Who is responsible for filling out sea service forms? Me or the employer?

#1

Hi all,

I have a few hundred, possibly over 1,000 days of sea time with a former employer. I quit and they’re vindictive. I don’t expect much in the way of cooperation, however time to renew my ticket in October and I have to get the sea service forms filled out.

So, do I need to go back and try to figure out how many days I worked? (It can be done but difficult).

-OR-

Is my former employer required to keep such records and fill out the sea time.

It won’t surprise me if they try to short me to try and prevent me from renewing (I have enough time anyways I’m pretty sure).

So how would you proceed if you were in my shoes?

PS if it matters all vessels for this company were inspected and under 25GT. I hold a 50GT and it will be going up to a 100GT.

Thanks

-Rob

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#2

You can fill out a small vessel sea service form in lieu of a letter from them but they still have to sign it.

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#3

Do the paperwork yourself so when you go in to the office, you only need a signature. Make it as easy for them as possible.

Some time ago on this forum someone suggested giving the previous employer the option of either giving you the sea time letter, or taking them to small claims court for lost income from work you could not do because you could not upgrade without their letter. The tactic is to go in with the small claims paperwork completed and ready to file, and show it to the employer. And have the sea time letter in the other hand.

If they have any smarts, they would likely find it easier to sign the sea time letter.

Have you talked to the NMC about your options?

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#4

You should fill it out yourself. Nothing worse than a guy coming in looking for you to do his work for him, and then stand there waiting for it. My guys learned if they don’t have time or desire to fil it out, I certainly do not either.

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#5

Thanks guys I have sent an email to NMC with the same question.

It’s not that I don’t want/can’t fill it out myself, more of that I expect them to refuse, delay etc me renewing, they are literally that vindictive towards people.

I need to be prepared when I mail it to them, or go there in person.

Thanks again

-Rob

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#6

The employer is not obligated to provide a letter of “Sea Service” to you. Why there isn’t a CFR or Law requiring the employers to provide this important document is beyond me. Just download a sea service form from the NMC site and provide the required information in the format indicated on the form yourself. Get the Captain or company representative to sign it and it will suffice for Coast Guard purposes in most cases. Captains can sign for their own time.

I’m speculating that Chief Engineers can sign your for your time or their own time too, check that one out for yourself.

Good Luck!

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#7

46 CFR 14.307 Entries on certificate of discharge

(a) Each master or individual in charge of a vessel shall, for each merchant mariner being discharged from the vessel, prepare a certificate of discharge and two copies; whether by writing or typing them on the prescribed form with permanent ink or generating them from computer in the prescribed format; and shall sign them with permanent ink. The prescribed format for a certificate of discharge is the same as the present form CG-718A (Rev. 3-85). The left portion of the form has the mariner’s printed name, signature, citizenship, MMD or MMC number; the certification statement, date and the master’s signature. The right portion of the form contains the rate/rank the mariner is serving on the voyage, date and place of shipment, date and place of discharge, name of the vessel, name of the operating company, official number of the vessel, class of the vessel, and the nature of the voyage.

(b) Each mariner being discharged shall sign the certificate and both copies with permanent ink.

© When the mariner leaves the vessel, the master or individual in charge shall give the original certificate to the mariner.

(d) Except as directed by § 14.313, the shipping company shall keep both copies of the certificate.

(e) The company shall provide copies of certificates of discharge to the mariner and the Coast Guard upon request.

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#8

BOOM!!!

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#9

The newly ratified Maritime Labor Convention covers this very topic. Companies that do not comply with the MLC are asking for trouble. You say that all vessels in your company are 25 GT so you might not be covered, but you might want to make a run at them this way anyway and see what happens. I’d call 888-IASKNMC and run everything by them (citing MLC); maybe they’ll go to bat for you with the new regulations.

http://www.itfseafarers.org/files/publications/23556/SBoR_English_inside_small.pdf

