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  • Tankers or Passenger?

    You must probably see this hundreds of times, but here we go:

    Been looking at doing tankers for the last seven months or so, after deciding that I would probably not have enough patience to wait for passengers late back to the ship (imagine finishing the cruise with half the number you set out with...), but after reading the horror stories last night, I'm not so sure. I've read Fox's and AlistairUK's blogs from end to end, and I still can't decide which way to go.

    Obviously tankers/cargos pay more and you have more leave, but that isn't the main reason for my (eventual) decision. The other beauty of tankers is that you're 'forced' to save your earnings when you're on board, because there is no where to spend them, where as the Cruisers all have rather expensive shops on board!

  • #2
    Originally posted by Fevasailor View Post
    You must probably see this hundreds of times, but here we go:

    Been looking at doing tankers for the last seven months or so, after deciding that I would probably not have enough patience to wait for passengers late back to the ship (imagine finishing the cruise with half the number you set out with...), but after reading the horror stories last night, I'm not so sure. I've read Fox's and AlistairUK's blogs from end to end, and I still can't decide which way to go.

    Obviously tankers/cargos pay more and you have more leave, but that isn't the main reason for my (eventual) decision. The other beauty of tankers is that you're 'forced' to save your earnings when you're on board, because there is no where to spend them, where as the Cruisers all have rather expensive shops on board!
    A lot of it will depend on you personality and how well you can deal with isolation.

    Working on cargo ships can be very lonely, do you think you could deal with spending 4 months on a ship without going ashore, spending your whole life with the same 15 or so people who may or may not speak english, and very limited contact with the outside world? If not avoid deep sea cargo because that is the reality.

    Also you say you don't think you could deal with pax coming back late, what about agents, customs, stevedores, surveyors, pilots, other ships etc. in this job there will always be times when you are waiting for other people.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by gadget123 View Post
      Also you say you don't think you could deal with pax coming back late, what about agents, customs, stevedores, surveyors, pilots, other ships etc. in this job there will always be times when you are waiting for other people.
      I'll rephrase: unnecessary waiting! I understand that all the customs, stevedores pilots etc. are very busy people so that's part and parcel! Maybe it's a skill I'll have to work on!

      I don't mind isolation, but I've never really had to experience that luckily, or for that length of time. It appears to me that working cargo is a bit like a game of russian roulette - you either have a great time with a crew you can speak with well, or you have a nightmare and want to get off inside the first week - and you have no idea until you get there!

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      • #4
        I've edited the title just to give people looking a better idea what the thread's about.

        First of all, the waiting thing. This really isn't something you need to worry about until you're higher up the ladder. On cruise ships we run to a schedule but there's usually some wiggle room and if we leave late we can make up the time on passage, especially now that very few of us are going around flat out (Queen Mary 2 has four diesel engines and two gas turbines, top speed of 29-ish knots, but we'd always aim for 14-17kn for economy). But, at the end of the day, all the departures tend to be on the 4-8 watch. If there's a delay past 8, the 8-12 handle the departure. So delays don't mean you work any harder and, apart from having pre-departure checks done on time, they're not your responsibility.

        On to the pay/leave/conditions/life onboard.

        If you work on tankers or offshore you will make more money and have more leave. If you work on passenger ships you'll have less money and less leave. Simple as that. What you have to decide is whether:

        a) the extra money and extra leave is worth the "isolation" (caveat: some people don't consider it isolation) and extra responsibility you have on tankers.
        b) the lower pay and leave is worth it given the fairly decent lifestyle you might have on cruise ships.

        With regard to onboard spending, yes there's plenty of shops but unless you have an unhealthy interest in jewellery/perfume/sunglasses you'll probably be fine. In three trips all I've bought is a watch ($50, down from $120 at crew sale) and a pair of Ray Bans (?70 with discount). These are purchases that you'd probably make ashore anyway. And you'd probably pay more ashore.

        Alcohol and (if you smoke) cigarettes are cheap as chips and even the most committed Wardroom members rarely get a surprise when they open their bar bill.

        You and your close relatives/significant other get decent concessions on cruises and, with my company, we get friends and family offers that we can offer to friends. We also have a pretty decent relative's travel scheme where you can have your girlfriend/boyfriend/mum/dad etc etc travel with you while you're working at miniscule cost. Most cargo companies allow this but at the end of the day they're probably going to be more occupied on a cruise ship.

