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

Watch: 10 Reasons Why Maritime SUCKS

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tdMYEKwxTyo Here’s a new upload from maritime Youtuber …

He really makes a lot of good points. I have to agree with him on pretty much everything he says. Yes, things are much, much better for sailors than in the days of Richard Henry Dana’s “Two Years Before the Mast“, but they’ve sure as hell been going downhill since the 1960’s!

Yes, the ships are built with all the latest technology, but the crews have been cut in half and more! Our workload has been constantly increasing, with less and less personnel to do it all!

Yes, our pay has gone up- but not nearly as much as it would take to keep up with inflation. Considering all the expenses we now have added on in order to be allowed to work offshore, we’re actually earning much less than we were in the past.

Yes, communications have improved- for the ship. Not necessarily for the crew. There are still so many ship owners/operators who think of their crews as nothing more than another tool to use and abuse, not human beings like themselves. People who also have a life off the ship (if they have people who choose to stick around and wait for the sailor who may not be able to contact them for months at a time- which is not very likely now a days when everyone expects instant gratification).

I said I would never again work for someone who treated me like that, but I never in my life thought things would get this bad out there! Even with the advent of the STCW, which I immediately saw for what it was (an easy way for shipowners to rid themselves of ‘expensive’ first world crews), I still never imagined how small the box I’ve been shoved into has become!

I always figured that when it got slow offshore, I could ship out on a tugboat, or a tanker, or some other kind of vessel. Well, due to the US Coast Guard constantly changing the rules (and not always putting out the notifications they are required to by law), it is no longer possible to switch sectors like we could before.

Now, if you work on a tanker, you must stay on a tanker or you will lose your ability to ever go back to that kind of work without paying enormous fees to be ‘trained’, (ex: $1,100 for course, $500+ for lodging, $300+ for transport, $300+ for food). To do the same thing you’ve been doing for 5, 10, 15 years in the past ! Same goes for almost every type of vessel now. Passenger vessels only want people with that specific type of experience and paperwork. Towing vessels can only take people with towing endorsements. DP vessels will only take people with DP certificates. Etc.

I’m lucky I’m not a sailor from the Philippines, or China, or any of the other ‘third world’ (meaning low wage) countries where the overwhelming majority of seafarers come from now a days. For an American, working for MSC (Military Sealift Command) is probably the longest hitch out there. It’s supposedly 4 months long. I hear from friends it’s more like 6. Those poor crews from the Philippines are working for 2 years at a time before they can go home!

Most American ships are in pretty decent shape. They’re in great condition compared to a lot of the crap I’ve seen sailing around the world from other countries. Ships with ‘flags of convenience‘. Owners flag their ships outside of their own countries for financial reasons. They can get cheaper crews, bother with less rules and regulations, pay less taxes and fees, etc. Some of them are decent, but many of them are not. Check out this report by the ITF, they do a pretty good job of keeping track of this stuff. Or this, which makes the ITF report look tame.

Watch the video for a pretty good run down of what to expect shipping out. He doesn’t really get into the good parts. But then again, there aren’t too many good parts left anymore. 😦

Any of you sailors out there, I’d be very interested to get your take on both the video and my comments on it.

Source: Watch: 10 Reasons Why Maritime SUCKS (Things To Consider Before Joining Merchant Marine) – JeffHK – 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 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

So Cool!

I’ve always loved dolphins and whales. I always wanted to be able to swim freely in the ocean with them. So far, I’ve never been this close to any out in the wild. I’m pretty sure it’s against ‘the rules’ to get so close to them or to touch them like these people were doing. Tho I have to admit, I would have a hard time holding back myself if they came so close. I think they’re beautiful and intelligent creatures. I hate to see how much we’ve destroyed their world, and yet they’re still mostly OK with us. 🙂

Mother Whale and Calf with people on whale watching trip. Very cool to see the Momma raising her Baby to show it the funny looking humans! Like a revers Zoo, were the people out to see the Whales, or was the Momma Whale teaching her baby about humans? The big momma Whale held her baby […]

via Mother Whale Lifting Her Baby to See Humans on Boat — 2012 The Awakening

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

Good News

I finally got some good news today. The mail came with my new, corrected, USCG license! I sent it in to the Coast Guard on September 29. So, it only (major sarcasm) took them a little less than 3 months to process a simple renewal.

My license expired December 16, so I figured I had plenty of time. Even with the end of the year rush due to new STCW ‘gap-closing’ requirements.

