Doom and Gloom

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Sea Rover
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Doom and Gloom

Postby Sea Rover » Sun Jul 30, 2017 6:22 pm

It must be exciting times for all those Engineers who couldn't be bothered to study for their First Class License. You just get to walk right into what others have had to invest considerable time and effort to earn. Everyone is a Chief Engineer now, yay. But there's a catch, now everyone has it and as we all know when everyone has something it no longer has any value. It really makes the whole profession not a profession anymore, its just a dead end thankless job. There's nothing to aspire to or achieve, you graduate from some Cadet program, knock around on some tugs for a few years and then you are automatically qualified to be the Chief Engineer on even the largest and most complex vessels. That doesn't make any sense.

Look how poor working conditions are for Marine Engineers at the moment. They definitely will not improve now that we will all be so very, very disposable. Many companies that have been providing decent leave systems are already starting to eliminate them. Another very important point is this; in the past, when there have been economic downturns, companies have kept Chief's and Seconds around. Sometimes they will ship keep, double up on another boat or some other arrangement to retain their employment. This was due to the difficulty experienced in recruiting "big tickets". That won't happen anymore. If your boat lays up, you're gone! The taxi's will be waiting on the dock before the lines are out.

Chief Engineers could derive a certain confidence (not much) from the fact that they were not easily replaced. Now that Chief's will be a dime a dozen, there will be a considerably reduced ability to make any "demands", for parts, stores, competent crew etc. Most Chief's aren't in a Union. Our job security was partially derived from the fact that we had a license that was difficult to attain. Those days are over.

This is a sad, sad time to be a Marine Engineer. They might as well eliminate Cabotage and get it over with. Stop pulling off the band-aid slowly. Any young person getting involved in this industry now should have their head examined. I can't blame the people who became engineers a few years ago. Once you advanced there was reasonable job security.

Could somebody please answer one simple question for me? Why do things in the marine industry keep getting worse? Every single day it gets worse. You can't go ashore anymore, the licenses are a joke, the leave systems are moving away from month on/off instead towards it, crews are getting smaller, the companies aren't feeding us, the ships are run down, Class doesn't enforce anything, etc. etc. etc.I'm completely fed up.

Cadets and recent graduates, do something else its not too late. Seriously, don't end up like me, middle aged and without real options.
The office, or anyone ashore will never respect you, to them we are garbage. semi-literate boat garbage. The lowest down person in the office, whoever that is, is more valued than the most experienced ship based employee. I would actually say that maritime personal are despised by the office. Listen to the way they patronize you the next time you talk to anyone ashore. Working on ships is no life, I was told that when I was a Cadet and didn't listen.

Revolver
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Re: Doom and Gloom

Postby Revolver » Sun Jul 30, 2017 8:25 pm

For the past number of years the number of graduates from the bridge side vs engine has frequently been about 4(or more):1.
They get paid, essentially, the same as the equivalent engine rank. So if there has always been plenty of mates compared to the number of engineers, why do they earn ~ the same?

Where in the world, or, who do you work with currently? And you have you've earned your 1st class unlimited?

Sea Rover
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Re: Doom and Gloom

Postby Sea Rover » Mon Jul 31, 2017 4:44 am

Yes, I have my First Class. I did a Canadian Cadet Program and work as a C/E in Canada. While other Guys slept, drank, played with their kids and watched TV, I was wasting months and months studying Applied Mechanics, Thermodynamics, Electrotechnology, Naval Architecture, Motor and General knowledge. I did this because I saw a demand for that license figuring that demand would make it worth the effort. Now there will be no more demand and the joke is on me. All that effort for nothing, now they just give the Licenses away.

I decided to be an engineer because the graduates from the deck side weren't getting jobs after graduation. Every Engineer in my class got a "good" job right out of school. Let's face it, deciding to invest considerable time, money and effort to obtain credentials that enable me to fix a boat was pretty stupid. The deck side is the only way to go if you are foolish enough to work in a ship. I suppose that's why the outnumber us 4:1.

Now that you only have to do a two year program to get a "watchkeepers license" I suppose the tables will turn. The Mates will be relatively educated by comparison, having to do a four year program to enter the workforce. Engineers will truly be nothing more than support. I mean, in the past to be a Fourth Engineer you had to have many years of on the job experience as an ERA or do a four year cadet program. A two year program?! Basically, show you a picture of a ship, throw a wrench in you hand and send you on your way. The whole thing is ridiculous.

