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Dropping Out

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  • Dropping Out

    I'm a Phase 3 Cadet coming towards the end of the phase - and I'm absolutely dreading going back to sea. I need my ENG1 renewed soon, and I've been having pretty major mental health issues regarding depression and anxiety, some of which stem from my last trip at sea. Long story short, I was sexually assaulted in a pretty bad way by a crew member, not one I directly worked with, but one most of the deck department were friends with, and shamed/pressured into not really making anything off it beyond a token hush-hush report. Said crew member got a slap on the wrist, and I got to be the butt of every joke for the next two months.

    Additionally, I'm not sure I can live on the stipend each month, as my rent and bills come to 470~ or so of my 600pcm allowance - not including food. I don't qualify for student funding, having been rejected by three different SLC organisations, and bar work once or twice a week can only take you so far on top of the two to three exams every week I really should be revising more for.

    I've really enjoyed the work while I've been at sea, and have done pretty well in my exams and TRB - I'm just not sure if I can cope with another 18 months of poverty, never mind the mental health issues, or the pretty grim response I've had from the employers. I guess what I'm asking here is - is there any reason I should try and tough it out? If it matters, I'm with a training company, my sponsor hasn't taken me to sea at all and indeed ignored me ashore for three months at the end of first phase, despite me ringing up every other day. Naturally, there's no job at the end either.

    Basically, sorry for the rant, but would any of you guys have any advice?

  • #2
    Wow, that's bad, I'd understand why you'd not go back if you choose that way. Sounds like you like the job however, which is the biggest reason most leave. So my advice can only stretch to the below:

    If you're with a training company, for example Clyde or SSTG, I'd suggest you open up to your training officer if you can eventually contact them (I could be wrongly assuming you haven't done this). They'll understand why you took longer to tell them and they'd treat it incredibly seriously, potentially with more consequences than your ship management imposed upon the wrongful. Training companies can switch you to different vessel types in the event of things like this, and they may be able to get you onto a ferry or something closer to home with just as good training. You may find it a breath of fresh air going into a new company and ship type where you know you'll be treated right and can enjoy the trips whilst continuing to do well.

    Financially it's hard to answer, I was a kid with no financial worries at college so it was easy. You could apply no pain no gain, but the gain depends on your chances of employment when you qualify.

    Sorry if I got the wrong end of the stick, and feel free to add more details if I did so I can readvise. Good luck, and sorry your experience of the sea was tainted this badly.


    • #3
      That's what I'm thinking. You're spot on, I haven't told my training officer yet - mostly out of shame and the fact they haven't exactly been on my side for other things, so I was kind of doubting that they'd believe me, or instantly rally around protecting the company. But I guess I need to bite the bullet, you're right.

      On the money side of things, I could tough it out if there was any hope of a job at the end.. but balancing it all up, I'm a bit reticent

      Thanks very much for your reply though, it was very reassuring and understanding.


      • #4
        Can't really add too much to what has been said above apart from on top of reporting this to your training officer, I would also look at speaking to nautilus.


        • #5
          You have nothing to be ashamed of, the officer concerned and those that chose not to make more of it, and behaved the way they did however, are shameful in my view, and just as guilty. I can’t abide bullies and abusive ones even less.
          You have every right to feel safe when you are at work, wherever that maybe. I sincerely do hope you raise it with your training officer. One reason to do this is to ensure that no other cadet ever is made to feel the way you have and still are.

          It might be good for you to get some help ( if you haven’t already) from one of the organisations that support people who have had this dreadful sexual abuse experience. I’d list them for you but I know my local ones are unlikely to be of use because I’m not in the U.K.
          Victim support would be able to guide you.
          As for the work aspect I’m sure the others on here can give much better advice and help than I could.


          • #6

            If you have an account please log in and send me a private message. I will then send you my phone number and then I would really like you to give me a call to discuss this with me so I can help point you in the right direction of who to speak to. I have a good relationship with many of the companies and so may even be able to point you in the direction of a different person to speak to.

            Please message me.


            "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.


            • #7
              To you,

              I send this message with the most heartfelt feeling towards you as possible.

              Recently, i had the exact same incident onboard - i was sexually assaulted and it absolutely knocked me sideways, and i was made to feel outcasted on the vessel by Cap - C/O - those involved and even the other cadet who i confided in, i was hushed by the companies (three very very big ones may i add). I carried on, i attempted my last exams as a cadet with absolutely no drive any more, considering what had happened and the lack of support, who would want to work in a career where that happens and nothing is done? I was an average of 80-100% every exam prior to my last sea phase, that obviously all changed. My exit interview was a shambles, and they didn't even know who the assault had happened to and started talking to the other cadet about it infront of me as if it was no big deal. Disgusting was not the word for it.
              I got my qualification (not ticket), and i got a job in maritime company close to home, and i've worked here for a good number of months now. Cadets who don't know what happened to me say i'm lucky because i have a job - yeah, i was determined to get away from ships over fear of it happening again.

              I WISH i had screamed and ranted and raved and gone to judicial court of high heaven about what had happened to me. and not backed down when the big boys wanted to keep it hush hush. This cannot go unseen. I've broken down twice, to strangers, because i couldnt for the life of me tell my family about what happened to me because i feel ashamed, one of the strangers had experience with counselling and told me i have PTSD. Which accounts for my bouts of anger when i see other young girls being roped into this career on the false pretense of the fab life of sea and how women are safe. ENOUGH IS NOT BEING DONE.

              Message Nautilus - Create a document stating minutes of what happened to you, step by step, in all detail ( as painful as that is). State all those involved, and what has been done. (or lack of)
              There is a special womens forum and email in Nautilus for you if wanted. Send it to your T/officer, send it to your company rep, send it to your head of year in college, send it to everyone, and make sure that horrible person is made an example of. More so than that, make sure all those who didn't take it seriously are reprimanded too!!!!

              Speak to anyone and everyone, and get it done. I recently read an article about a swedish woman who had been sexually harrassed ( not assaulted - no less severe but still not as bad as assault!) and lo and behold, all those companies involved tried to keep it hush too, she went to the land side authorities and it was swiftly dealt with and all those involved were dealt with accordingly and the woman was compensated for being made to feel like it was her fault!!!!! It's like the companies who work in the sea think its okay to work in a different set of laws on their own.

              I think if you want to quit, you're well within your right. As horrible as it was, i was lucky it happened at the end of my last sea phase. It's entirely up to you. If you were to continue, i would suggest you grown thorns and treat everyone as though they'd do the same to you. Trust is a terrible thing once broken. Get your qual, and get something out of it and fight.


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