Every time I checked, for over 2 months, my license status was listed as PQEB. Waiting for an evaluator. Strange, cause they sent my medical certificate back within a week. I had no idea why it was taking so long until I got some help from the Coast Guard’s National Mariner Center booth at the Workboat Show in early December. They got things moving immediately and helped a lot.

I did actually apply for one extra endorsement. Maybe that was the reason for the holdup? I asked for the OIM (offshore installation manager). Reading the rules, I figured I was eligible. I had already taken stability for my Chief Mates license. I already had a few rig moves, under supervision and while in charge.

Since I am already a Master Mariner, that should have covered me for the OIM endorsement. The rules are different if you’re not already holding that license.

But, the USCG has decided that the much more intense stability course I took is not applicable for this endorsement. I need to take a much simpler course which is only specific to certain vessels (mostly MODU’s– mobile offshore drilling units). I learned all this after finally being assigned to an evaluator after the Workboat Show.

The rules also say that at least one of the rig moves must be within the last year.

So, since I was laid off by Ocean Rig in September of 2015, I have not worked since then, I’m shit out of luck until I can go back to work again. I can’t afford to take the necessary course until I find work again anyway, so the whole thing is moot.

The whole point of asking for the endorsement was in hopes it would help me find a job so I could go back to work again.

After a couple of emails back and forth about all this (the GC rep was very helpful and fast to respond), I decided to just drop the request for the endorsement and just renew everything I already had.

I got an email the next day that my MMD (merchant mariner document) was in the mail! The process moved along pretty quick once assigned an evaluator.  I was feeling pretty good until I got my document a few days later and looked it over.

For some reason they restricted me to only vessels without ECDIS. I had taken that course as well for my Chief Mate license. I couldn’t have qualified to sit for the test without it. The CG rep told me that the class I took couldn’t have been approved back then.

Well, why would I have taken it then? The USCG gives us a listing of all the approved courses and all the approved schools where we can take them. Of course I checked the list and would never have gone anywhere to take any class that wasn’t on the list. It would have been a total waste of time and money since the certificate earned would not be valid!

After a few days of arguing and sending documents to the USCG, all the while freaking out about having to re-take another expensive week long course and not being allowed to work after December 31, 2016, the CG allowed that the course I took was actually OK.

Whew!

So, today I finally got my MMD, one that has everything I need to show in order to go back to work. Now I just need a job!

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

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 September 26th 2016: Encore Performance

This weeks Maritime Monday is a good one. I do love art of all kinds, and especially maritime art (of course). This week there’s a very nice showcase of artists who liked to work on maritime subjects down through history. There’s also a mention of a new group, the “Sea Sisters”. I’ll definitely be checking them out. A neat article about the elevators on the Three Gorges Dam (I was excited to be able to cruise through there before the dam was finished), what an impressive project! Thanks to Monkey Fist and gCaptain for sharing all this great stuff!

The World’s Largest Elevator Can Lift 6.7 Million Pounds of Ship sploid.gizmodo …

Source: Maritime Monday for September 26th, 2016: Encore Performance – gCaptain

Maritime Monday for September 19th 2016: Disjecta membra

Arrrgh, it’s Monday already again. The good thing about it is- it’s officially ‘International Talk Like a Pirate Day’. Aye, we wait for this all year. 😉

Check out Monkey Fist’s post of the week’s interesting maritime stuff. Flotsam and jetsam from all over the world.

Don’t forget to head to Krispy Kreme for your free donuts and Long John Silvers for a free sandwich. Thanks to both for supporting us pirates! 🙂

“There were no marks to separate one day from another, no rule whereby to measure …

Source: Maritime Monday for September 19th, 2016: Disjecta membra – gCaptain

Meet the Adorable “Sea Bunny” Taking Over the Internet

I started a series I was calling ‘Wild Wednesdays’ a while back. It’s been a long time since I’ve had the time to look for any interesting creatures to post about there. This one just popped up in my email one day recently and I thought- how perfect for a Wild Wednesday post! Too bad I’ve been too busy to make the post on Wednesday.

Not actually getting anything done, but busy as hell regardless. So, it’s late but I hope you enjoy it. I think it’s cute. 😉 Despite its cute and cuddly appearance, this little sea creature is actually a kind of slug.

