Maritime Monday for February 27th 2017: Spy Vs Spy

Another weeks worth of interesting nautical history from Monkey Fist via gCaptain. This week there seems to be a concentration on Russia. There’s also some cool info about tattooing, sea monsters, sailing school ships and salty old restaurants. Enjoy. 🙂

With only the clothes on their backs, 881 Aleuts from nine different island villages were …

Source: Maritime Monday for February 27th, 2017: Spy Vs Spy – gCaptain

Maritime Monday for February 20th 2017: Philosophenschiff

I imagine there must’ve been some very interesting conversations on that ship. And what a shame for the people of the USSR. They threw out so many beautiful minds. 😦

Here’s this weeks Maritime Monday from Monkey Fist via gCaptain…

The Ships That Helped Silence the Early USSR’s Intellectuals Russia exiled hundreds of academics …

Source: Maritime Monday for February 20th, 2017: Philosophenschiff – gCaptain

Maritime Monday for February 14th 2017: Portishead Radio

I didn’t know Claude Monet painted maritime art. I like this better than his water lilies. 🙂

Take a look at Monkey Fist’s weekly blast of interesting maritime news.

Portishead – Portishead (Full Album) on YouTube Tug and Barge Solutions  – “If you’re going …

Source: Maritime Monday for February 14th, 2017: Portishead Radio – gCaptain

Maritime Monday for January 31st 2017: Death in the Gulf Stream

Another weeks worth of fascinating maritime matters from Monkey Fist and gCaptain. This weeks especially interesting articles were about the SS St Louis. In honor of January 27th Holocaust Remembrance Day, there are a couple of great articles (also check it out on Twitter).

It’s especially relevant now because of the ongoing situation in the Middle East and the fleeing ‘refugees’. I have to admit, I am not whole heartedly going to welcome anyone who comes from over there. It’s a matter of their professed religion.

Yeah, I know. People will call me all kinds of nasty names (to my face or behind  my back). I know I really shouldn’t say these kinds of things online. No, they never go away. But I think this all needs to come out in open discussion. No, not just smearing anyone who says this kind of thing as ‘racist’, ‘homophobe’, ‘antisemite’, etc. that just shuts down all attempts at communication. No, not just assuming you’re so much better, so much more enlightened, than someone who would say these kinds of things.

You know, I think one of the main reasons Trump got elected (regardless of how scared people were about his nuttiness, arrogance, temper, etc) was because he spoke his mind and didn’t play around with the mealy-mouthed politically correct crap everybody else has been saddled with for the last couple of decades. I didn’t vote for him, but I sure as hell enjoyed hearing him tell it like he thinks it. We all ought to have freedom of speech, without having to self-censor!

Personally I really don’t like any religion, but I especially don’t like the ones where their greatest objective (according to their holy book) is to kill people like me (unbelievers)! If anyone knows of a fool-proof method to tell who is a devout muslim who wants to follow the koran, and an ordinary person who really doesn’t give a damn about religion but just plays along to get along, please let me know. I’ll pass it on to Trump and maybe we can figure out how to solve the refugee problem.

In the meantime, check out this weeks Maritime Monday, there’s a lot more in there!

more: A Tribute to the “Picasso of Sailing” – Mike Peyton on yachtsandyachting.com Haunting Twitter …

Source: Maritime Monday for January 31st, 2017: Death in the Gulf Stream – gCaptain

Color Your World: 28 Almond

Today’s color for Jennifer’s Color Your World challenge is: almond. Here’s a reference…

A lot of these colors look alike to me- almond, apricot, peach, desert sand- mango tango and burnt orange- copper and antique brass. Can you tell them apart? I sure have a hard time! Why do they need crayon colors so close together nobody can tell them apart unless they’re studied under a microscope?

I always thought part of the fun of drawing/painting/being creative was learning to blend the colors you had to make the ones you wanted. I’ve been trying to learn to paint lately. I sure as hell don’t want to go buy every color I might need to make a painting come out. That would cost a fortune! I’m learning the color wheel and how the different colors relate to each other.

