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Are careers at sea still attractive? Why? Why not?

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  • Are careers at sea still attractive? Why? Why not?

    From the Nautilus Telegraph:

    Maersk Line has ruled out redundancies as part of its programme to return to profitability after clocking up losses of US$600m last year.Speaking in London, Maersk Line boss Soren Skou said job losses and fresh changes in crewing policies are not expected to figure in its drive to cut costs.

    Instead, Mr Skou said, Maersk had cut deployed capacity on its weekly Asia-Europe services by 9.5% and could reduce its entire fleet by 9% this year by redelivering chartered vessels.

    The company would also make more effective use of slow-steaming, by lowering variations in speed and bringing the whole fleet closer to an average of 18 knots. Maersk had also decided not to go ahead with options to order more of its Triple E ‘mega’ ships.

    Mr Skou complained that rates in the liner trades were unsustainable and Maersk aimed to improve margins by getting rid of surplus capacity and offering a reliable, quality service.

    He said no further changes in crewing strategy were planned, but admitted that the company was increasingly reliant upon seafarers from Asia, India and eastern Europe. Working at sea was no longer an ‘attractive proposition’ for young people from traditional maritime nations, he claimed.

    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].

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  • #2
    The yes bit first - most people who go to sea want to do so and have wanted to do so for some time. The idea of a life at sea for those who fancy it is no less attractive than it would have been 20 years ago.

    Equally the reallity of a life at sea is not much more **** than it would have been 20 years ago.

    Now the no bit - the difference between the idea and the reality is more apparent than it used to be, the internet means that more and more people who dream of a life at sea, standing on the bridge wing gazing at passing ships are made aware of the reality of long hours, mixed crews where you may be the only person onboard who speaks your language and crappy pay and conditions compared to what used to be on offer.

    It is a bit rich of companies like Maersk to man their ships full of people from the cheaper end of the market and then wonder in awe why Europeans don't see a career at sea as attractive anymore, what do they put in their recruiting posters?

    "come to sea and see container gantries in many exciting places"
    "experience new cultures and cuisine - well, 1 or 2 new cultures and cuisine, every day for the next 4 months"
    "you too can be part of a knackered pissed off team working 14 hours per day, denied alcohol and living in an environment with no social stimuli"

    You can just imagine the applications flooding in.
    Go out, do stuff


    • #3
      Originally posted by Clanky View Post
      You can just imagine the applications flooding in.
      Where do I apply?


      • #4
        I tend to disagree with the whole "cheaper salary" notions. I've worked and still continue to work with crews who earn a bloody fortune yet moan that we are paid more. Are we feck, I don't ever remember being paid $7,000 US per month and I'm sure some of the C/Eng and Masters here haven't earned $24,000 per month all of which I'd be happy to earn!
        I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.....

        All posts here represent my own opinion and not that of my employer.


        • #5
          I've just noticed the source for the article which CD quoted in the OP, now there's another shower of **** who have helped to make seafaring less attractive as a career.

          Unfortunatly our deck friends don't have much choice in terms of Union membership and as utterly pointless as Nautilus (or whatever they are calling themselves this week) are they are probably less bad than having no union representation at all.

          For engineers there are a few alternatives all of which are better than the incompetent, self serving idiots in Wallasy, personally I would recommend UKAPE, but there are others as well.
          Go out, do stuff


          • #6
            Oh ermmmm, didnt know we could be in a different Union, always been with Nauticlueless mainly for ticket insurance and the jobs page

            Fell out with them during the BIG downturn 3 years ago when I asked them to negotiate or at least make an effort for some bits and bobs, and they fixated on the wrong part of the e-mail and consequently refused to help and basically followed the company help whats so ever.

            And dont even talk to me about PAW's
            Trust me I'm a Chief.

            Views expressed by me are mine and mine alone.
            Yes I work for the big blue canoe company.
            No I do not report things from here to them as they are quite able to come and read this stuff for themselves.

            Twitter:- @DeeChief


            • #7
              I think it is interesting reading what people are saying today. Back in my day the union was called NUMAST. It was no different than Nautilus is now. When the big white star was trying to take us all into Offshore Contracts under IOM flag, they just imposed it all without opposition because the union was toothless and we just all had to accept redundancy or take the contract. The Union was just as useless as it is now.

              I can also remember the same arguements being said then about crews changing, foreign crews coming in, crew cuts and the biggest thing was companies going offshore. At the time if you worked Foreign Flag you could not come back to UK Flag, look how that has changed. The life at sea has changed vastly. We were on General Cargo ships that sometimes had 8 days in port. I remember a bulker called the Theogenitor being tied up astern of us in Pelembang, Indonesia loading Palm Kernels and was going to be in port for 8 weeks. We had big crews, lots of AB's and greasers, stewards and cooks. We thought the world was ending because the big box boats meant we would only have 8 hours in port - and that was on a 1750 TEU ship!

              We even said that in our lifetime at sea there would be unmanned ships as Satnav was starting to come in and ARPA was established and worked most of the time. We had sparkies, morse code for weather reports, no sat phone, on the bridge was only VHF and we could not fortell all the changes in that department.

              I think that things have evolved and will continue to do so. There has to be limits on ship size and minimum crews and if you talk to older officers still serving they will tell you that they never thought paper charts and sextants would disappear, but it looks like they will. My son wanted to go to sea and I was against it in some ways, but now it seems that things have gone full circle and there is a shortage of good, well trained officers. My best friend is senior pilot in Liverpool and was telling me he was talking to a Captain who told him that as a UK Officer, with UK qualifications, Dangerous Cargo Endorsements and experience he was being poached for $200,000 a year 2 on - 2 off for a gas carrier Company.

              Everything changes, and sometimes we do not think it is for the better, but the only thing that has not changed is the fact that Unions these days do not have the power to force change. If Nautilus members all went on strike then companies would just replace everyone with foreign crews and those crews would not give a damn about your rights and pay because they now have a job.

              This is only my opinion though. Others may disagree.

              "Any damn fool can navigate the world sober. It takes a really good sailor to do it drunk." - Sir Francis Chichester.
              "Waves are not measured in feet or inches, they are measured in increments of fear." - Buzzy Trent

              "Careers at Sea" Ambassador - Experience of General Cargo, Combo ships, Tanker, Product Carrier, Gas Carrier, Ro-Ro, Reefer Container, Anchor Handlers.