Why is gcaptain accepting ads from Compass Marine?

Compass Marine is one of those scumbag recruiters that illegally charges mariners a placement fee in blatant violation of federal statues.

Why is gcaptain accepting their ads and facilitating this illegal scheme?


I’ve been wondering the same thing…been going on a few months.

why do they have to advertise here in the first place? I’d be surprised to hear if they had more jobs to fill than qualified applicants. LOTS of folks out of work and most currently employed looking for something better.

A recruiter at Compass Marine contacted me several years ago and sent me an application and contract with their power of attorney form. Compass Marine charges a placement fee of something like 14 days of gross pay which they supposedly deduct over several payroll periods. Compass Marine demands that the mariner give them a power of attorney over the mariner’s checking account (where the employer will be sending the payroll direct deposits), Compass Marine then uses that power of attorney to take control of the mariner’s checking account and deduct their placement fees from the mariner’s checking account.

Obviously, I told Compass Marine that I was not interested.

Sometime later, I was making a delivery voyage for a small west coast tug company. The Mate and the Engineer were supplied by a Gulf Coast recruiter with a different company name that was operating a similar scam. I’ve heard people claim that that recruiter was affiliated with Compass Marine, but I don’t know if that was true. The recruiter charged them 14 days gross pay, and took control of their checking accounts with a power of attorney. The recruiter contract called for 25% of the gross payroll to be deducted from each direct deposit until his fee was paid. Three weeks into the voyage the Engineer called his wife during a port visit. She was in a panic because the checking account was overdrawn and the check for her car payment had bounced. The recruiter had deducted 7 days of gross pay from the two week net payroll that went into the mariner’s checking account; this amounted to about 75% of the net pay that was direct deposited to the engineer’s checking account. Next, the mate called home and it was a similar story. There were a lot of very angry panic stricken calls to the employer and the recruiter. The employer said “don’t blame us,you signed the contract with the recruiter.” The recruiter explained that it had to deduct 50% instead of the usual 25% because otherwise the delivery trip would end before it got its full fee. The recruiter also explained that it deducts 14 days of gross (pre-tax) pay, but the employer only deposits the net (after tax) pay into the checking account. The Engineer walked off the boat. The Mate stayed only because he did not have enough money to buy a plane ticket home. A couple days later (yes, we were delayed by this nonsense), we sailed with a new engineer supplied by the same recruiter. Of course, it was a very unhappy voyage with a very angry Mate and new engineer. The tug owner was angry because he’d lost a couple days and had to pay the rest of the crew to wait for the new engineer to show up. He was even angrier when I told him that the entire scheme was illegal. He wanted the recruiter to pay for the lost time and his extra costs. I was very glad to get that trip over.

Why would an employer use a recruiter that is running an illegal scam like this? Many of the employers do not know that it is illegal for the recruiter to charge the mariner a placement fee. Some employers don’t care. The employers think that they are getting a “free” service. The HR people (who often wear other hats too) like it because the recruiter does all the work finding and vetting the mariner for them.

I have heard stories that some recruiters split their placement fee with some HR managers. I don’t know if that is true, but I don’t doubt it.

Why would mariners use a recruiter that charges them the placement fee, and demands to takeover control of their checking account? Apparently, there are a lot of stupid and desperate mariners out there.

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in this case i would say more so desperate.
in the past when i have been desperate, i have talked to compass, seaport and some other agencies. i did see thru their bullshit and had enough sense to not pull the trigger. luckily i have been able to secure employment on my own throughout my career…so far.

even knowing the fact that they are bullshit artists (their ad says IMMEDIATE OPENINGS lol) and talk with the gusto of a used car salesman, if i was out of work with bills stacking up they would be a last resort.

i have had friends that have gotten jobs thru both seaport and compass and they weren’t top tier companies by any means. I definately bet there is some palm greasing going on and many times the mariner in a roundabout way is paying for his job which is phucked up.

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I had a run in with a similar recruiter some 30+ years ago when I got a job on the SEA SKIMMER/PLAQUEMINE. Was an ad in the Houston Chronicle with a number for a recruiter in Galveston, and I don’t recall the name. They made a mistake and gave me the direct number of the vessel operator, and I worked my own deal. They chased me for several months for their slice of my paycheck, but since I signed nothing with them, neither myself or my employer entertained the idea of paying them their fee (10 days wages or similar as I recall). . . .

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My real question is: Why is gcaptain accepting misleading “jobs” ads from a recruiter engaged in an illegal scheme? I think gcaptain has duty to investigate, report, and expose this company for what it is, not facilitate its illegal scheme.


