For the MOST part, the times of cargo ships being in port for DAYS is over. 14-24 hours… depending on load/discharge figures. I’m sure others will have different input, but that is my experience. Time off also depends on watch standing duties and if time allows outside of repairs and other duties.
Nowadays you are onboard to do a job and that job is frequently done at all hours of the night, with random regulatory inspections and audits when in port, repairs, stores, bunkering, crew changes, training, meetings, and the always popular; emergencies…
You basically just want to curl up in a ball, watch or read something funny, and go to bed.
At least that has been my experience over a couple decades in this trade. Sorry it isn’t more glamorous.
Engineers aboard Commercial Liner Service ships- like Car Carriers and Containerships- don’t get to see much of port- between bunkering, main engine maintenance, repairs- I didn’t get ashore much; especially in Europe. Stateside- always an inspection or class survey thrown into the mix, in addition to repairs and etc…Generally, I wrote off going ashore during my rotations as C/E. On occasion we would get a “time reset” in the schedule and get two or three days- but this was very rare, most of the time we slowed down.
Don’t do it. Go look out the window instead. Also, in US ports they usually get night mates to do whatever it is that they do in port and can go ashore (container/roro ships…probably not tankers).
True words. The massive disparity in job stress and physical abuse between the two “officer” job functions is pretty amazing, if one takes a step back to observe from afar. Perhaps in the future one group will be compensated greater.
In the deck department, unlicensed crew can be either watchstanders or dayworkers. The larger the crew such as on supply ships, the more day workers there will be. If the ship is in port at night and the captain allows it, they can go ashore. Keep in mind that ashore doesn’t necessarily mean a chance to go sightseeing or go party. The ship may be moored at a naval base or in a remote place.
Except for the captain, deck officers with few exceptions stand watches so it allows them fewer opportunities.
I’ll let someone from the engineering side speak for that department.
If this isn’t too far off topic most mariners just go ashore for a break from shipboard life. There are exceptions of course but most are not tourists.
Their minds are of the stay-at-home order, and their home is always with them - the ship; and so is their country - the sea. One ship is very much like another, and the sea is always the same. In the immutability of their surroundings the foreign shores, the foreign faces, the changing immensity of life, glide past, veiled not by a sense of mystery but by a slightly disdainful ignorance; for there is nothing mysterious to a seaman unless it be the sea itself, which is the mistress of his existence and as inscrutable as Destiny. For the rest, after his hours of work, a casual stroll or a casual spree on shore suffices to unfold for him the secret of a whole continent, and generally he finds the secret not worth knowing. The yarns of seamen have a direct simplicity, the whole meaning of which lies within the shell of a cracked nut.”
For the last 30 years, most engineers don’t stand watch or nap, they do day work…lots of work. And then do even more work in port changing big heavy parts on these things called diesel engines that eat spares. It’s done with fewer unlicensed than in the past, maybe 1-2 at most. Engine dept staff sizes have shrunk over the years, but the amount of work done has increased. Steam ships don’t require as much heavy maintenance.
I don’t see mates expected to do daily physical labor with their job duties.
The only real opportunity to go ashore nowadays comes with MSC, MSC conmar ships(prepo) or grain ships. My last 3 trips commercial I had 6 hours off a car ship that was lucky enough to be in Italy on a no work day, 2 hours off a different car ship to hit the duty free in Jebel and 4 hours off a boxship in Bremerhaven. Each time I sacrificed much needed sleep to get ashore.