Vessel Service

What determines vessel service?<br><br>Several large AHTS vessels (Anchor Handling Tug Supply) are dual classed. They are sub-chapter L (OSV) and sub-chapter I (Industrial). The Certificate of Inspection states that the vessel must conform to the most stringent class at all times, but changes in service must be logged in the ship’s log book.<br>So what is anchor handling and construction, Sub-Chapter I? We all know what typical supply boats do.

Anchorman,<br><br>I’m going to ask my pal the chief of inspection here if he’ll have a crack at your question. I’ll let you know as soon as I do.<br><br>CA

According to my source, it would be Sub-chapter I.

   That does beg the question, at least with me, regarding the licensing side of the equation with vessel service. An OSV license does not cover an industrial vessel, but it's common practice to do so. Every topside, the inspectors ask this same question, and every year, they never elaborate, but they notice the disparity.&lt;strong&gt;&lt;br&gt;        &gt;3,000ton ITC + sub-chapter I = true unlimited time by any regulation&lt;/strong&gt;


Anchorman,<br>I feel your pain, as a former president of the USA used to say. :slight_smile: But, I am not surprised because there has always been a double or triple standard in the USA for mariners. There are the OSV, the fishermen and then the unlimited mariners. The fishermen and oil field companies would still be running without licensed mariners if they could. For several reasons they were forced to require licenses by the USCG and the USCG granted them special dispensation and licenses. The requirements weren’t as stringent and in the beginning there was no reason for them to be as stringent as the requirements for those who sailed on ships. However, as often happens in granting exceptions in government rules, the exception became the rule and the companies that lobbied for these exceptions became the rulers. There are 100 ton boats today that are two and three times the size of 100 ton OSV boats of 20 years ago. The supply boats are capable of carrying many barrels of oil based mud, 100,000+ gallons of fuel and transfering it at sea yet no one is required to have a tankerman endorsement. The OSV industry rules the USCG . Years ago I was on a ship with an excellent young man who was working as wiper. I asked him why he didn’t have his QMED, he said he did but the company didn’t recognize it. I thought that was ridiculous so I asked to see his MMD. I looked at it and it said QMED General which I wasn’t familiar with so I asked how he got it and he said he never even had to take a test.The supply boat company [Choeust] got it for him. I had never heard of such a thing or a rating like that so I called my REC and asked them about it as I wanted the fellow to start getting paid for being a QMED if indeed he was one. The REC I contacted had never heard of such a QMED rating but they then asked what REC issued it. I told them the New Orleans REC did so and they said,“Oh, well they make there own rules down there. We really don’t know what goes on down there.But this guy is going to have to get a recognized QMED .”<br>Things haven’t changed much. I was recently waiting on a helicoptor and scanning a “Work Boat” magazine when I noticed that the chief of the New Orleans USCG REC had recently gone to work for the OMSA which is the main lobbying agency for the OSV industry. I thought it was illegal for government officials to immediatly go to work for agencies they were previously purported to regulate but apparently there are exceptions in the Gulf of Mexico even for that.<br>The sad part of all this is that when the special rules and COIs are being invented the mariner is not given a thought by the companies or their partner the USCG. Good dedicated mariners such as yourself who pay out of pocket, take time away from family and more enjoyable activities in order to advance their professional credentials and knowledge get caught out. Many have to leave the GOM to advance and most don’t return. The industry looses and the young folks coming along don’t get exposed to those who have the additional knowledge. The bar stays low.<br>I wish you luck and success.<br>Tengineer

<P>My experience in the industry has been similar. Dealing with New Orleans and Houston CG was a crap shoot over the years. I was in and out of the oilfield in the 70’s and early 80’s to get out from under the M&O license. After setting for Chief M&O, Unlimited Uninspected vessels and Unlimited Inspected Motor Towing Vessels, I was allowed to set for Second Asst. Shortly after that, the CG allowed anyone with any of the aforementioned licenses to was given a Chief Limited license for vessels up 1600 GT. This was first brought on when the Biehl Trader and Traveler came out and then the OXY 1 and 2 which were over 1000T. And of course the specialized vessels that Chouest was building.<br><br>Then came the down-sized engine room manning. No entry level jobs, no one to move up. Engineer shortage?? Go figure.</P>

