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Need some help understanding the devloping reality of life in the merchant navy

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  • Need some help understanding the devloping reality of life in the merchant navy

    hey guys,
    I'm currently in the process of researching a career in the merchant navy/ royal navy
    I've got some interviews lined up with some training organizations,cruise liners, and the RN.
    I've done quite abit of research on here and elsewhere,
    basically i'm seeing a trend toward lowering pay less privilages and general deteriation of life in the merchant navy. for example many companies only train british officers for a tax break they can get, and do not offer them a job, which worries me as i do not want to end up without any viable job at the end of training.
    Furthermore i see a general preferance for traditionally lower paid labour e.g Asian/developing nations, who are more willing to put up with poor living conditions and demanding hours of work.
    For these reasons i had focused on cruise liners, but i have read a lot about the condition's there that worry me further and lead me to consider abandoning completely my ambitions to enter this industry at all.

    could anybody give me there view on these issues I've outlined and this quote below:

    "One cruise line for example, Royal Caribbean, has progressively deteriorated the working conditions, physical and mental fitness and morale of its marine officers in the last 5 years. The work load of the officers has risen to the point where officers work well in excess of the hour limitations recommended by the International Labor Organization (ILO) and Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS). The officers are required to work up to and in excess of 14 hours per day every day, which is the standard 8 hours of watch that is expected for watch keepers and 6 hours of "overtime" work for "secondary" duties"

  • #2
    I would say that some of the comments in the first link are probably libelous and without basis. If the officers 'work well in excess of the hour limitations (prescribed by the ILO)' then the ships would be detained. I suspect that the 'source' for this article was a disgruntled former RCI employee. Generally, pay and conditions are fairly good in passenger ship companies. Obviously there will some some exceptions but if you do some research you will realize that there a some very competitive packages out there. Life in the MN is not easy and it takes a certain type of personality to survive, however there are many reputable employers who offer excellent opportunities for qualified and motivated people. Pay in the MN will be much higher and leave and on-board conditions considerably more attractive in the MN than the RN.
    Cruise ship Captain with experience on-board Passenger Vessels ranging from 5500-150000 GRT.


    • #3
      It depends entirely on the shipping company, there are some that are better to work for than others! I've never heard of anyone being required to work 14hrs a day, the standard is 8hrs watchkeeping and 2hrs daywork. Sometimes yes, you find yourself needing to do more, and I put in a few 14hr days on the cruise ship I was on, but it's not every day. The bigger cruise ships all have dual watchkeeping so there's more officers to spread the workload over (and more lifeboats to look after too...) They tend to be pretty rigorous about hours of rest too in my experience, and with the MLC (Maritime Labour Convention) coming into force now overworking their officers is going to become even more difficult for the less caring shipping lines.


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