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  • Hello :)

    Hello all,

    Just signed up to this forum as an aspiring Deck Cadet. Originally from Plymouth, I am set to finish my university degree in Bath this year (graduate in May). I would very much like to work on passenger ships, although my eyes are slowly being opened to how difficult and competitive it actually is to get on that type of ship!

    I've had two interviews already with SSTG and Clyde Marine. My SSTG interview was successful and I got offered a cadetship for Sept '13 there and then, albeit with companies I had never really heard of before. My Clyde Marine interview went very well and just waiting to hear back from them.

    The sponsering companies offered to me by SSTG were CMA-CGM, OOCL and United Marine Dredging (TARMAC Ltd). After finding limited information on these forums regarding these companies (especially United Marine Dredging), I was wondering if anyone had any experience with the aforementioned companies? How well do they treat their cadets? Which would be the best as an aspiring deck cadet?

    Thanks in advance for any replies.

    Rich.

  • #2
    Welcome to the forum Rich! I don't have the answers you seek, but I'm sure someone will be along shortly who can help

    Size4riggerboots

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    • #3
      Welcome!

      I am sponsored by SSTG and am almost finished my cadetship (orals in June/July) so I will try and answer some of your questions. I am not sponsered by any of the companies you have mentioned by am with another container line. I know a guy who is with OOCL but no-one with CMA-CGM. Most of what I am about to tell you is just based on what I have heard from other people, my own experiences working on containers and what I have gathered from reading posts on here.

      If you choose a container company you will likely be away for 4-6 months and be worldwide. Guys I know with OOCL have done runs from Europe to Canada and also been down to the Far East/Australia way. Seemed to have a decent enough time of it. Although getting to go to all these places sounds great on paper, you don't get ashore for that long in my experience. Maybe 4-6 hours max and with container ports often being located quite far away from the nearest city you could spend up to an hour each way in a taxi. I spent most of my time ashore wandering around shopping malls or if I was lucky going to a bar for a couple of pints. Its certainly not a holiday, and nor should it be. You will often spend several days in the open sea where you might not see another ship which can be intensely boring.

      The main issue I found on my container ship and I suspect these CMA & OOCL will be similar was the fact that the officers are likely to be foreign and have little to no idea of the UK training system, which can be massively frustrating at times. I personally have had problems with the language barrier in that when asking the officer a question, you can tell they have not really understood what you meant, but have tried to answer anyway, often incorrectly. For example I have asked numerous times "is this the right way to do something" and have them say "yes" only to find out through my own research later that what I have been told is wrong. That then leads you to wonder how much else you get taught that is wrong. Not to say the officers weren't keen to help me out, they were perfectly nice and would try and give you a hand with things, but sometimes it was difficult. Obviously the language barrier is something you will have to deal with at all stages of your career, but when you are just starting out it would be massively beneficial to have someone who properly understood what you were asking. My company doesn't employ British officers and most container companies are the same so I would think it would be unlikely you would be offered a job with either of them upon completing your cadetship. I could be wrong of course and this based on my experience with a different company so these guys could be completely different, happy to be corrected by someone with experience of either of the two companies mentioned.

      I don't really know much about dredgers but I would imagine that they are a lot more likely to have British crew, you would be in and out of ports in the UK regularly which is invaluable for things like phone signal to keep in touch with home and probably more likely to get a offered a job at the end of it. I would also think you would get quite a lot of ship handing experience and rule of the road situations with being near coastal. Again, someone with more experience of this part of the industry can correct me if I am wrong on any of this.

      If I were in your shoes, I would choose the dredger company.

      Regarding SSTG in general, I have no complaints whatsoever. Always quick to answer e-mails, etc. Been fine. When I started they used to pay more than Clyde and pay your accomodation as well but I believe they no longer do that for the cadets starting now. Unfortunate for you.

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      • #4
        CMA CGM look after there cadets very well and operate a pretty professional outfit, the ships they put British Cadets on usually have a majority British bridge team. The Cadet I know with them got a lot signed of and seemed to have a great time while doing it!

        OOCL is a similar story to CMA, they are a good company and also employ British Officers.
        OOCL crew through Delta Marine, so you will find you might be on an OOCL ship or a Hamburg Sud ship; both very good companies to work for!
        OOCL will usually always put their first trip Cadets on the Europe to Canada run.

        As for UMD, I don't know of a single cadet that works for them to be perfectly honest.
        http://www.tarmac.co.uk/about_us/abo...dging_tmd.aspx

        Note
        I am merely repeating what Cadets of CMA CGM and OOCL have told me.

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        • #5
          Hi there,

          I'm a CMA CGM cadet. On my last trip I sailed with a British Captain, Chief mate, 2nd mate and 3rd mate plus 2 other British deck cadets and a British engine cadet. I am unsure of the number of Brits in the company but there are quite a few of them, however don't think that you will be sailing with a full British compliment on every ship every time because you won't (but it shouldn't be an issue if you want to work in an international industry?). Speaking with the other cadets they have all sailed with at least one British officer on board. I also sailed with Croatian and Filipino officers on the same trip who were very clued up on the British system and were more than happy to help me. Personally I have had a pretty good time with CMA and SSTG, been looked after by both very well.

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          • #6
            Hello, to be honest, unless you find watching grass grow exciting, then I would keep clear of dredgers and remember that getting the ticket and some decent experience is the important thing, not whether your company will hire you on afterwards.

            Also, I'm not going to go into the old debate of whether your better sailing with British Officers or not because my views on that are quite well known and considering the TRB system has changed twice in the last 10 years then there is a fair chance that the senior Brits on your ship's will have a similar level of knowledge of how your system works as a different nationality would. Besides, it is also your job to explain how it works to them!

            Anywho, get yourself on with OOCL or CMA CGM....
            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.

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            • #7
              Guiness makes a good point.

              I sailed with 2 foreign Officers in my entire sea phase, both of which were Jnr.

              The only 2 Officers I sailed with that understood the system were two Officers who had only recently qualified!

              Being British doesn't necessarily mean they will be knowledgeable of the system.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Faust View Post
                Being British doesn't necessarily mean they will be knowledgeable of the system.
                Or that they are the best to learn from.

                The best C/E I ever sailed with was a Russian....
                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.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Oh well, sounds like CMA & OOCL are significantly better than I imagined. In that case, go for it!

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                  • #10
                    Thanks for everyone's input so far. Some very useful information.

                    Looks like I will probably choose CMA if I am to go with SSTG. But like I said, still waiting to hear back from my Clyde interview, although I am not sure I like the way they inform their cadets about their sponsoring company. I am also still waiting to hear back regarding possible interviews with Chiltern Maritime, Princess cruises and Bibby. However, I think I'm going to have to make an informed decision very soon.

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