It’s a challenge to make just the right color to make your painting ‘pop’. It’s fun too. Here’s an example of what I mean. I painted this a few years ago, when I was working as an AB on the tankships running up the West Coast to Alaska. Of course, I didn’t bring any paint with me. I scrounged around in the paint locker til I found what I needed.

I made that whole colorful undersea scene with only a few colors of deck paint. I know I had black, white, signal red, yellow, international orange, green and blue. That was pretty much it.

I must sound like an old geezer, ‘well sonny, back in myyyyy day, we used to color with only 8 colors in the box!’ I actually got the 64 crayon box later when I was growing up, but did I ever use all of those colors- nope. Does anyone use all of the 120 colors this challenge is based on? I think I would have a hard time using up a whole box of crayons myself. 😉

Anyway, here’s my entry for the challenge color of ‘almond’…

I took this photo in November while I was traveling around Turkey. I had a great time wandering all over Istanbul and Cappadocia where I took this photo of one of the many ancient rock churches at Goreme. It was a lot of fun scrambling around amid all this history, seeing how the people lived and worshipped all those years ago. I only regret that they didn’t allow any photography inside (even without flash). I really would have liked to have got a few shots of the beautiful frescos inside. I’ll just have to be satisfied with the internet. 😦

Maritime Monday for January 23rd 2017

More fascinating maritime history from Monkey Fist by way of gCaptain. This week there’s some interesting stories about the Vikings, some Irish monks, and the true story of how Gambia (the country) came to be. There’s another story about an underwater ‘art museum’, a new one- not the one off Cancun.

There’s a story about yet another #$%^##$% ship owner/operator who treats their crews like shit and than abandons them without pay. These poor guys have spent 7 months onboard without pay. Would you work for that long without a paycheck? Me neither! But these guys (and so many others) really had no choice. They can’t just say to hell with this shit and leave. Where can they go? Jump overboard? And then forfeit all their hard earned wages for the months they’ve already worked? And then, how to get home? India is a long way from the North Sea!

This type of work is not easy. Besides the fact of being away from home for months on end, there is the weather to deal with (the North Sea in winter is no fun!), the job they’re hired to do is dangerous. They earned their pay and they deserve to be paid on time, not sluffed off with lame excuses! Not abandoned and left to fend for themselves with no food, water, money, fuel in some foreign country where they might not even know the language!

This is just one more example of the all too common situation in the shipping industry today. The race to the bottom. ‘Globalization’. Americans are used to being replaced by cheap labor by now. Looks like the Brits are getting used to it too. 😦 This ship is crewed by Indians! I guess it’s their turn now. They are now getting replaced by even cheaper labor!

How does this race to the bottom, becoming standard now- to treat your seamen like so many tools to be used up and then thrown away- how does this really help anyone? Americans losing out to Filipinos, who are losing out to Indians, who are losing out to Ukrainians, who are losing out to Indonesians, who are losing out to Malaysians. Where does it end? With ‘crew less’ ships (they are coming). Shipping rates are so low now it’s cheaper to send something across the ocean and back then to truck it across the state! The added cost to anything you’re going to buy is a very small part of its price.

This particular ship actually has it good. Apparently they still have food, water and power aboard. It’s stuck in Britain and the crew is allowed ashore. The people of the town are able to visit, they help as they can- they bring coffee and biscuits. It’s better than they would get in most places. Here- for instance- where they would most definitely NOT be allowed off the ship. Nor would anyone be allowed to visit (except maybe the port chaplain, ships agent, etc- all on ships business). Thanks TSA, PATRIOT ACT, etc. 😦

This sort of thing is all too common. The MLC (maritime labor convention) has some new rules that just came into force Jan 18. Hopefully it will put some teeth into the rules regarding treatment of seafarers. It’s long past due.

The Lyford House being saved from demolition, 1957 Built in 1876, the house is listed …

Source: Maritime Monday for January 23rd, 2017 – gCaptain

Color Your World: 20 Desert Sand

For Jennifer’s Color Your World challenge, todays color is ‘desert sand‘. Another color I had to look up online. Here it is for reference.

