I can confirm from personal experience all the negative discussion about McKeil Marine. Their motto, "We Sail Safe" is quite incomplete, it should say, "We Sail Safe, If We're Lucky". The whole "safety culture" at McKeil seems only to be a marketing scheme to impress clients. Everybody who looks closely at the boats and spends a few days aboard will clearly see through the smoke and mirrors.
After the 2016 season aboard one of the recent additions to the fleet, the Kaliutik, I gave the Vessel Manager a good thorough defect list to attend to over the winter. I was not called to do any winter overhaul work. In the summer of 2017, I was again placed aboard, and found out that not a thing had been repaired. This is a simple little 65 foot, 83 GT tug with very simple equipment arrangement. It should have been a very boring job. But the boat was in such decrepit condition, it was nonstop work for me as the only Engineer aboard, just to keep the boat sailing. McKeil does no winter overhaul, and leaves their Engineers to do the overhaul work while the ship is working.
Everything from the bilge to the lights on Monkey Island was in need of many repairs. And there was little aboard for tools and spares. Requests for materials were routinely ignored. If not for dumpster diving at port calls, I would never have had materials to keep the vessel running.
When the two generators aboard finally became too unreliable to safely sail, I had to refuse to take responsibility for making the next voyage. One electronically controlled generator was randomly shutting down, and there was no means to diagnose the electronics. The other generator had a a fuel injector line chafed halfway through, ready to spray diesel and explode the boat. Putting my life and career on the line for a company like this was too much of a sacrifice to say the least. The troubles with the ship did not develop over night. I had given plenty notice to get some help and materials.
The Vessel Manager's solution on the phone was, "OK I'll get someone else." McKeil only wants crew who are willing to play their game of taking foolish chances. Perhaps "Russian Roulette" is a more correct description of the situation. This seems to be why they are always looking for crew, and judge for yourself the quality of many of the people that you might find aboard, though I do know of a few fine Engineers who have somehow endured the risks and hardships for a few years.
I was also placed aboard the Leonard M., a very old neglected floating scrap piece. What is to be said of a ship lacking a functional alarm system ? Who needs one ? We'll know an engine lost lube oil after it grinds to a halt. With no bilge alarm, we'll know that we're sinking when we suddenly take a list that won't recover. What of generator controls that routinely cause blackouts ?
Working at McKeils is not worth risking one's life, going to jail for negligence or pollution, or just destroying one's reputation. Will the "Grown-Ups" in the office keep you out of jail for pollution offenses ? Will they be able to save you when your boat blacks out and collides or blows up? No, they'll blame you and say that you did it wrong, if you're alive to hear it. If you die, they'll still say it, you just won't be around to hear.