The GOM has no resemblance to the rest of the world, which is why the mariners sailing there are underserved by the poor decisions the USCG has undertaken on behalf of OMSA, and the various companies operating in the microcosm called the Gulf.<br><br>Those that would argue that the “knowledge base, and experience” is so extensive in the GOM are deluding themselves. Most EU operators are 20 years ahead in technology, vessel accommodations, and technology, hence the sudden appearance of foreign specialists (i.e. Heerema) doing all the installation work in the Ultra Deepwater Gulf of Mexico.<br><br>Even if the GOM operators (exceptions would have to be Edison Chouest, and Otto Candies) had had the presence of mind to build hard floating assets as their EU contemporaries had, they still wouldn’t have the skilled, licensed manpower to go along with it.

Ex-government employees can work for industry oorganizations, but have restrictions on the scope of their interaction and dealings with the government. Such is the case with the REC New Orleans staff member who will work for OMSA.<br><br>James D. Cavo<br>Chief, Mariner Training & Assessment Division<br>USCG National Maritime Center<br><A href="]<font color=#3354aa></font></A>

Mr.Cavo,<br>What sort of restrictions does the former REC chief turned lobbyist have upon him and who enforces these restrictions? Need a little education.<br>Tengineer

Basically ex-government employees are barred from any direct contact wth the government on anything relating to their former employment for a period of several years. The specific terms on any single individual are protected privacy information.<br><br>James D. Cavo<br>Chief, Mariner Training & Assessment Division<br>USCG National Maritime Center<br><A href="]<font color=#3354aa></font></A>

Working for industry after a government career is a natural progression. Casting doubt on this person is no different than casting doubt on the integrity of those with still with NMC and the USCG. Just the knowledge of a former REC Chief can help navigate the of the bureaucracy of it all. I just wish I was afforded the same right, but I cannot take it away from industry.

"Working for industry after a government career is a natural
progression. "<br><br> You may be right, however, the natural progression part does raise one question.<br>As a government employee tasked with regulating as well as administering policy and law how much does the thought of gaining a well paying lobbying job from the industry you are overseeing taint ones decisions while employed with a regulatory agency of the US government?<br> Heck, I guess the N.O. REC chief saw senators and congressman leaving office and becoming rich lobbyists so he jumped thru the revolving door too.<br><br>In NO way do I intend to disparage the entire group at the USCG and NMC. Many who I have known personally are some of the most ethical and honest people I’ve run across in any profession. But the New Orleans and Morgan City office of marine inspection and the N.O. REC have always been ‘different’.<br><br> Tengineer

How much influence do you think a mid-level government functionary really has? REC Chiefs are GS-12 employess or military 0-3s. Not very high in the food chain.<br><br>James D. Cavo<br>Mid-Level Functionary<br>USCG National Maritime Center<br><A href="]<font color=#3354aa></font></A>

Mr Cavo,<br>In the past REC chiefs were kings of their realm in my personal experience. My uneducated guess is it was due to complacent oversight and perhaps some career pressure was involved. In recent years I have seen that change and I think it’s for the better.<br> One thing I have seen that hasn’t been brought up is the passing of the buck between USCG and classification societies such as ABS, DNV, GL, LR etc. It’s not just the USCG, it’s other countries transportation regulatory agencies too.<br> Recognizing that there are classification societies and regulatory groups which may be influenced to let things slide by or simply don’t have the trained persons to do the job properly has opened opportunities for consultants who inspect and advise contractors as well as insurers. In my semi-retirement I am being financially well rewarded for doing just that, so it’s to our advantage the status quo continues. :)<br>Tengineer