I have just retired from 30 years with NTCL. What Stokes says is pretty on the money as far as schedule and pay. The incentives he is talking about when dealing with taking a Mid Season Break (MSB), was inserted into the contract at the last set of negotiations, and works out to close to 14,000 dollars for NOT taking holidays. If you are a family person, this length of season will be hard. The vessels are old but have been on the most part well maintained, but in the last few years there seems to be a shift to saving money and spending less on maintenance. And with the advancing age of the workforce, this has mean't new engineers being hired that have less expierience working in Arctic environments. Thus there has been an accident where a vessel was not winterized properly and basically sunk at the dock in Tuk harbour. One main engine and both gearboxes under water, not a good thing.
One main worry throughtout the fleet on the Western Operations (Hay River), is the lack of communication between the East Coast Operation and the West Coast. The Eastern branch seems to work on a "Do as you please, when you want, however which way you want, and don't expect to get any money for it" type of organization. The vessels they charter are old and in very, very sad shape. It is like the Western division works with the Unions while the Eastern division does not want anything to do with Unions. They are 2 completly different organizations, with different hiring practices and work ethics.
Over the last 5 years, the company has had a void in its Engineering Organization in its Western division. There has been no serious Engineering Representation in the office structure. This is now showing its ugly face in real terms with the maintenance that is now required to keep these vessels going. There have been vessels being repowered with modern Cat 3512's, and are now showing signs of weardown that should not have occurred until another 5 years from now, and still no one in the office has sufficient knowledge or expierience to be able to explain what is happening or to know how to investigate why this is happening. If you are thinking of taking on an engineering position with this company, plan on almost no office support from any knowledgeable engineering staff. I will not go into all of the organizational defects here, for there are far too many too list, but suffice it to say that things are getting worse and not better. But then, this might turn around, who knows what the future holds.
As far as working with the rest of the crews goes, this has always been a great place to work with a great bunch of people, this being the Western side of things, for I have never worked on the Eastern side, and will never work for those penny pinchers.
I hope this helped, good luck in your work pursuit.