        It's a decision only you can make. Cadetships with cruise companies are very competitive, so obviously a lot of people regard the lifestyle as adequate compensation for the lower pay. On the other hand, as GuinnessMan rightly points out in other threads, if you start on tankers you can go virtually anywhere. Cruise companies are always recruiting qualified officers so there's always the option to move later on. A move from tankers to cruise ships is relatively easy. The other way is virtually impossible.
        sigpic
        Hello! I'm Chris. I'm away a lot so I'm sorry if it takes me a while to reply to messages, but I promise I'll get back to everyone. If it's urgent, please email me directly at [email protected].

        Need books, Flip Cards or chartwork instruments? Visit SailorShop.co.uk!

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        • #5
          Having done both I totally agree with Charlie Delta

          As regards passengers being late - I'm totally confused by what your getting at, as Staff Captain yes I used to throw my teddies out the pram but my junior officers and Cadets didn't give a rats as it did not affect them in the slightest!
          Pilotage - It's just a controlled allision

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          • #6
            Thanks for that, I'm still at the bottom of a very big learning curve, and the first in my family to go for this sort of thing, so no past experience to help on that front!

            It sounds to me that the best plan then is to train through the tankers route, then transfer across to cruises after I qualify, provided there is demand etc.?

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Fevasailor View Post
              Thanks for that, I'm still at the bottom of a very big learning curve, and the first in my family to go for this sort of thing, so no past experience to help on that front!

              It sounds to me that the best plan then is to train through the tankers route, then transfer across to cruises after I qualify, provided there is demand etc.?
              That is probably a good plan, just avoid dry cargo and containers, there is no future in it for British officers.

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              • #8
                First thing is to apply absolutely everywhere. Don't be selective about your applications. Wait until you get the offers, then you can afford to be selective.

                We can't say definitively which way will be better for you, because you might absolutely hate working on tankers. Or you might hate working on cruise ships.

                Remember that there are other types of ships. Bulk carriers, car carriers, ferries, container ships. Not to mention the offshore industry which offers heady salaries for those with the right qualifications (usually gained by doing the "right" cadetship).

                As discussed here, when you send in all your applications, go to interviews and get offers, it would be sensible to go with the company that offers you the best job prospects post-qualification. These will usually be cruise companies, the big oil/gas companies and any of the major employers of British officers (pointy star etc).
                sigpic
                Hello! I'm Chris. I'm away a lot so I'm sorry if it takes me a while to reply to messages, but I promise I'll get back to everyone. If it's urgent, please email me directly at [email protected].

                Need books, Flip Cards or chartwork instruments? Visit SailorShop.co.uk!

                Comment


                • #9
                  Chris, It was a badly written post, and missed a few bits of grammar out!

                  I'm known for not hanging around for too long for anything, so if stuff doesn't happen I'm off again to the next thing! It came across wrong, but I look forward to having to deal with it one day!

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                  • #10
                    No worries!

                    And if you don't like hanging around too long you may find Cruises to be more up your street as it is go go go every day, whereas you will have days of the same on Tankers.

                    best of luck!
                    Pilotage - It's just a controlled allision

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                    • #11
                      I agree don't be selective, the comment by gadget123 about general and containerships is quite misleading. Realistically at cadetship level it doesn't matter what ship type you train on as long as its deep sea and able to give you a variety of experience, its more important to choose a company who employ Officers who are capable of training you properly.

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                      • #12
                        Thanks for all your advice! I assume it's better to taken on directly by a company rather than through an agency, or does it not matter too much. I know a little about the tonnage tax - how companies use it for tax breaks and are unlikely to invest much time in you in some cases - but that's pretty much it.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Fevasailor View Post
                          Thanks for all your advice! I assume it's better to taken on directly by a company rather than through an agency, or does it not matter too much. I know a little about the tonnage tax - how companies use it for tax breaks and are unlikely to invest much time in you in some cases - but that's pretty much it.
                          That is more or less it. The problem is that as these companies tend not to employee brits you will be generally sail with eastern european or asian officers whose english language ability can vary hugely and will have a significant effect on your training.

                          Another problem is many of these companies work in sectors like containers and bulk carriers where there are very few opportunities for british junior officers, meaning that any experience you gained as a cadet is essentially worthless the moment you qualify.

                          You are much better off training in a sector of the industry where the experience you gain will be helpful to your future job prospects.

                          Pick your company wisely, it can have a huge affect on your future career prospects.

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