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  • Rant+Questions

    So i ve been onboard a vessel for 12 days as an apprentice officer and i am feeling somewhat annoyed, mostly because of the way they treat me. So i want to ask a few questions to learn if this is what mostly happens on board ships or it is just here.

    This is by no means any perfect or standards abiding vessel, i doubt there are many like those in REALITY anyway.(and by standards i mean things that we are SUPPOSED to do but not doing. safety stuff for example)

    First of all the first thing i did was

    the annoying part is that i feel i have learned nothing of importance all this time, most of the time i just stay on the bridge with the duty officer and do things like
    1)Read abbreviations and symbols book. Yes the academies here are crap but the officer acts as if this is the first time i ve seen something maritime related, i already knew 75% of the map symbols. Learning the rest 25% from book and not experience seems kinda silly
    2)Do nothing, just wait for the time to pass while listening to what the officers are talking about and randomly ask questions i have. Which are not answered directly or clearly... sometimes they ll even avoid the topic cuz they are too lazy to teach something that requires more than a few seconds... They rarely seem to want to teach me something useful expect in cases like press 2 times cancel when gmdss warnings arrive, it is irrelevant if it is a safety test, urgency or undesignated.
    3)Sometimes they tell me to mark our position on the map or go get them something from downstairs or their room. And sometimes escort pilots outside...
    4)They dont even seem to trust me to answer them when they ask "what is our speed" and other easy to do stuff, they always ask the 2nd officer...THATS ALL I DO ON THE BRIDGE or dont do in this case...

    Oh yes and let us not forget the fact that i cant do nothing but watch the sky when we are near ports or pilot is on board because everyone is busy doing something and cant be bothered to talk. Which i can understand but how the hell am i supposed to learn the jobs that need to be done during those times if people are too busy? When they are not busy, they dont bother to go into detail and try to get away from my question as fast as possible...

    On the deck? I did a few things like painting garbage barrels, cleaning oil stains. Nothing more, probably because the first few days of the voyage i was a little seasick(when we fell in 4-5 meter waves), because the weather made it a little too dangerous for cadets, because they didnt give me safety shoes till 8th day and finally because the main deck department didnt work as much when we were near the port or had pilot on board.(also probably because we dont get paid as much since i eavesdropped the captain which told the chief to not tire the cadets much cuz they arent paid much)
    Oh yes and during port i have the annoying task of gangway watch. Which can be annoying when during the first day, they abandon you without VHF and suddenly cargo surveyors, agents, draft surveyors, sellers come and i am supposed to somehow tell the officers about it but i cant because i am not supposed to leave.(then chief calls me for some small task while knowing i am on the watch and when i finish his task i go down and have the 2nd officer tell me i shouldnt leave, who are you supposed to listen???)
    (and about the gangway watch, they tell us that people that you give a red card are not allowed on restricted areas while the agent freely goes in and out of the ship and he holds a red card...they told me and even have it written down that agents get a red card). Also during the gangway watch people were busy doing something cargo related or other more important things and i didnt learn anything from it because i was left on the gangway watch. And another thing, they tell me that in security lvl1 you have to body search 25% of the people coming on board and then you see that they themselves dont search anyone...(which ok, it is understandable that you arent going to bother at lvl1 but why the hell tell cadets that they should...tell them that it is the policy but we dont do it..)

    So my question is, is it supposed to be like this? I seem to be doing nothing of importance and learning from it...

    ye company isnt really that good, the pay is around 800-900 euros per month and there are no overtimes for the cadets, that is what the chief officer told me at least. Well the weird thing was that i did stay 6 hours gangway watch during sunday. There is no internet but i didnt expect there would be, i even heard that the agent cant send attachments bigger than 3mb because there is a limit to what the captain can download. Ship doesnt even have ecdis, and learning an outdated system that is going to be thrown away seems like waste of memory since paper maps wont stay for long(no that doesnt mean i act in anyway that would imply i ignore or not try to learn about them)

    sry if it is a little cramped and confused, i remembered so many events that annoyed me that i added them at the end of the related whining section ignoring last sentence and generally everything, not a lot of time to stay online.(through modem+card i bought from a seller that came on board the ship, since that was the only way to get online)

    Btw this vessel i am on is a bulk carrier with 5 holds. And an off topic question, how is life and money in passenger ships?? If anyone has time to answer the question, i would be really happy. I ask this because someone on board told me how great passenger ships are but the people in the academy told us that passenger ships have less money. And i got no idea how is life and money there in reality, what are the important jobs to be done etc.

  • #2
    Ok, you haven't been onboard long, so it's probably to early to tell what the situation is. Please describe your nationality and the training you've had so more.

    Comment


    • #3
      Sometimes foreign officers don't really understand the British system of training. You just have to bear with that. What you really need to do is be as proactive as you can. A good way is to look at your Training Record Book and think, right I'm going to learn everything I can about x today.

      The rubbish jobs like gangway watch, and the stuff is just part and parcel of being a cadet. Take a copy of the ISPS code to read on the gangway. Ask the old man if you can have a look at the Ships Security Plan (he may say no to that as its a restricted document). Write a dit for your Ops Workbook about how you carried out gangway watch, what procedures were in place, how it complied with ISPS, etc and show it to your DSTO.

      There should be plenty of stuff at sea you can practice with (and get the officers to help you with) without anyone else 'jobbing you off'. Take a sailing calculation for your current passage up to the Bridge with you. Determine the Tide times for your next port. On Deck get involved as much as you can with the work the ABs are doing. Spend some time around the Engine Room.

      Sometimes it does take a bit of pestering them. As for them trusting you, even for the simple things, it will take time. You've only been on board for twelve days. It's not ideal, but remember they've already got their ticket, whether you get yours or not isn't their problem.

      I've never been on a cruise ship so I couldn't answer your question about them.

      Comment


      • #4
        Sounds about right for being onboard for 12 days... Also what nationality are you ? I don't think you are British?

        Comment


        • #5
          My nationality is Greek, most officers both in deck and engine are Greek, the rest of the crew if Philippine.
          .
          the Greek merchant navy academies arent really known for being good examples of higher education. Almost till the middle of September we didnt have teachers for all the courses. We had courses like navigation(the book hasnt had a change for like 40 years), collision regulation(only lights on each type of ship and that it is mandatory to follow them, no actual regulation), 2-3 knots and using OPEN type boats that dont seem to exist anymore, maritime law, maritime english. Mostly those. Oh yes and the textbook i have to do in this trip for the academy is full of outdated questions like write the equipment and supplies inside the boat and in parenthesis it says "not engine powered boat". So those even exist anymore?!?!

          Yes academy is crap but i at least liked navigation and learned a bit more about it, but the officer here didnt even BOTHER to ask me or make me do something in order to see what i know or what i can do.(the only thing one asked me to do on a map to see if i know anything, was to draw a 270 degree course which is so simple i wanted to shoot myself)

          so the question is, how long till they trust you to do something important and something that you will be doing even after being a cadet?

          I dont think i can learn something at a very good degree if i dont use it a lot. I was planning in trying to learn ecdis perfectly since it is the future but since that doesnt exist in this ship i try to learn as many things about the bridge equipment, cargo related tasks, deck etc as i can. But when i asked about sacking and hogging because the draft wasnt equal to font+aft/2 he told me that this question is for the future, i went too far, and i am going to learn it in the academy...

          Comment

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