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Recommendations on sponsorship companies and info on offshore leave

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  • Recommendations on sponsorship companies and info on offshore leave

    Hi. I have just been approved sponsorship by Clyde Marine to train as a Deck Officer. I'm interested in deep sea as I'd like to explore as many parts of the world as I can. Can anyone offer advice on good sponsorship companies and tell me as much information about them as possible (preferably Cruise Liners and Oil Tankers). Which one of the two is best to work on? What's life on board these kind of ships like for a deck officer? Also once your ship is stationed at port do you get the opportunity to go inland and explore cities etc? Thanks. Really appreciate any feedback

  • #2
    Oil tankers in my opinin are the best companies to do your cadetship with for a few reasons. Cruise Ships I would steer clear of until you are qualified as people with only cruise experience tend to be looked down on by other sectors due to the large numbers of officers you get very little hands on training.
    As for Oil tankers -
    1. Likely to get employed at the end of your training (additional courses and training)
    2. Good training experience due to complex ship and usually good officers.
    3. Get to see a lot of the world and is usually quite a busy trip

    And in your title you ask about offshore leave? It depends on your company for training it can be stuff like 4 weeks on , week off or vary greatly.

    When qualified offshore tends to be 1 day off for each day worked. Oil tankers are close or 3:2. Cruise ships tend to be 4:2 ... where u work 4 months off for 2.


    • #3
      Wait do you mean shore leave? It varies greatly depending on ship, type of trade, where you are in the world and if the Captain gives you permission.

      Generally cadets get better shore leave opportunities than officers in most cases (as you are in most cases considered extra).

      I've spent 2 and a half months at sea (coming into port to load approx every 4 days to a week) and only had a half day off (and that was doing 12 hour watches, 7 days a week). Other times I've had the odd day off and been alongside for weeks.

      Oil tankers (dependent on size) can often be berthed a good distance away from any towns. The disadvantage with containers is short turn around in port (so you may only be in for a few hours). Saying that, friends of mine who served their cadetship on containers got to go ashore in places like Long Beach, Hong Kong, Halifax and so forth.... I did my cadetship with an offshore company where I got ashore in places like the Congo, Senegal, Aberdeen, Stavanger.. but then again you're often in small bases miles from anywhere.

      I would say that if the big draw of the job was to see places, you might be disapponted depending on the ship you're on, or you might be pleasantly surprised, it's a bit of a lottery to be honest. Usually as a cadet you do have more shore leave opportunities than the rest of the crew.


      • #4
        It really depends what you want to go sea for. Shore leave on large tankers can be very limited. The very large tankers don't even go into ports they load and discharge at floating moorings. Supplies and crew changes are done by boat. On the smaller tankers you typically load cargoes at refineries which are usually well away from the cities. Discharges will vary depending on the company and the cargoes your carrying. In this case product carriers (those which carry refined fuels) are better as you may go up canals etc into areas closer to cities to discharge into storage tanks. A word from the wise I'd stay well clear of chemical carriers, they can carry some very nasty stuff, so nasty in fact that you have to be screened for cancer on a yearly basis (I kid you not!). Deep sea tankers will be long boring trips crossing oceans. Coastal companies can be harder work, with lots of cargo operations, and more traffic to dodge; you'll be busy but will learn more.

        You'll probably have a jolly old time on cruise ships as a cadet, most are very professional as a lot of people are technically under your care. You can go to some interesting places and you'll actually get shore leave. You do have to put up with some extra BS such as nicely ironed uniforms and cavorting with moaning passengers etc. The problems with cruise ships, as have already been mentioned, is a poor work/leave ratio and lower wages to boot. The trips are also usually quite long, about 4 months in duration, which for me personally is too long, but hey I'm not everyone.

        The problem with cargo carrying ships is these days its all about fast turnovers in port, so you load/discharge as fast as possible and then its onto the next port. You may find that you'll go all over the world, but you very quickly realise that most ports look the same and you don't see much else.

        To be honest if I did my cadetship again I would only accept an offshore company. It's harder work, but the money is good and its usually a four week 1:1 work:leave rota. It is much, much easier to get into if you have done your cadetship with them. Which brings me onto another point, it can be very difficult to change into a sector you have no experience in once qualified e.g. going from a cruise ship to a tanker, because the vast majority of companies are only interested in experienced personnel and have no inclination to provide extra training for junior officers who want to change vessel types. This was a big surprise for me after I qualified (on tankers) and wanted to move into the offshore. Its not impossible to move, just more difficult.

        Another thing was that when I qualified (late 2012) there were very few jobs going. I knew of perfectly good cadets who were not offered jobs by their training companies (there is no obligation for them to do so, many companies take cadets on just so they can take advantage of the large tax breaks on offer from the UK government) and who were hunting for months for jobs. A few even took AB jobs. This situation may improve when you qualify, but be aware of it. Look for companies that usually offer employment to cadets once qualified.




        • #5
          Hey SeaDog. Thanks for taking the time to share all that. It's appreciated. All the information I have gathered on the forum is really starting to help!