The USNS Mercy is headed to Seattle

For a typical deployment there will be about 40 (more or less) deck, engine and MSC supply onboard. There will be about 800-1200 Navy, Marine, Army, Air Force, Coasties, reservists, Seabees, contractors, SME and civilian volunteers.

Another reason you didn’t see any MSC is because the USN leadership go out of their way to create a hostile work environment, treating MSC like house-ni**ers, banishing them and preventing them from associating with the good folk in uniform.

Fuck those hospital ships. Fuck their leadership. Miserable floating cages of hell.


I should think so; there wouldn’t be anyone else embarking. Although I do love that they took the time to grab their dress uniforms to man the rail before getting underway to go lie at anchor (or maybe they’re getting pierside?) for medical relief; let no PR opportunity go to waste!

Wow.Good to know.


I never manned a rail, but then I never went to sea in haze gray. I did have the hat and the boondockers and the highwater tropical whites (our issue seabag tropicals were hemmed before they were washed and then left outside on the line for however many weeks until we graduated. They were all a couple inches short when we put them on later. Much grumbling ensued).

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When a bunch of us CIVMARS would go out on the town and were asked what MSC was, we’d respond by saying we were in the Junior Navy.

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Trump is traveling to Norfolk tomorrow see the COMFORT leave for New York. There will be no tomfoolery; ready or not, it’s going even if they have to tow it.

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I’m already seeing lots of folks hashtagging And thanking the men and women of the Merchant Marine who crew/operate these ships (and getting their comments removed) by US Navy PR team on Instagram, according to what some folks have shown me. Anyone else hearing about that? I thought there was a tighter bond between the civmars and USN. Guess I heard wrong.

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A few classmates of my son were on the Comfort recently.They are not union and work directly for MSC out of the pool.Some are affiliated with MMP, but not actively represented by them.

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To my knowledge it is a Union operated vessel. That is MSC is MEBA, MMP and SIU. The major US maritime unions.
Now if the Civmar choose not to be represented by a union, they do still work under the collective bargaining arrangements of those unions. I think they would also be the exception and not the rule.
Perhaps I’m wrong and someone can correct me if I am.

Mercy/Comfort are part of the MSC fleet. They are crewed by MSC Civilian Mariners who are directly hired and employed by MSC, Dept of Navy, DOD.

How/What/When they get paid is based on collective bargaining by the respective unions, but these are government employees who are not under any obligation to join said unions.

Should you chose to pay the union dues, for example MEBA for the engineers, then you will get credit for your time should you choose to quit MSC and sail union later. Should you chose not to pay dues, you can do so. But, if you wish to request union representation after an incident onboard, then you can be certain the first question from the gov’t union rep will be whether or not you are current on your dues.

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shipengr has it about right, but no collective bargaining is in play with MSC and the hospital ships. There are union contracts on some MSC ships, and glad for it. It does have an effect on their wages that the unions are out there. OK with that, in this day and time, it is better to be union than not.

I was saying that folks are congratulating the Merchant Marine (civmars) for their work in getting the ships there and I’m hearing (can’t confirm on my own phone, I don’t use Instagram) that the Navy’s PR folks are removing those hashtags and remarks like they don’t want people knowing that merchant mariners are part of the relief. If true, that’s seriously disappointing.


It’s been my experience working several mixed crew ships, including the hospital ships, that the Navy sees the civilians as laborers. We are the ‘help’ who should rarely be seen or heard. Acknowledging the ‘help’ is unnecessary because in their mind that’s what we are paid to do.

Think of it this way, when you go to some event like a wedding reception how much recognition do the caterers get? Do the cooks get asked to join the party on the dance floor? Are the janitors asked to be in the reception photos? No. They’re the ‘help’. They’re expected to do what they’re paid to do and not interrupt the good folk celebrating.

It’s usually the senior leadership. The O-5 and above. They tend to suck. The CO and XO are usually more attuned.

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Makes sense now.

Someone said “some kid wants another stripe under his crow and an extra $4 a month so badly he skims the IG page for these kinds of corrections to be made.”

It started to get ugly but they wipe those comments quickly.

“Acknowledging the ‘help’ is unnecessary because in their mind that’s what we are paid to do.”

But meanwhile they eagerly accept the accolades.

In other news, people are crazy!

An engineer deliberately ran a train off the tracks at high speed near the Port of Los Angeles in an attempt to crash into and damage the USNS Mercy hospital ship, prosecutors say.

Federal prosecutors allege train engineer Eduardo Moreno, 44, of San Pedro intended to hit the ship, saying he thought it was “suspicious” and did not believe “the ship is what they say it’s for.’”

The train crashed into a concrete barrier at the end of the track, smashed through a steel barrier and a chain-link fence, slid through one parking lot and then a second lot filled with gravel and hit a second chain-link fence. It came to rest after passing under a ramp leading to the Vincent Thomas Bridge. The train remained in that position Wednesday.


We need a new thread: The crazy thing people do under the stress caused by the covid-19 virus.


<sigh> Navy seems to be pretty good at disappointing people lately.


i’m surprised this has not caused more news. Also curious to know if it were a BNSF or some local switcher train as I have not been able to find much elsewhere.

Mostly due to the low usage of USNS COMFORT in New York because of mandatory pre-embarkation coronavirus testing the USN is about to do something awful:

I perused the comment section of the NYT article on the low patient numbers aboard as of a few days ago…most comments were critical, to be polite, of the procedure to embark patients who had to be tested for COVID 19 prior to transfer from a shoreside facility.

It appears the deployment of hospital ships is viewed as a political stunt by most readers; they seem to miss the fact they are trauma centers, not isolation wards. If the Navy/MSC bend to pressure and allow patients aboard without adequate safeguards, or decide to convert her to COVID 19 ward…well, I think we can guess what will happen. Perhaps the medical staff should be sent ashore to assist or used to staff field hospitals once in place? Far above my paygrade…

Nonetheless, it is disheartening that so many people view the deployment as political theater. If I recall, mayors and governors requested those ships.