We weren’t allowed out in Lagos. But I didn’t feel comfortable going out there, anyway. What a strange place. I never been to Port Harcourt, and I guess its not on my to do list. Nor were we allowed out in Douala, which was a shame. I think Douala has become less safe now, but it wasn’t so bad, then, and the people were so friendly. Cueta is another one of those cities that just looks like a piece of candy that you can’t have. Bunkering is not a good time for shore leave if you’re me.
Unfortunately nowadays many companies will only fly you to and from your designated Point of Origin. If you move than you have to fill out a Point of origin change form and provide proof of your new address. I have actually been threatened with job loss if I try to change my flights in anyway or not show up on the designated flights that they have booked. They have instructed the travel agents to blow the whistle if they get word that we were a no show on a flight. The stance taken by the company is that we are their responsibility until we arrive safely back at our point of origin. So basically they have stripped away any and all ability for us to explore the area we might be working in.
It is an absolute soul Crusher… Honestly not sure I can put up with it any longer. Its sad that these companies can get away with this, but in this depressed oil market, people are just so afraid to lose their jobs they have no choice but to put up with this type of treatment for the sake of their families. I think somewhere along the way, the people in the office forgot that we are infact human beings. Its disgusting and I may have to be the one who takes a stand!
WOW… now that sucks!
Just don’t forget the feedback you heard from some of my former shipmates that we discussed on that trail in korea. Take a stand and the HR/PR machine will go to work on your freinds and shipmates… and many will believe the bs… even some of thenones who cheered you on.
well noted, I really do think we need union representation! not sure where to start on that one though. I can certainly say that the companies aren’t looking out for us these days. We are all pawns.
If you don’t think you can put up with it much longer then you should probably find a different sector of the industry to work in & quit. Nothing is going to change where you are at. If it does, it will be at such a slow pace it won’t be enough to satisfy your itch of wanting to be treated as a mariner & not an oil field worker. Life is too short to be waiting around for someone else to change something for you.
And if you do leave, keep an open mind & don’t try to bring any undesirable habits with you.
Good Advice. I came to the oilfield primarily for the schedule. Which when I started was 3 weeks on 3 weeks off. I was tired of the long hitches I had been doing on Tankers. But you really do give a lot up with your quality of life while at work. I think it was bearable with the 3/3 rotation but now in an effort to save money. Many companies have extended the hitches to 4/5 and even 6 weeks! Which I know for a blue water guy sounds like nothing, but trust me you don’t know how long 6 weeks can feel when you are basically on lockdown! I certainly think your right that the industry is not going to change any time soon. I think if I leave I’m done shipping out for a while. I’ve got small Children and I just want to do something that keeps me home every night. Luckily my wife has gone back to work and she’s doing very well with her career so I’m trying to pay down bills to the point where I don’t need to make as much money as I have been. I just want to feel part of the community again. And not just some guy that comes and go’s all the time. Shipping out is ok when your young and all your friends are young, but things change, people get married have kids, start working. And just because you come home doesn’t mean that their life stops. So you find yourself home alone on the weekdays putttering around the house maybe trying to stay busy with a project but you are alone and not really a part of anything, just a visitor who will ultimately leave again and so the cycle continues. For all you young folks reading this, think long and hard about getting in to this line of work. If I had known then what I know now. I honestly would have went another direction. It’s a lot harder to break free when you’ve got other people to think about besides yourself.
That’s the second best reason I’ve seen for someone leaving the oil patch. The best was “the proliferance of LSU pajama bottoms on the bridge and in the galley”.
Man, my comments could go so many ways on this thread, but I will preface to say that until I came ashore, I never worked in the oil patch, and honestly, I can’t recall ever being restricted to the vessel. Even back in late 79 when we were arrested in Manila and shifted to the anchorage, we still had a free launch in the morning and evening (even if you missed that, you could pay for one for about a buck. . . or so I am told). I have been both to Lagos and Douala a few years back on a claim. I never felt uncomfortable walking around Douala, other than hardly being able to walk more than 1,000 feet without a cab coming over to offer a ride. I was there cooling my heels for a few days (took 5) to get my Nigerian visa. I would never think about walking around outside of any hotel or similar compound in Lagos. Overall, however, I found the people pretty friendly in both places. Abidjan? Well, that is a whole other story. . . .
Shoreleave rights for seaman are not within the context of the typical offshore rotational workers. Most articles are voyage based and not time based. Regardless, for those personnel that may be on drillship for instance, and are rotational, only a few companies will allow shoreleave, and most of the few terminated that allowance after the fatality a few years ago when a returning employee was found in the water near the gangway - deceased. Needless to say, being that those stakeholders decided to keep a non-working vessel manned, they may have been better off cold stacking while facing a $25 million reactivation versus the conversation required in terms of a fatality for a contract that may be easier to attain the other way around. It’s never easy using such situations to “punish” the masses, but if you cannot contract vessels, what masses are we talking about, or how long can you justify having those masses on board and what risk are you willing to take? It’s easier just to keep personnel on board to help justify the reasons of why you even have them in the first place. Not fair, maybe. But, most could care less so long as the equal time remains for theother half of your life which matters most.