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#10

In the old days, we use to get those little discharge’s, I forget the USCG Form number, but the problem was, you would end up with a pile of them and eventually, lose some. That was not a big problem as the USCG also had a copy of them and would, for a fee, send you photocopies of them. Then the stopped issuing them and you had to get the dreaded “Letter of Sea Service” from your employer. Some employers were good, some not so good about providing them.
Now days, I use a “Discharge Book”. You can get one from any country, mine is from Canada though I’m an American Merchant Marine Officer. I think you can also get one from the Marshall Islands and other countries without much headache. Then every time you report to a Vessel, have the Master sign you on in your “Seaman’s Book” and sign you off when you leave. The ‘ship’s stamp’ and Master’s Signature make it legal and the USCG will recognize it as long as it’s ‘stamped’ & signed regardless of what country it is from. You inland and domestic only guys may have trouble with the “Ship’s Stamp” part, and the USCG stopped supplying them (Seaman’s Books) years ago, (please correct me if I’m wrong about that).
A lot of countries now require a “Seaman’s Book” for transit and working in-country on US Flagged Vessels. I’ve found that it’s the simplest way to keep up with your Sea Time. It will also provide you with a host of memories when you retire and your grandkids want to know what Grandpa did. Oh the stories you will tell.

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#11

If you work on a vessel engaged in foreign trade you have to have a ships stamp for sludge/trash/stores etc. Someone once told me about the captain being ashore and the ships stamp was locked up so they used a mickey mouse rubber stamp and the vendor went away none the wiser.

There is a tonnage, GOM (vessels leaving and returning to the same port regularly), clause in that sea time discharge section of USCG rules if my memory is correct.

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#12

I have never step off a ship without a discharge in my hand. I would say it is my responsibility to make sure I have all my sea time documents

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#13

I agree, even working 21/21 on a drill ship, every crew change guys were printing out their own sea service letters and taking them up to the Captain to sign. They could request one from the office later, but why not have it in hand when you leave?

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#14

It’s amazing to me but there are a bunch of companies who push Sea Time Letters off to the side and look at it as burdensome. You should be able to go back and look at your past paychecks and see what days you were paid for (aka At Work). If you have something prepared for them to sign i can’t see why they wouldn’t do so.

At every company I have worked for (shoreside) we have a very simple system to keep this up to date. Every time the personnel department turns in payroll we make an extra copy and update everyones sea time letter at each payroll cycle. With this method you can immediately send out somone’s letter if they quit, get fired, request one, etc… and it’s all ready to go. Nothing like having to go back 2-3 years and put one together, it would be miserable. The biggest reason we updated sea time’s very often was to minimize the amount of calls into the office. You have no idea how many calls per day you get from your ships crews, prospective employees, etc…

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#15

Guys I appreciate all the feedback.

I emailed NMC this same question and have yet to see a reply from them.

This former employer has done things to prevent people from getting other jobs such as: bad references (false ones), reaching out to other employers not to hire their former employees, etc (all of this can be proven as well).

It wouldn’t surprise me whatsoever if they flat out tell me “sorry we can’t help you.”

That is what I’m fearing most, them refusing to sign anything at all.

Thanks

-RBH

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#16

So…what recourse does one have if a company “refuses to sign” what would otherwise be a valid 719S?

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#17

What’s stopping mariners from lying about sea time on sea service forms. It sounds like as long as you know a captain or an owner of a vessel you can just have them sign.

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#18

[QUOTE=VincentAnthony;131090]What’s stopping mariners from lying about sea time on sea service forms. It sounds like as long as you know a captain or an owner of a vessel you can just have them sign.[/QUOTE]

Maybe the possibility of permanent license revocation and possible criminal prosecution if it’s one of the ones we occasionally spot-check. Are you willing to jeopardize your license to give someone a fraudulent service letter?

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#19

[QUOTE=jdcavo;131094]Maybe the possibility of permanent license revocation and possible criminal prosecution if it’s one of the ones we occasionally spot-check. Are you willing to jeopardize your license to give someone a fraudulent service letter?[/QUOTE]

What about the issue of “ship’s stamp”? The Nautical Institute and various foreign authorities want to see DP Logbooks, IMCA Logbooks, Seamen,s Books an others documents that bear the ship’s stamp. How are we supposed to deal with this?

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#20

[QUOTE=tugsailor;131095]What about the issue of “ship’s stamp”? The Nautical Institute and various foreign authorities want to see DP Logbooks, IMCA Logbooks, Seamen,s Books an others documents that bear the ship’s stamp. How are we supposed to deal with this?[/QUOTE]

You need to ask the “Nautical Institute and various foreign authorities” that require iot. It’s not a U. S. Coast Guard requirement.

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