I'm just venting because I deeply regret ruining my life by working on ships and having what little job security I had taken away by TC.

Revolver
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Re: Doom and Gloom

Postby Revolver » Mon Jul 31, 2017 8:33 am

2 year program doesn't get exemptions for the proof of competency in the knowledge requirements; the equivalent of the part A's.

Sea Rover
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Re: Doom and Gloom

Postby Sea Rover » Mon Jul 31, 2017 9:46 am

But it does get you the equivalent of a 3rd/4th class license and enables you to stand a watch after only two years of study. So, we will literally have teenagers all alone in the engine room of large ships. That does not seem right to me.

Revolver
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Re: Doom and Gloom

Postby Revolver » Mon Jul 31, 2017 5:23 pm

Yeah, not disagreeing with that. But I've had cadets from MI to BC, first year to last year, and I think I've really only had 1 I'd be comfortable enough to give him a watch...
The real learning happens in the engine room, and the most important job of the 4th/3rd is to call the 2nd when shit goes down haha.

Honestly though, I don't want to make light of the new licensing regs... They're unsafe.
People I went to school with who still have their 4th class will be able to apply to move up without proving their knowledge... Some aren't that bright.

Now, that being said, do you think companies will keep incompetent officers as their seconds and Chief's? Some, maybe... As long as the ship runs, and they don't cost too much; until they do. And the shit hits the fan.
I'm hopeful the hiring process is going to have to weigh heavily on experience, 'reputation' and references...

I'm bummed that I won't get the opportunity to actually earn my 1st class... It feels like a real cop out. I was looking forward to having fun acing all the exams.

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JollyJack
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Re: Doom and Gloom

Postby JollyJack » Fri Aug 04, 2017 9:16 pm

The insurance industry will sort it all out. When they find out that whizz kids can't fix shit, the rates will go up, charter rates will fall and ship owners will lose money. That is the ONLY factor which is relevant, profits of ship owners.
Discourage incest, ban country "music".

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Big Pete
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Re: Doom and Gloom

Postby Big Pete » Sun Aug 06, 2017 1:09 am

Sea Rover, I didn't comment here because I was born and live in England and did all my studying and certification on this side of the pond, therefore I do not feel qualified to discuss changes in Canadian Rules that I do not know anything about and do not effect me, especially since I was made redundant over a year ago and do not plan to go back to Sea as I am nearer to being 65 than to 64 and want to catch up on all the family time I missed during 45 years at Sea.

I agree that there has been a general lowering of Standards World Wide, but basically Professional Standards for Ship's crew are set by the Accident Rate at Sea. If the Owners, P&I Clubs and Insurers feel that they are paying out too much for stupid mistakes and errors for the crew they will insist that standards are raised, if they think they can save more money by cutting wages and skills than it will cost them in accidents they will do so.
It has always been so, unless you want to live in Venezuela or North Korea.

BP
It is always better to ask a stupid question than to do a stupid thing.

Sea Rover
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Re: Doom and Gloom

Postby Sea Rover » Sun Aug 06, 2017 4:19 am

I wonder what the standards are for certification in, say, The UK and Norway? Are the they similar to what we are facing here? I can't imagine that Norway would have "give away tickets". I've been trying to look it up but its all in Norwegian!

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Big Pete
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Re: Doom and Gloom

Postby Big Pete » Sun Aug 06, 2017 12:07 pm

Hi Sea Rover, I don't know what your standards are in Canada!!
I have sailed with a few Canadian Deck Officers over the years but no Engineers, I would never draw conclusions about Natuional Standards on the basis of a handful of individuals.
Many of the Europeans go to Uni and get a Degree In Nautical Science or Marine Engineering before they ever step on board a ship, after that they are automatically awarded their Certificates after they have got the required Sea Time.
Many in the UK think that training standards over here have got worse, I enquired about lecturing jobs at one of Marine Schools and they were only paying about £18k!! a Motorman would earn much more at Sea! Many Cadets tell me that their Lecturers don't know anything,....
BP
It is always better to ask a stupid question than to do a stupid thing.

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JollyJack
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Re: Doom and Gloom

Postby JollyJack » Sun Aug 06, 2017 9:07 pm

"Those who can, do. Those who can't, teach.'
Discourage incest, ban country "music".


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