Is really spending 4 weeks on a boat without going to the store that hard for some people? Need something from the store get amazon prime and have it delivered in two days. Just don’t let it get too weird. Our office started bithching when they went to insect the packages and started finding pearl ln necklesses and women’s lingerie. You also get access to prime muaic and movies and you can download both to your tablet and phone and that can take care of all you entertainment needs right there.
As for the record I am one of those asshole captains that doesn’t let the deck crew leave the vessel with out an officer present. Been burned a few times in the past and it’s not worth the hassle. Have had too many so called adults not know how the keep their shit together when off the boat.
The only thing to find in a US oil port is trouble
As I had previously mentioned I had worked for an oil major and dealt with Chouest and Harvey Gulf vessels. One of the those occasions was when they were up in Everett, Wa… Aboard one of the Harvey Gulf boats the C/E’s daughter was up there in the Northwest some some reason. It damn near took permission from Shane himself to allow the Chief to see and go out to dinner with his family.
If it is a long tow, a crossing, a standby job or hotel job then no problem, I can do 28 days without leaving the engineroom. But when I worked NY harbor myself or someone else would go to the store every day to get the NY Post, the Daily News, fresh beagles or a pizza. When I worked in the GOM I always enjoyed a good jog while in Aransas Pass, Galveston & Cameron. It wasn’t anything spectacular but even getting off in Fourchon to go to the bait shop for a lottery ticket & a Times Picayune was refreshing. Almost every where else in the world it is unusual for a crew member not to get off every once in a while in safe harbor. Apparently some think mariners should be cooped up without leaving their work area or staterooms for a month even while tied to the dock but I’m willing to bet psychologists & mental health professionals would agree it is healthy to take a short break from your work area whenever possible. I’ve read hundreds of maritime books about our maritime predecessors & it seemed shoreleave was something almost every mariner enjoyed. Some countries have laws against forbidding shoreleave & the IMO addressed the subject in 2006 under the welfare & leave sections. The concept of restricting people to their vessels for their whole contract is a new, unnatural, unhealthy idea IMO. Our maritime grandfathers would be ashamed of us for giving away our rights that mariners have enjoyed since men first went to sea. Shame on anyone who calls themselves a mariner then claims seamen don’t need shore leave.
I don’t know that many people work 4 week sets and can get personal delivery services inside secure facilities like a terminal, even if you know exactly when you’ll be there, which is a big ‘if’. A 4 week set is just not a thing for nearly anyone. Shore leave is more important for people who are out for 5 months or 11 months. People have to send money home, see greenery, visit doctors, All of Life isn’t available on the internet for two day delivery.
If I could draft the perfect answer that the “stakeholders” would want to hear it would be this. Nobody likes it when people die, but accidents happen. Just because someone falls into the water and dies doesn’t constitute a good enough reason in my mind for an entire industry to restrict its workers aboard ship for no other reason than its easier and less liability for them. Perhaps it would be a good time to use all the school shootings happening in the USA and the many people who want to see firearms completely banned in the country because it would maybe help mitigate the shootings. Point being, these type of knee jerk reactions aren’t fair to anyone.
Since you claim to be an asshole I know there’s no point arguing because assholes usually have a lot of unresolved mental issues & it is nearly impossible to reason with them. But I wanted to point out that clicking around on Amazon is not a substitute for a walk on a nice day, a meal at a restaurant with a friend & a face to face conversation with someone you just meet. Historically speaking, shore leave for mariners is right as rain, been going on for thousands of years. Those who think otherwise are the ones who are off kilter.
It amazes me how brainwashed people are becoming. Almost as if these guys are happy to forfeit their freedom if it will assuage the fears of the people in the office. Or perhaps it’s a way to make themselves look better or more willing and subservient in the eyes of their employers. It’s pathetic. If we don’t stand our ground they will keep taking and taking. Seeing how far they can push us. Make no mistake Gentleman, it will only continue to get worse!
It’s a common complaint on gcaptain by a few captains that they are tired of being arm chair quarterbacked by their office & that they are professional mariners & not fastfood restaurant managers. Then the conversation shifts to shore leave & some of the same captains chime in & boast about denying the rights that professional mariners have enjoyed for thousands of years as if their crews are nothing more the 4 week working fastfood restaurant workers. They reap what they sow & the maritime field is lesser for it.