Here’s my photo. I took it a couple of months ago. I was on an African safari. I spent a few days on Zanzibar. This is a photo of the Old Fort there in Stonetown. It was really a pretty cool place. People had set up little stalls around the walls. They sold all kinds of crafts. Inside was full of shops and bars. There was a big arena too. There were some guys practicing their break dancing, they were pretty entertaining. It was an interesting place to relax and enjoy the atmosphere.

Maritime Monday for January 16th 2017- A Warm Broadside

Last week went by too fast! It’s time for another email full of interesting maritime info from Monkey Fist and Maritime Monday. This week I really enjoyed the old photos of the Tower Bridge. It brought back good memories of staying nearby in St Katharines yacht harbor. I was able to stay aboard an old sailing barge there for a whole summer after I graduated high school.

This week Monkey Fist shares articles about a couple of books that look interesting. “Fanny Hill: Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure”. Considered the “first original English prose pornography” and banned in Massachusetts,  I doubt it gets as explicit as the “Fifty Shades’ series which I just finished reading, but might be worth a peek.

The other one is “Scurvy: the Disease of Discovery”. Of course I knew about scurvy, and not just from the old ‘pirate’ thing, calling everyone a ‘scurvy dog’. I had no idea it killed so many people. More than 3 times as many as died in the Civil War?! I’ll definitely be on the lookout for this book.

Check out the rest of the post…

Old Dragon’s Head: Where the Great Wall of China Meets the Sea Old Dragon …

Source: Maritime Monday for January 16th, 2017- A Warm Broadside – gCaptain

Songs of the Sea: So Far From the Clyde

I have to say thanks to the Old Salt Blog for sending me news of this song in my email this morning. 🙂

I’ve never heard of it before. I’m not really familiar with Mark Knopfler, even tho I know a few songs by Dire Straits. After listening to this song, I’ll be sure to track down more of his stuff.

As a seafarer, I know exactly what he’s singing about. It’s a sad song about riding his ship to the breakers. So many great ships were built in Scotland, on the Clyde. I’ve even been on one- the famous tea clipper, Cutty Sark. She’s kept near London now, as a museum.

Most ships are brought round to the breakers in the Indian Ocean. They’re driven ashore in Pakistan or India. It’s just so much easier and cheaper to get rid of them there. That’s a story in itself. National Geographic even did a photo essay on it recently.

I’ve never done it yet myself. I would like to once, before I have to give up sailing. Closest I came was to deliver the tanker “Coastal New York” to a shipyard in China for scrapping.

Listen to the lyrics…

“So Far From The Clyde”

They had a last supper the day of the beaching
She’s a dead ship sailing skeleton crew
The galley is empty, the stove pots are cooling
What’s left of the stew
The time is approaching, the captain moves over
The hangman steps in to do what he’s paid for
With the wind down the tide she goes proud ahead steaming
And he drives her hard into the shore

So far from the Clyde
Together we ride, we did ride

A drift to a wave from her bows to her rudder
Bravely she rises to meet with the land
Under their feet you can feel the Kings shudder
The shallow sea washes their hands
Later the captain shakes hands with the hangman
Climbs slowly down to the oily wet ground
Goes back to the car that has come here to take him
Through the graveyard back to the town

So far from the Clyde
Together we ride, we did ride

They pull out her cables and hack off her hatches
Too poor to be wasteful with pity or time
They swarm on her carcass with torches and axes
Like a whale on a bloody shoreline
Stripped of her pillars her stays and her stanchions
When it’s only her bones on the wet poison land
Steel robbers will drag her with winches and engines
Till it’s only a stain on the sea

So far from the Clyde
Together we ride, we did ride
So far from the Clyde
Together we ride, we did ride

Maritime Monday for January 2nd 2017: Let the whale be the whale

Another week of the most interesting maritime matters. Thanks to Monkey Fist and gCaptain for sending out the news…

A large whale, believed to be a humpback, was spotted in the East River in …

Source: Maritime Monday for January 2nd, 2017: Let the whale be the whale – gCaptain

More Questions From the Alien

I know most people find it absolutely inconceivable that we can exist without a government to run things. Personally, I just can’t understand that mind frame. I just don’t get it.

