have a positive work attitude…and fun to hang with while in foreign ports…cause they’ve done this often and know people, places, stories, experiences and things that what take most of us years to discover. In short, they make deployments FUN.


Good Morning… Just a quick question- do they follow Work/Rest Hour Rules aboard MSC Vessels? Do some of the vessels carry USCG COI’s? Thanks !


To the letter, in my experience. Government owned vessels aren’t subject to federal regulations applicable to civilian vessels (COIs) but, again in my experience, they comply voluntarily.


Thanks Lee.


USMMOfficer, I am in another gov agency, and two of our vessels carry COIs. The goal is to get them all there (eventually). Most of them would not make the grade without significant investment in repairs and modifications, so it’s being done gradually with newbuilds and acquisitions.


“…do they follow Work/Rest Hour Rules aboard MSC Vessels?”

Not during Navy Deck Landing Qualifications or Seal Training Evaluations. Otherwise, Yes.


I’m a retired USN Master Chief doing some brainstorming on crewing models for MSC. Your reply peaked my interest. How does a ship get to 0/8 and 2/13 manning levels when people are supposed to stay onboard until a relief shows up? I served on a T-AGS-21 in the 80’s as part of the mil detachment so my understanding is way out of date…

  • Quit
  • Fired
  • Illness/Injury (real, fake, exaggerated, self inflicted)
  • Family Medical Leave / Red Cross (real, fake, exaggerated)
  • Military duties
  • Promoted
  • Demoted
  • Transfered (same ship, other ship)
  • Documents/training (expired, lost, destroyed)
  • Authorized leave (for training, document renewal, medical, vacation)
  • Other ‘creative’ means.

The trouble is, once the word gets out across the fleet that a certain rate won’t get reliefs in a reasonable amount of time, the chain reaction starts and folks go without a relief one way or another.


In other words, MSC is so poorly led and mismanaged that CIvmars are forced to get creative in order to get off before they go completely batshit crazy.

Name any government run program from NMC to Food Stamps; they are all about the same.


I’ll chime in with my recent experience. I was on a ship and the last fiscal quarter MSC wide they cancelled all overtime. Mind you, at MSC your salary is M-F 8 hours a day, thus you are guaranteed to see at least 16 hours of OT a week for Saturday and Sunday. Because the money ran out, and the work still needed to be done, they forced civmars to comp OT hours to vacation hours. Obviously this isn’t ideal, overtime is earned at time and a half while vacation time is 1:1. Lots of people were angry on this, but I rolled with a punch. I comped all my overtime and decided to go on a long vacation (6 months on the ship, 6 months off). I did not make much on that trip comparatively, but I should be grossing around 75-80k as a 3 A/E for 2018, plenty to support my lifestyle. However, 3 months into my vacation, they want me to come back to the pool for ship assignment. Now having friends in the pool right now, I can tell you that have 20-30 3 A/E’s sitting in the pool waiting for assignment, we’re over manned at that rate. They would rather me come in and wait in a pool (where they pay my base salary, hotel, and a per diem) than let me stay home.

So long story short MSC wants you to work the overtime, not get paid, and then not have the ability to take vacation. During my 6 months aboard I kept track of my total overtime hours, I worked just shy of 2000 total hours this year, in line with the average American worker. If MSC wants to get serious about developing their workforce, they need to find a different crewing model. Quit paying guys 200k a year, but have them sail 10-11 months. It’s not good for anyone. When you work 10-11 months, years on end. It drives people crazy. Guys party harder, throw money around like a sailor, and generally develop habits to help them just get by (Alcohol, hookers, coke).

That being said, I’ll probably head back to work. 75 more sea days and I can apply for Group 2 with MEBA and will test for my 1 A/E Steam & Diesel. I just wished MSC would change their act and learn from the civilian side of sailing. Could be a great place to work, but change is hard, especially for the federal government.


…and have seen it happen…the Captain can pay you off for any reason at any time with or without a relief…good or bad. I was held back twice with a relief on board. Once for 15 days and a second time for 5 days.

While on my last ship, 50 days overdue…the Captain was willing to pay me off without a relief (Good). I declined the offer and waited for a relief. Some people don’t have a choice. When the Master says leave…you go (Bad).


Don’t the contract vessels (TOTE, Maersk, Sealift) already use Filipinos, Kenyans and Ukranians to fill positions that should be filled by American sailors?


Proper relief is still an issue with MSC eh? Break out the Crayolas and color me shocked.

Back at SUNY a real moron from MSC nicknamed “King George” who was interviewing prospective mates and engineers for hire was coming right out and asking us if we planned on sticking around 20-30 years since “for some reason we have retention issues, and this must stop.”

They need to learn from the civilian side of the aisle… their stupidity is painful.


Wow…thank you so much for the response. I get the sense from your response that the problem is rating specific and that it snowballs.

So I’m thinking there are two basic solutions possible:

  1. buy more inventory of CIVMARs. Right now they buy just over 1 shore inventory for every 5 positions at sea (22% is the exact ratio). A larger inventory in the pool ashore might help?
  2. reduce the unplanned losses and improve relief assignment through improved performance of shore support staff?

How would you fix?

BTW, just got notified that as a new user, I can’t do more than 3 replies on this topic so I’ll respond to new information by adding to previous replies