Maybe something to draw @John 's attention to? Might make a good investigative story a la the old gCaptain and “this is what we know so far…”


These companies placing ads pay for that service I am assuming, can’t say I blame gcaptain for wanting to make a buck.

These companies mainly place people in gulf coast/offshore oil related jobs. It’s common knowledge that opportunities in this sector are far from bountiful, lucrative and I doubt ‘immediate’ by any means. If there was an immediate opening it would only be for a spot job and not long term I would suspect.

I can’t begrudge a fellow mariner out of work with a family to support. If trying one of these agencies gets a guy a job then so be it, as long as they understand what they are getting in to.

That doesn’t get around this though:

46 U.S.C.
United States Code, 2011 Edition
Title 46 - SHIPPING
Subtitle II - Vessels and Seamen
Part G - Merchant Seamen Protection and Relief
Sec. 10505 - Advances
From the U.S. Government Printing Office, www.gpo.gov

§10505. Advances(a)(1) A person may not—
(A) pay a seaman wages in advance of the time when the seaman has earned the wages;
(B) pay advance wages of the seaman to another person; or
(C ) make to another person an order, note, or other evidence of indebtedness of the wages, or pay another person, for the engagement of seamen when payment is deducted or to be deducted from the seaman’s wage.

(2) A person violating this subsection is liable to the United States Government for a civil penalty of not more than $5,000. A payment made in violation of this subsection does not relieve the vessel or the master from the duty to pay all wages after they have been earned.
(b) A person demanding or receiving from a seaman or an individual seeking employment as a seaman, remuneration for providing the seaman or individual with employment, is liable to the Government for a civil penalty of not more than $5,000.
(c ) The owner, charterer, managing operator, agent, or master of a vessel seeking clearance from a port of the United States shall present the agreement required by section 10502 of this title at the office of clearance. Clearance may be granted to a vessel only if this section has been complied with.
(d) This section does not apply to a fishing or whaling vessel or a yacht.
(Pub. L. 98–89, Aug. 26, 1983, 97 Stat. 571; Pub. L. 99–640, §10(b)(4), Nov. 10, 1986, 100 Stat. 3550; Pub. L. 103–206, title IV, §414, Dec. 20, 1993, 107 Stat. 2437.)

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They’ve been called out on here before as well:

Well, withholding pay from a mariner for job placement is illegal. Do you want to careen down the slippery slope and suggest what illegal activities can be advertised, and which cannot?

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Yeah there’s been a few that have been called out over the years. I think seaport marine is out of business, haven’t seen any ads from them in a long while.

Yet somehow they continue to get away with it, like others have for years.
By no means am I condoning these practices. I’m just saying if someone is desperate enough to get a job thru an agency like this, that’s their deal. Thank goodness things haven’t gotten that bad for me.

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I certainly support the growth and prosperity of gcaptain, and its job advertisements. Both are much needed and a great benefit to mariners.

However, Compass Marine’s money is too dirty to touch. Making a few extra pennies is not worth being drawn into facilitating their evil and illegal scheme to victimize mariners.

I see Compass Marine advertising their illegal scheme to victimize mariners on gcaptain as a little too similar in concept, if not in type or degree, to the pimps advertising their illegal scheme to victimize women on craigslist and backpage.

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AMEN! And that gives gCaptain more than just a bit of tarnish from taking their money. If websites would stop taking their money and their ads, then that would cut A LOT of their publicity out. I’m all for capitalism, but not on the backs of modern day slavery.

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Hey guys,

We are suspending the listing and checking with the employer to make sure it is legit before allowing more postings.

Our job board software allows employers to create an account and post jobs without any direct contact with our team. This means jobs that look legit can slip through moderation.

In the future please report any suspected fraudulent or misleading listings to us directly by emailing info@gcaptain.com or using the ‘report’ functions on forum and job board as soon as you see them. This thread has been up for four days and this has just now come to our attention.



Nope, they’ve been up on the job board for a while.

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What he’s saying is that no one told gCaptain about it in the four days since this thread was started. He isn’t making a statement about how long the “job” has been posted.

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From what is described in this thread, Compass does not withold pay, nor does the employer. Instead, compass forces the seaman to give access to his bank account, to which they deduct their fee after employee has been paid. Seems nuanced, but different to me…but I’m not the lawyer, so please give your input.

Thanks for always being around to point out alternate interpretations and miscommunication.