Redline Incentive? Is there even one?

I’ve only had my timesheet redlined a few times in my short unlicensed maritime career and it’s only been from 2 different department heads. I’m not greedy, I don’t milk the clock, and I don’t get creative with any claims so it’s always been a bizarre occurrence to me. My question is: What is a department head’s incentive to clearly misinterpret a contract? I can file a grievance with my union (last trip anyways) but I shouldn’t have to do that. I’ve never been offered any clarity on whether it’s on account of the way a company structures their bonuses or if it’s to gain company favor for a promotion/meet a labor budget. If its the former wouldn’t that be considered payroll fraud? If it’s the latter - isn’t there a shortage of senior officers already? It happens on the poorly managed ships that already can’t retain licensed or unlicensed personnel. The labor/time management issues seem to stem from equal parts company bungling and inept/unaware officers.

I have not heard of specific bonuses… Rumors, of course, but never proven I know of.

A large part of this is that they get harassed by their bosses shoreside—some of it ego and control; even if the office is not pushing it. Some guys get a kick out of making others suffer.

I have also had to redline guys, primarily for self-assigning work. I rarely actually saw lies. Most people were honest. Some would try to do jobs that they knew paid the penalty I told them not to do rather than the tasks I needed to be done. That was always a bit of a pickle for me. I had to explain to them, yes, sweeping the deck or painting is a penalty task, but I told you to do other tasks.

I am honest and stick to the contract, and I should be paid. If you’re honest and stick to the contract, so should anyone

Gcaptain recently wrote an article comparing us to the gain in airline pay. We seriously need to catch up to the rest of the U.S. market for similar industries and stop penny-pinching.

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There is an incentive to stay within budget but redlining OT is not the way to do it.

Sure, if a crewmember writes in 8 hrs OT because Easter fell on a Sunday this year just redliine that and let them go see the bos’n for an explanation.

In the case of working a couple hours of OT that wasn’t authorized sometimes it’s better to just pay it and a give the 'don’t let it happen again" lecture.

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As K.C. said there is an incentive and expectation to stay within budget. I have not seen that corollate into redlining OT. My job as department head was to work within the contract(s) as written, not what they wanted it to be, or sometimes what it used to be.
Unfortunately, you haven’t mentioned what contract you work under or under what circumstances your dispute arose.

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This is spot on. My canned answer to anyone who wished to argue if I denied the claimed overtime was “if you can show me in the contract where it is payable, I will pay it.” The majority have very little understanding of the contract yet are convinced otherwise.

To the OP. Most senior officers are just doing their job and keeping an eye on the budget. They are responsible for keeping their department within the budget. Work being performed without the explicit direction of the department head will always be questioned and possibly denied. We all want to get work done, but it should be the work that the department head deems a priority to do. There is very little overtime on ships that is self assigned. Another thing to remember is that there is a difference between contractual overtime and optional overtime. Contractual is stuff like docking, pre-departure tests, etc. Optional OT is the maintenance and painting items. When it can be afforded within budget, it is offered.

What never sat right with me as a Chief Mate was correcting someone’s OT sheet where they shorted themselves 2 hours of OT for something, but having to redline 1 hour of something else that was simply not payable and then being argued with about it. I obviously am not trying to screw you over if I gave you 2 hours that you didn’t put in for and you still have a net gain of 1 hour that you didn’t have before submitting the sheet! You get pretty callused over the years with stuff like that.


You put what I was trying to write much better than I did. Thanks.

The other thing to keep in mind, though, is the people who will spend the time to write out a thoughtful response here are usually not the same guys who are redlining lots of actually payable things and trying to screw a guy that sticks to the contract.

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Good responses. The overtime that I’ve had redlined was never overtime that was labored. It’s been contractual stuff like minimum call-out hours, through hours, and penalties for various crap. I typically don’t write stuff in that is even a little questionable. The wake me up every other hour for 7 rest hours is what gets me. It’s pretty clear to understand the contract on that stuff. Steal my money and ask me to commit federal fraud withy stcw hours. Annoying enough to make me switch unions.

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Had one CM at MLL who deliberately screwed with people’s OT because he was just a giant prick 24/7. It was so bad that when he went home the returning CM looked at my sheets and said “whoa… this guy really fucked you good.” He had me write in extra hours for the next trip to make up for it and the Master told the office not to send the other guy back to his ship again.

He was on his hands and knees begging and doing whatever he could for a master’s spot and never got one — thank God. Guess he figured that, among other things, being a budget hero was a sure fire way to advance.

Douchebag left to become a Chesapeake Pilot I think… good riddance.


Where was he about a week ago?