Source: Meet the Adorable “Sea Bunny” Taking Over the Internet

Maritime Monday for September 5th, 2016: Dem Bones, Dem Bones

Another great post from Monkey Fist for Maritime Monday! Can’t get over the one about cafe’s inside the whale’s head! There’s a ‘cute’ video about pirates (language) and interesting history of the Steamboat Arabia. Enjoy! 🙂

Chiclet, ship’s cat aboard the historic tanker Mary A Whalen in NY’s Atlantic Basin, now digging in her claws in preparation for Hermine WarHistoryOnline – Much Like the Allies’ later D-Day plans, Operation Sealion was marked by daring and ingenuity In the early Seventies I worked as a lighthouse keeper on three islands off the […]

Source: Maritime Monday for September 5th, 2016: Dem Bones, Dem Bones – gCaptain

Maritime Monday for July 18th, 2016

I’ve always enjoyed this Maritime Monday series from Monkey Fist and so glad they’re back again. Thanks to Monkey Fist and to gCaptain for promoting them. There’s so much interesting history, science, art, music, movies, culture and just all around maritime fun. 🙂

I hope you enjoy this weeks collection of maritime stuff in Maritime Monday…

Scientists call for better plastics design to protect marine life Improved materials would encourage recycling and prevent single-use containers from entering the oceans  “[It comes from] 60 years of being a throwaway society,” Thompson said. Most of the plastic litter comes from single-use items, which have been inadequately disposed of and not recycled. “They have […]

Source: Maritime Monday for July 18th, 2016 – gCaptain

PS- My first job as third officer was on a sister ship to the Okeanos Explorer. Another T-AGOS ship, the USNS Invincible.

300px-USNS_Invincible_(T-AGM_24)

Maritime Monday for July 4th, 2016: Boomy McBoomface

What is it with the weird names you Brits? Boaty McBoatface? Boomy McBoomface?? Cockchafer???

Check it out in this weeks edition of Maritime Monday. There’s more from the Brits, submarine art, fake Hawaii, the start of Jaws, and a couple of my favorites this week: Nessies bones?, the Lyman M. Davis, and the Houseboats of Shoreham.

Thanks to Monkey Fist for another great collection of Maritime tales and tidbits. 🙂

Icelandic firm offers England players free whale-watching holiday to “recover from defeat” A sailing holiday company has offered to cheer up England’s players after Iceland beat them on Monday by taking them on a free whale-watching day-trip. The Guardian – “The poor English players will anyways not be able to return immediately to England after […]

Source: Maritime Monday for July 4th, 2016: Boomy McBoomface – gCaptain

Want to Go Sailing But Don’t Have a Boat?

Check out this great post from Astrolabe Sailing for some great tips on how to be a great guest so you’ll be invited back. Yes, it is just as much fun and MUCH cheaper to go with friends!

So you’ve been invited to go and stay on someone’s boat? Awesome! The next best thing to having a boat of your own is having friends who have boats. It is much cheaper and just about as much fun. So to increase your chances of having a fantastic time – and being invited to come […]

via Being a good boat guest — Astrolabe Sailing

Maritime Monday: Spanish, Maine

Another post for Maritime Monday thanks to Monkey Fist and gCaptain. I always enjoy all the interesting little tidbits put together for these posts, but I really love this one today.

I’ve always loved art, pretty much all kinds (except the abstracts I sometimes see in museums where I can’t help wondering why someone would actually pay for that- white painted canvas and that sort of thing).

I always thought, “I could do better than that!”. I’ve actually started trying to learn how to paint. I’ve been trying to learn how to paint seascapes (of course). 😉

I am especially fond of maritime art. I can’t think of any I’ve seen that I haven’t liked. A Facebook friend “Baristo Uno” likes to post this stuff occasionally and it’s always a joy to see. It helps educate people and open our eyes to the wider world…

Past and present, worldwide locations- the sea is the same, but how we deal with it may change. It’s always the same, yet always changing. It keeps us on our toes.

I do love it out there, and these paintings remind me of how much there is to love! 🙂

  John ‘Jack’ Travers Cornwell, who was just 16, remained at his post on the HMS Chester awaiting orders despite having suffered mortal shrapnel injuries. Initially, Jack was buried in a common grave but the British press took up his story and he was eventually laid to rest with full military honours and posthumously awarded […]

Source: Maritime Monday for June 5th, 2016: Spanish, Maine – gCaptain

Maritime Monday- May 23rd, 2016: Money For Old Rope

Another great post from Monkeyfist for Maritime Monday, full of all kinds of interesting tidbits from the maritime world throughout history up til today.

Enjoy…To Put You In The Mood: video: Giant Octopus kite; Singapore Smithsonian: Recreational divers discover a Roman shipwreck full of bronze statues, coins and other artifacts off Israel Divers find 1,600-year-old Roman shipwreck, treasure, off Israel Archaeologists are calling it “the biggest find in 30 years.” Ran Feinstein and Ofer Ra’anan were diving in the […]

Source: Maritime Monday for May 23rd, 2016: Money For Old Rope – gCaptain