The DP conundrum

Good day all,

I was wondering if I might pick some brains reagrfing the DP catch 22? I’m a newly qualified 3rd Mate about to embark my first vessel (one of the very large boxboats) as a culpable member of the deck department. I am hired as a UK seafarer but am also norwegian, and live in norway. Because of this I am obviously interested in landing a job with Norwegian terms in the next couple of years, most of which require DP Advanced as a bare minimun for passing through the door…

My question is if anyone has any bright ideas about how to go about getting a DP certification without necessarily going through a company? Seems to me that there is a classic catch 22 in play here. Sure I can pay my way through DP Basic, but then I need 30 days DP time onboard ti qualify for the DP Advanced course, something I can’t get without already having my DP cert (etc etc).

It has crossed my mind to try and petition companies to have me onboard for a swing as a supernumary/guest/trainee etc at basically my own cost whilst taking some hours under supervision on the desk every day, but feel like there would be MLC concerns regarding that?

I feel a bit like my back is up against the wall and in no time at all I will be mr boxboat with no marketable experience to go anywhere else.

Any insights at all would be useful.

Fair weather to all,

complain, complain, complain…at least you have a job where you are getting to use your license. that is alot more than many here are able to say

btw, what on earth is wrong with sailing on a containership? not the big bucks they make on offshore vessels with the easy month on and month off? just be happy with what you have and stop bothering us here

I’ve said it here before and saying it again…

With all due respect Cap, you should not be the one to speak about complaining. I don’t think I’ve seen you post a single constructive or useful thing recently. Noe I don’t know if you get a kick out of being a miserable git and spreading the love, but there is really nothing wrong with a mariner in the early part of his career looking to better himself and his situation.

I have sailed with a few people who just constantly complain and they are the worst for morale. After 3 months most people just want them to sign off already so they can get on with their jobs.

As my grandfather used to say: if you don’t have anything useful to say, don’t say anythong at all.


So now you are complaining about me complaining…care to dance? Anyway you still haven’t answered my question…why are you not wanting to sail on containerships when you haven’t even tried the job yet? I’d think they are pretty easy money.

Don’t get me wrong. Containerships are pretty interesting, I did all bar 1 month of my cadetship on them. They are “easy money”, and still plenty of stuff to get stuck in with. My last month at sea as a cadet however was spent on an AHTS, and boy did that open my eyes to what this career can be all about. The ops were so much more interesting, you actually got to drive the boat, you actually had to use your skills and solve problems on a daily basis. No one enjoys a sea view and a deep sea watch more than I do (figure of speech) but it doesn’t exactly tax the mental facilities.

Also, because of my particular situation the job I have on the boxboats pays a lot less than the average income of a Norwegian, because i am employed as a british officer. I still have to pay tax in norway (something the wage does not reflect due to tax exemption for uk seafarers) and the cost of living in norway is much higher.

The obvious response is of course “go get a job on land in norway that pays better”, and while that would be a completely valid cop out the problem for me is that I actually have a passion for this job. Being at sea, being a navigator, working with the guys and gals onboard, dealing with the health and safety aspects, running safe and efficient operations (all that jazz) is what I love doing (and like to think I’m good at it) and I don’t think I’d be happy ashore. So it’s not about “easy money”, it’s about working in an environment where I feel I can grow, stretch and contribute in a meaningful way. Of course, being able to work as a norwegian for a norwegian company would actually allow me to afford a mortgage in maybe 5 years, and that’s a bonus. In the meantime I am of course psyched about being employed, sailing some of the more challenging straits for large vessels (singapore, malacca, taiwan etc) and gaining as much experience as possible.

To bring it back to the topic at hand: there are very few opportunities for a norwegian to work on vessels that don’t use DP, and there seem to be very few avenues into getting certified enough to land a job without already having said job.

Do you have a Norwegian license?

Alas no, not yet. Though looking into efficacy of an endorsement once I get my mates which is equiv to a norwegian class 2

I’m not sure you can work for a Norwegian company as a Norwegian with just a CEC, I expect you’ll need a full Norwegian COC. @ombugge

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Oh no…I read you like a book. You finally have a job to start building experience but already want more. Goddamed youth of these days expecting the world just handed to them on a platter.

Just do your job well as a quiet and humble professional. You just might EARN some respect if you do!

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Hmm… that might well prove to be quite the “opportunity in disguise”…

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I ship into the UK frequently and can say that through talking to the pilots there, you should be very happy to have a job at all. They constantly say that the job opportunities for young British officers are few and far between with cruise ships being the most prevalent option. This in turn makes it difficult for them to find qualified people to be pilots in British ports.

As a “box boat” guy myself I can say that you haven’t yet scratched the surface of complexity in doing the job well if you’re just starting out as a 3M. Give it some time, build experience, and in time you will find yourself pulled in the direction of the industry you would like to be in. In my opinion, anything is better than tankers.

Also, was your original post correct in calling yourself a “culpable member of the deck department” or was that supposed to be capable?

Culpable :wink: though I hope to prove myself to be capable also.

I appreciate that the complexities run deep and I am looking forward to getting stuck in over the next few years. As mentioned earlier I genuinely love the job. I am however facing the reality that should I wish to stay in Norway (where my wife lives and works) I will need to have some kind of transition in mind once I have my mates purely for economic reasons.

With regards to capt_phoenix’s post regarding CEC, I’m not sure how not having a norwegian COC would affect my opportunities as a norwegian seafarer. As far as flag state is concerned the CEC would allow me to work onboard… so maybe it would be up to company HR policy?

DamnYankee, who do you sail for if you don’t mind me asking?

Thanks for the advice and feedback so far.

I’m afraid I don’t have the answer to that, I have been too long away from Norway and Norwegian shipping to have followed things that closely.

But as long as Britain is member of EU I would think a valid COC issued by British Maritime Authorities could be convertible, or that a CEC based on such COC could be issued to a Norwegian citizen to serve on Norwegian flag (NOR) ships.

For NIS vessels, or Norwegian owned vessels registered in IOM, any British dependency, or even other Commonwealth or EU countries, (like Malta etc.) there should be no issue. As long as you are Norwegian citizen and/or resident there are agreed terms applicable for both member and non-members of the Norwegian Officer’s Union. Such terms are acceptable to other Norwegians so they can’t be too bad.

I would recommend you contact NMA to enquire, though. But act quickly, since UK may be crashing out of EU without a deal next March.

Here is contact details for NMA:

Good luck Robin and don’t worry about that grumpy old CCaptain, he just enjoy being the big bad wolf on this forum.

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Legend! Tusen takk :slight_smile:

I’ll just leave this here…

When oil tanked last time, there was panic in the wheelhouse of our drill ship. The “old guys” looked around, saw what was coming, and planned an exit. I had 3 job offers before my last hitch and have never looked back. That being said, I have done a lot more in my career than push buttons. The young guys who had minimal experience were, rightly, very concerned. They had little practical sailing experience to fall back on when searching for jobs. DP is very cool, but you will have near zero practical watch standing experience if you chase the $ before you know anything about traditional sailing.

Basic watchstanding skills atrophy or fail to develop in the world of drillships/MODUs. Spend 5 or 6 years underway, learn deck seamanship, coast wise piloting, cargo ops, and how to interpret the wind, clouds, and water. If DP is still calling, give it a try but realize that you may paint yourself into a corner.


In my experience the only way to get your full DP license is to get a foot in the door with a company that has DP vessels. Call, write any company you can think off, both in the UK and on the eurpean mainland. If you already get your DP induction done that will be a bonus for the company that hires you.

It will not be easy to get in but it’s the only way.

Good luck!

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