Why do so many people think they can’t figure out how to run their own lives without some far off ‘leader’ making all the important decisions for them? I mean it’s ridiculous right?

Here in the USA, ‘the most free country in the world’, our government saddles us with hundreds of thousands of ‘laws’. The Code of Federal Regulations had over 34,000 pages (and weighed 340 lbs) in 2011!!!

Our leaders force us to follow their directions in everything from deciding what we can do with our own bodies (can’t decide what to eat, drink, smoke, etc), to what we can do with ‘our’ property, to what we can do for a living (and how). Their interference is never-ending!

We have laws to: fine or imprison us for drinking raw milk, force us to drink fluoridated water, regulate the amount of water you can use to flush your toilet, force you to tie yourself up every time you get in your car (seatbelt), force you to use expensive and shorter lasting lightbulbs, fine or imprison you for collecting the rain water that falls on your property, throw you in prison for using a harmless plant (marijuana), force you to pay them (government) in order to start a business (extortion), force you to pay them in order to get a job (extortion), force you to support a corrupt and exceedingly expensive medical system (obamacare), allow ‘our leaders’ to get away with NOT following the ‘laws’ they FORCE the rest of us to follow!

And there are hundreds of thousands of others. 😦

Yet, some people still believe that all this is somehow necessary. I will continue to ask WHY? Since it really is NOT necessary, no not at all! People existed in peaceful societies long before there was any such thing as ‘government’.

No, we do NOT need the government to ‘build roads’, ‘educate the children’, ‘catch the thieves/bad guys’, etc. People were perfectly capable of doing all those things (and everything else they needed to do) without any government.

I’ve been a libertarian ever since I understood what the word meant (nonaggression principle), and really since I was born. I never understood the need for ‘authority’ and have fought it all my life.

I KNOW I can run my life better than anyone else can. Yes, even tho I’ve made mistakes and will surely make more. I STILL know that no one else could’ve done better. Period! I understand that works the same for everybody on this planet (and everywhere else!).

It is simply impossible for anyone else to have all the knowledge that I do about my life (same for everybody else). Without perfect knowledge, there can be no perfect decisions. Since I have the MOST perfect knowledge, then my decision is the BEST one possible. Period.

Until there is some all knowing, all powerful, perfect being (some say there is- God- but that’s another issue I don’t want to get into now), then there is NO justification for letting ANYONE else control YOUR decisions about YOUR life. PERIOD!

The US Constitution tried to create a ‘proper’ government. One where the PEOPLE were sovereign, as they should be. The principles behind the Declaration of Independence and written in the Bill of Rights were a great start for a great country.

The first ever formed specifically and only to guarantee and protect the rights of the individual. Our founding fathers understood that those rights were inherent to every human being and did NOT come from any government.

Too bad we’ve decided to disregard all that stuff. We’ve decided to throw our heritage of freedom and individual liberty in the garbage and become like every other socialist country in the world (most of them failures in many ways). It’s just a matter of degree.

We used to understand the difference between individualism and statism. Not any more. We’re all statists now, everywhere around the world. We’re lucky we’re still living on what we were able to create when we were still fairly free and able to be creative. Those days are fading fast.

I liked how the little alien from my post the other day asked such great questions. Here it is again with some more to make you think…

Maritime Monday for December 26th 2016

Here’s another Maritime Monday thanks to Monkey Fist and gCaptain. Enjoy the weekly shot of maritime news and history…

Berenice Abbott (July 17, 1898 – December 9, 1991) was an American photographer best known for …

Source: Maritime Monday for December 26th, 2016 – gCaptain

Maritime Monday for December 19th 2016: Minced Oath

Another week’s gone by already. I’ve hardly noticed. It seems I can keep busy doing absolutely nothing useful. 😉

I did try to keep up with my emails through the week, if I don’t I just have to delete them all, they just get overwhelming. I always enjoy reading the Maritime Monday emails I get from gCaptain.

This week, there’s some interesting stuff about Christmas (of course) and maritime history. I really liked the cool wrapping paper!

