Suicide Aboard USNS Amelia Earhart

Post-pandemic? Don’t we wish.


You’re right.

How much of that 6 months was stuck at the dock in their home port watching covid laden Navy and vendors come and go freely

Would you kill yourself over that? Rest of the crew saw the same or similar things, they are still alive.

Underlying mental health issues combined with the pandemic issues of getting relieved/ gangway up order was probably enough to push this person over the edge.

Then again, it could be totally unrelated to gangway up/relief issues. Could have been another work place issue…or some bad news from home. We’ll never know for sure sadly.


While the link to the forum thread below doesn’t really shed any light on the reasons people/mariners kill themselves it does remind us that mariners were killing themselves long before Covid19 & being forced to work over. I sailed on a ship where a former client killed himself by jumping overboard in the far Southern Atlantic. I worked with a Chief Mate who discussed killing himself & we canceled the vessels schedule to get him ashore asap. I worked at an OSV company where 2 CEs hanged themselves in the engine rooms over the years. Blame Covid19, the guys office or the gun if you want but there’s no logical excuse to kill yourself & the only reason would be mental illness.

1 Like

You never know what’s going on at home with anybody, whether they’ve been on 6 months or 6 days.


I’ve never been on a ship where someone has killed themselves, but know people who have, one person told me that they were on a ship around 6 months into a 12 month trip an AB got a message that his fiancée had married another man, they were in heavy weather, the guy I know was on watch and he saw the AB walk up to the forecastle and jump over the side, they never found him.

1 Like

Bad news from home at sea sucks but is part of the job, same with getting a hitch extended underway, but being stuck on board in a US port for ??? months, getting bad news from family a couple miles away but out of reach or whatever has to be a real brain fuck. Gangway up for just civmars sounds horrible. You never know about an individual case though and sounds like this ship has been underway working and doing stuff?

1 Like

I have been on 2 vessels where there were suicides. Both were 20something men

Agree New3M, as I stated in a prior post, something else other than MSC gangway up was going on. Home pressures, ship problems, money problems, Spouse problems, and the list could go on and on. I am always sad to hear things of this nature. A dear friend and classmate of my wife who was very successful was found hanging in her closet. Her father did the same thing years before. Never quite got a grip on that. Nor found out what awful reasons for their demise.

Always has been part of the job. You loose sleep for a few nights, you get knocked around in some heavy weather, you cry to yourself watching sunset. Sucks but you get through it.

We are realists… we understand how big the ocean is and how insignificant we are in the world. We understand how to take care of ourselves. For that reasons sailors typically have lower suicide rates than our peers.

But that’s not reality anymore. Many of us went to sea to get away from shitty home situations. I know I did. But today with internet and cheap voip the shit from home follows you. There is no way to escape it anymore. Even if you unplug your shipmates are still online and pass shit information.

And for this reason there has been a HUGE increase in the number of suicides at sea the past few years.

So don’t say “that’s part of the job” or “just get through it”… that’s not possible when the shit follows you everywhere you go.

It’s difficult for me to relate too… I was able to escape. But these young guys are a LOT more connected to those ashore than we ever were… even if they don’t want to be.

It’s a brave new world.


Maybe we are digging with the wrong foot. We would not have to deal with this is America didn’t constantly having to be on a war footing… Bring our armed forces home. We suck as a super power and are going broke doing it, badly and wrong.

1 Like

Its very sad, and who knows what demons this person was dealing with. MSC will say sympathy for the family, we will then have to do a suicide prevention stand down.

Maybe. So far all they have done is sweep it under the rug.

The guys I’ve talked with say msc haven’t provided any guidance to the fleet and the suicide resources the navy provides “aren’t even up and running anymore”.

1 Like

I am both surprised and not surprised by that. On the active duty side there is a bevy of resources for suicide prevention/aftermath. Those personnel on active duty assigned to MSC would be well aware of that. As to how that translates to CIVMARs, no idea. I suppose if I were a mariner advocate I would reach out to the Navy’s 21st Century Sailor Office which manages the program,, or even to the director himself, Rear Admiral (select) Putnam Browne…

1 Like

Don’t know if MSC ships are regarded as Merchant or Navy ships by the Sailors’ Society, so this may not be relevant:

1 Like

MSC is within a short grasp to be that great employer. Pay, job security, advancement opportunities, training; etc. are pretty damn good. One of their major downfalls is they are permanently stuck in the dark ages when it comes to time off and crew rotations. Why they continue to refuse to follow the commercial industry in time off is baffling. We are operating the vessels with, reduced crews, all the documentation and STCW requirements as our commercial counterparts, even the ex-USN AE/AFS that did not have the COI. In some areas of operation the port times are comparable to a box boat; “load-and go”, more so in that CTF 53 meat grinder.

A vacation schedule to somewhat mirror the industry and to satisfy the MSC requirements would be a step in the right direction. The day you sign on you know the day you will sign off, and you GET off. To make it work vacation commiserate to the position and vessel OPTEMPO is a must have. But I think that ship sailed a long time ago. Staying to long on a ship (even pre CV-19) is not healthy all around, more so as we all get older. Concur, a stressed (and tired) workforce will never be safe and efficient. The recent incidents do bear this out.

MSC would bitch about the cost, but how much money are they now spending annually in lodging and subsistence in East and West Coast Pools? I think in San Diego 2-3 tour buses at $400 day are used to transport to and from the pool. How much is paid annually in overdue awards? Would MSC rather pay salaries to be working instead of sitting around in SD or NOB web surfing? Redirecting theses funds to increased vacation would be a start, although more funding would be required to make it work but long term it could cost MSC less.

As I’ve mentioned MSC would site costs as the show stopper and protest no money available but what would be aggravating is funds would be “found” to repair that recently charred Big Deck in San Diego.


I wonder how much each of the (four?) recent deaths have/will cost. They would never admit to calculating how many mariners they could lose until the life insurance payouts and lawsuits cost them more than hiring enough mariners to relieve people on time, but I bet they have a number. Theoretically, they should be able to say something like, “Mariner safety is in the direct interest of the national defense, we need more funding to take care of our mariners as is evidenced by the disturbing increase in mariner deaths”. Of course if someone is making that argument, as they should, I haven’t heard anything about it.

Many life insurance policies don’t payout if the death was a suicide.