At the end of last year, I came up to renewal time once again. The whole process was a nightmare from the beginning, as I started off by forgetting part of what needed sent in to the REC in New Orleans. After a long period of waiting, I contacted them, and was told what went wrong. I then emailed in the missing documents, and headed out to work. It wasn’t until I called them, again, a couple of weeks later that I found out that they had not recieved my email. Now, of course, everything is shutting down for Thanksgiving. As another two weeks go by, New Orleans finally receives, and acknowledges all of my paperwork.
Now it goes to NMC, and life doesn’t get much easier. I call and speak with them, and find that the sea service letter I had sent in, a letter from the company in Aberdeen that I was contracted to, was insufficient, stating only that “Dave worked on this ship, in these waters, during that period”. NMC informs me that I need to include the GRT, Official Number, and so on with the sea service. So I download the USCG sea service form, from the USCG website, fill it out, (by hand, because the website wouldn’t let me fill it out online), scan it, email it off to the auld boss in Scotland, who signs and stamps it, and scans it and emails it back. I then call NMC, they say they are happy to accept an emailed copy of it. I think, “Whew, job done” and fire it off.
I then call them yet again, and am informed that in fact the USCG sea service form, as downloaded from the USCG website is not the proper form to be used when documenting time over 200 GRT. Obviously, there was no statement of this fact on the form, or associated webpage. I then ask them what precisely is required, and they tell me they need an actual letter from the company, and the evaluator is kind enough to email me a link to an example. I did ask what information was contained in the letter that was not on the form. Can you guess the answer.?
Having been driven quite mad by this point, I did finally get the letter written, flashed from my desk to Aberdeen, back and off to NMC, closely followed by a Fedex envelope. Once all the boxes were ticked off, they were very quick to issue and send my stuff. As an aside, I was at that time not aware that they had gone to the new book, so you can imagine my reaction when I opened the Fedex envelope and there was no “Ticket” in there!