Royal Navy pilot Jock Moffat – credited with launching the torpedo which crippled the Bismarck in …

Source: Maritime Monday for December 19th, 2016: Minced Oath – gCaptain

Maritime Monday for December 12th 2016: Farpotshket

More interesting maritime tidbits from Monkey Fist via gCaptain. I never thought about it before, do you know any ‘good’ octopus’s?

Latest Update from the Mary A Whalen at Portside NY: David Levine contributed a useful …Source: Maritime Monday for Decemeber 12th, 2016: Farpotshket – gCaptain

Maritime Monday for December 5th, 2016

Here’s another of Monkey Fists’ always interesting Maritime Monday posts. I’m still in New Orleans, but heading home tonight. Hope to catch up soon (if I don’t get lucky and find a job). Tighter marine fuel sulfur limits will spark changes by both refiners and vessel operators The …

Source: Maritime Monday for December 5th, 2016 – gCaptain

Goreme Open Air Museum

I’ve been busy the last couple of days. I’ve been touring around Cappadocia. Late last night, I returned to Istanbul. Today I decided to take a little bit of a break. Tomorrow will start another week of early mornings and long days as I head off into Africa. 🙂

On arrival in Cappadocia, I was loaded into a van with a few other world travelers. One man from Chile, one from Malaysia, one from the Netherlands and a couple of couples from other places in Turkey. We were going on the ‘Red Tour” today.

In addition to the weird and other worldly landscape of the area, the most interesting part (to me) was the Goreme Open Air Museum. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage site and definitely worth a visit.

The museum showcases an ancient religious center, full of rock carved dwellings, churches, monasteries, nunneries, etc. Our tour guide Vaysi was very good. He explained everything in English and Turkish (and sometimes Spanish for the Chilean guy). Vaysi also speaks Chinese and Portuguese if you’re interested. 😉

I was impressed with the frescos. Many of the churches had frescos of Jesus Christ, the Saints, and many of the important events from the Bible. Plenty of them are still vibrant after thousands of years. Too bad they don’t allow photography inside most of the caves (they worry about the flash harming the frescos and don’t want to deal with separating out those who don’t have flash on their cameras- people like me). 😦

 

It was amazing how the people managed to build all these places so long ago.

The entire area is covered in hundreds of meters of volcanic ash, some of it is ‘tuff’. Tuff is a soft, easily carved stone. The people in this area have been making use of this property for millennia. They’ve carved homes, churches, even entire cities out of the stone. Some people still live in the ‘cave houses’. The hotel I stayed in had rooms carved out of the rock (mine wasn’t one of those).

I wondered how they managed to climb up and down so high every day. How did they get their food and water and everything else they needed all the way up to those caves? Personally I found it exhausting just walking around to the lower ones. We spent a couple of hours exploring the highlights. There was a lot more to see if you wanted to spend all day wandering around.

Istanbul

Istanbul! What an exciting city! I hear the seagulls cry, the ships distant whistle, the calls of the street vendors selling roasted chestnuts and corn on the cob. I smell the sea air mixed with cumin, coriander, cinnamon and apples.

The sense of history here is intoxicating. The locals are used to it, but it amazes me to walk along the hippodrome past the Spiral Column sunk almost 10 feet down into the ground. The ground level of 2000 years ago.

I spent yesterday soaking up the history of this place. I started out practically next door to my hotel. Walking up the street to the Arasta Market and right next door to the Mosaic Museum.

Again, the mosaics were at ground level from 2000 years ago, so we walked along a platform to see them on the ground. Some smaller ones were mounted on the walls where we could see them close up. There were good explanations in English (and other languages).

Outside the Mosaic Museum is the Blue Mosque. Just across the street is the Islamic Arts museum. Pass by the construction in front of the entrance door and climb the stairs. Make your way around dozens of small galleries showcasing various ancient civilizations with an Islamic focus.

I was most impressed with the books (Qu’rans mostly). They were absolutely gorgeous! The fine, delicate decorations, the flowing script, the golden ink. The information cards listed the calligraphers (as they should), their work was simply stunning!

From there, cross over behind the Aya Sofia (museum) to find the Carpet Museum. This one was not included on the Museum Pass (85 TL for 5 days). It cost 9 TL. There were 3 galleries to look at. The carpets were displayed very nicely, but except for the 2nd gallery they were very short on information.

