Who is working down in Panama?

I’m going to try and score a gig as a third mate on an American dredge working in Panama, but can’t figure out who’s working down there on the new Canal expansion project. I saw a couple jobs advertised online that I applied for, but it looks like I’m going to have to talk to someone in person, if I can find out who.

Capt. Kelly Sweeney who does a regular segment n our [maritime podcast just got back from Panama last week. Send [URL=http://gcaptain.com/maritime/blog/contact-us/" title=“Contact Us]me us an email](http://messingaboutinships.com/” title="Maritime Podcast) and I’ll put you in touch.


No new intelligence on the Panamanian project for us Americans yet. Still searching and working on two clues. First, a Marine employment agency is advertising for a third mate 28 days on 28 days off . Second, maritimeemployment is advertising what looks like the same job. I remember when the American Mariners came home after the canal was transitioned to Panamanian control. They said it was a lot like the wild West down there and after researching this project the news indicates that it still is.

Still at it…


It’s CF Bean and their vessel Stuyvesent. Check ProfessionalMariner Magazine On-line for 3 of Capt Sweeny’s reports. I also applied for the 2 job announcements you did and I didn’t get called either - obviously because they hired Capt Sweeny! MSC did just call me to offer me a 2nd Mate job, so have fun in Panama if ya can get there!

A job with MSC…Been there and done that, I hope you don’t enjoy being on vacation or once you are lucky enough to get vacation having to fake illness to stay on. After all, it is unreasonable for an employee to expect two months off after spending eight months on a ship. Interesting company, don’t get sucked in and don’t believe that that is how a real merchant ship is operated. The Navy girls are an interesting benefit though.

I’ve worked for MSC before. They have a 4 month on one month off “advertised” rotation now. A friend that is working for them sez they are pretty good about sticking to that now days. We’ ll see. Plus they are into having 3 channels of Sat TV, internet, phones, and in port time. I’m not going into it with my eys shut, I’ll take advantage of what I can while I’m there, training, etc. And the simple fact is they are the only ones that came through after applying EVERYWHERE else. I know how “real” merchant ships are run and I think it might be interesting to work for an employer with “deep pockets” for a change! I got interested in them again when I saw that they are taking over all auxilliry ships now, salvage, rescue, repair tenders, replenishment, etc and they are getting the new builds straight from the shipyard, not just de-commisioned hand-me-downs. They are evolving and I think it might be interesting to see what’s happining with them now. The good news is if it sucks too bad, no one has to stay. I’ llreport back every now and then in a new thread to let ya’ ll know how it goes. That’s my story, other’s mileage may vary, Cheers!

Jeffrox, Any idea which coast they’re putting you on yet or even which ship?


I was with MSC from 2002-2005, so I was there for the satellite TV, which is really nice to have. Unfortunately, it is the Armed Forces networks, but that is better than nothing. They do have internet now too, which is the biggest benefit as far as I was concerned. You are right, working for MSC with a bottomless budget is nice…in fact I will say awesome, but it is funny how they will get cheap over the strangest of things even when it means they are losing money in the long run. I do have to caution you, the MSC you were a part of, before 9-11 was very different from what is there today. The port visits are very restricted today since the entire NAvy is freaked out about another Cole Incident occuring. I spent more than a few days circling off of a port waiting for navy ships to come from liberty, we weren’t allowed in because we could not provide our own force protection. I am still very skeptical that are able to relieve licensed officers on time, from my class out of MMA they hired 6 3/Ms only 2 are left there. They claim to have fixed the relief process, which is probably true for unlicensed personnel, they can always sail “short”. But, with an engineer or a mate they can’t sail short…I liked my time with MSC, if they would fix the rotation I would seriously consider going back, but I got burned pretty bad twice. Good luck with it and remember you never signed articles, you can always quit overseas.

I don’t know what or where WRT ship/coast. I don’t think I will know till just before they send me out as I recall. MSC ships have been a constant fixture in Subic Bay Philippines for the past 6 months or so. In fact there’s one here now. Talking last night with a crewmember and he said some of the old popular visit spots were going to be opening up again. MSC is always in Singapore. I’ll take it as it comes and post how it is. With physical and paperwork and training to go I don’t think I’ll even be on a ship for another 2-3 months.


TV, Internet, phones, “deep pockets”, no port time… sounds like an offshore drillship gig. Do you guys have equal time off and ludicrously high salaries as well?