Outside the Carpet Museum is the main gate into Topkapi Palace. I managed to look at the Aya Irini (another old Byzantine church), and the Archaeology Museum before being chased out at closing time (5 pm).

The church is old and empty, you’re not allowed to go upstairs and there’s netting to keep the pigeon shit and feathers from falling on you. I would skip it if I was pressed for time. The Archaeology Museum is another story. It was very impressive!

There is a whole forest of ancient tombstones, columns, and statues outside. There are at least 3 different buildings to explore. The first one I looked at had a huge selection of tombstones and sarcophagi. It was very impressive. The detail work was amazing. Some of those things were huge! I wondered how many people did they put in there?

There is another building full of ceramics. It had a domed ceiling, surrounded by stained glass windows, and tile on the walls- some of them decorated with gold paint. How beautiful!

Each room showed the different styles of ceramic from different time periods and civilizations. Some of it was fairly crude work, some of it was extremely fine and delicate. I loved the beautiful swirling patterns of blue and white.

The last building I was able to explore was under construction. I had to walk through a long passage covered in white plastic. The actual museum started out with life sized marble statues of the gods. Artemis, Apollo and more.

They were setting up an exhibit with TV screens, ‘Are We Human’. It looked very interesting. I saw something about 2000 years of history in Aleppo, showing the latest destruction. I would have liked more time to try to figure out what was going on. There was something else about oil- ‘leave it in the ground’- which I really wanted to learn more about, but I was running out of time.

Upstairs, Istanbul through the Ages was a very thorough timeline of artifacts found nearby and more history of the people who lived around this area and Turkey. I was only halfway through the second floor when a guard told me it was time to leave (at only 20 til 5).

Maritime Monday for October 24th 2016

Lots of interesting history this week. Thanks to gCaptain and Monkey Fist for sharing. I never learned anything about Robert Smalls in school. Did you?

Mystery of the WWI U-Boat and the ‘sea monster’ solved How a bungling German …

Source: Maritime Monday for October 24th, 2016 – gCaptain

Maritime Monday for October 3rd 2016

Another great collection of Maritime news from Monkey Fist and gCaptain. Enjoy!

Beer Company Develops Edible Six-Pack Rings That Feed, Rather Than Kill, Marine Life A …

Source: Maritime Monday for October 3rd, 2016 – gCaptain

USCG

I’ll be busy today. I’m heading up to Houston this morning to renew my RADAR certification, then to turn in my application at the US Coast Guard (USCG). I heard about a job lead from a friend yesterday, so I plan to stop by their office and try again (I’ve already sent them an email about the job).

I’m getting more than a little frustrated about the work situation. Having to deal with the USCG so often is getting extremely aggravating. I do not believe that anyone should be forced to beg permission from their government in order to earn a living. No, no one, ever, for ANY job, for ANY reason. Period!

Especially in America which is supposed to be a free country. Which was specifically formed in order to limit the government. Which was not supposed to have any power to do anything like that!

It was never so insane as it has become lately. The USCG has bowed down to the ‘international community’ and has forced US mariners to submit to the regulations of the STCW (standards of training, certification and watch keeping) put out by the IMO (international maritime organization).

Most of the STCW regulations are just plain stupid (IMHO). They are there for absolutely no purpose but to make the regulators feel like they have done something useful, and of course to make money for the ‘training’ operations at the expense of the mariners who basically have no opportunity to say anything about it.

They sell this all by insisting it has something to do with ‘safety’. I don’t believe it does, but even if it did, it certainly does not make up for all the extra BS they put us through for it. SO much time, money and aggravation to each and every mariner!

How can anyone look at our licensing scheme in the past and what we have to deal with now and say it makes any sense? It does not. In any way.

When I started going to sea (seriously) in 1978, I got a mariners document that was good for life. Yes, the officers had to renew every 5 years, but they only had to apply and renew RADAR. That’s it!

Now, all documents must be renewed every 5 years and there is an absolutely ridiculous amount of ‘training’ that needs to be renewed every 5 years as well. That all needs to be done at USCG approved ‘training’ centers. That is all very time consuming and expensive.

Are we any better sailors for it? I can guarantee you the answer to that is NO! Try to compare an AB from 100 years ago, the ones on the windjammers, to an AB today. There is just no comparison. The same goes for the officers.

Those guys had NO formal training and NO licensing either (until they, themselves insisted on it- as usual, in order to keep out the competition).

The improvements in safety since then had to do with improvements in the technology, NOT in the training or licensing of the crew. Any loss of safety has more to do with economics than anything else. Meaning companies cutting down on crew size, maintenance and tight scheduling.

Of course, as usual, the companies will blame anything and everything on the crew. It is always ‘human error’ that is at fault. Never their fault for pushing the ships and crews beyond what would be prudent (or safe).

They talk safety til it’s coming out your ears, but when it starts costing them a few bucks, that all goes right out the window! I’ve seen very few companies (in over 40 years at sea) that actually follow through. I can’t count the times I’ve been told “if you won’t do it we’ll just find someone who will”. It’s certainly not just happening to me!

How many mariners are able to walk off the job when that situation comes up? Not many.

Until that changes, all the ‘training’ in the world is not going to help anything much.

Just put more and more of us out of work, unable to pay for the ‘training’ we need in order to even try to find a job.

More and more companies are insisting on more and more ‘training’, more certificates- before they’ll even consider talking to you. For instance, I’ve been trying to work worldwide. The European companies want you to have something called BOSIET, which is exactly the same thing as what employers here insist on called BST + HUET.

The only difference is about an hours worth of ‘training’ on something called a ‘re-breather’. There is no ‘gap-closing’ course. So, I can not apply for any of those jobs unless I waste another entire week and spend a few thousand dollars to take the BOSIET course!

I’ve been out of work since last September. I can’t afford to take any more classes. Luckily, I’ve already taken the latest newly required classes (Leadership and Management and ECDIS). I only have to renew my RADAR certification, which I plan to do today.

Why do we have to renew this stuff (or even take a course ashore in the first place)? There really is no reason other than to ensure a fine flow of mariners to the training centers. These classes are all about things we either do every day (RADAR, BST), or won’t make any difference to anything anyway (leadership).

No one ever seems to take into account the mariners. The people who are the actual experts on the subject at hand. The people who’ve actually been forced into complying with these new requirements. It’s all done in our name, but we’re never asked our opinions, we never have anything to say about any of it!

We have all taken these jobs for certain reasons. One of the biggest reasons is for the time off. We spend weeks, months, more (some spend years), at sea. Working 24/7 without a break. We hardly even get shore leave any more. We are supposed to be able to come home and take a well deserved break!

Not any more. That time off has been whittled away, more and more, by so called ‘training’. Training that is supposed to be so all-fired important that it’s worth taking up weeks or months of our well earned and deserved time off (without any compensation for the loss). But that training is the exact same thing we do onboard!

If it’s so damned important, why can’t the companies spend the money to ensure their people are trained? Especially when so many of them absolutely refuse to accept anyone else’s ‘training’ even when it’s exactly the same (except for the name)! Most of it is stuff anyone who’s spent even a week working offshore will know by heart!

I keep wondering what’s going to happen when shipping picks up again? There are so many of us out of work. Hundred of thousands around the world, and that’s just for the oilfield, not even counting deep sea shipping! How many can afford to take the necessary training to be ABLE to go back to work when the jobs start opening up again?

We need to have 150 days on a vessel in the last 5 years. We ALSO now need to re-take quite a few courses in a certain time frame before our papers need to be renewed (mostly a year). How many jobs ashore will give you the time off or pay you enough so that you can renew those classes? I can tell you right now the answer to that question- NONE!

IMHO, the STCW is about nothing more than helping the shipowners replace “expensive” American/European/Australian mariners with cheaper sailors from places like the Philippines. They’re now able to say, “they all have the exact same training” (according to the STCW), so why not hire an entire crew of Philippinos for the price of 1 American? That is exactly what they have been doing since the STCW came into force. 😦

I hate to think I’m going to be forced to retire. I still love working at sea. But I can see the end coming and it’s not pretty for American mariners. 😦