Archive for June, 2008

A worsening problem with visa for seafarers

Saturday, June 28th, 2008

Upon arrival at port a seafarer would normally finished his job and turn over his duties in order to go ashore. After a 15 to 27 days of voyage at sea, we normally get excited whenever we see land. Putting aside the idea of having a visa, a typical seafarer would normally ask permission to the officer in charge in order to go ashore. Imagine the disappointment of a seafarer whenever his shore leave is denied due to not having a visa. Why do they really require seafarers to have a visa? We only stay a few days or most of the time less than 24 hours alongside a port.

Why they require Visas

Visa, a document whereby a duly authorized government agency gives a citizen of another country permission to enter the country or, occasionally, permission to leave.” – wikipedia. Fair enough don’t you think? But the thing is, we don’t stay that long on a country. It’s either we join a vessel, disembarked a vessel, visit a doctor, or go ashore. But since its a requirement, we better follow it.

Does visa benefits seafarers?

Implementation of visa on seafarers does not benefit us. I say this for certain reasons. Mariners travel around the world most of the time. It is difficult and often impossible to secure a visa while you’re onboard and suddenly you receive an order to go to a certain country that requires you to have a visa. Aside from the fact that it takes a lot of days to secure a visa just to change crew, it also became one of the reason for overstaying of crew onboard.

If you don’t have visa?

  • What could happen to you if in case you suddenly get sick or you need immediate medical assistance? You would probably remain onboard awaiting orders.
  • What if you’re contract has expired and you need to go home? You would probably stay onboard until you leave that country and wait for your chance to go home on another convenient port.
  • What if there is an emergency, a family problem that forces you to go home? You would probably stay onboard and wait for the next convenient port that don’t require visa.

These are just a few of the reasons why. We can never really say what you and the others think about this. Our opinion varies differently whenever the topic about securing a visa arises.

Let me quote to you an article that Fred Fry wrote:

“The ILO formulates international labor standards in the form of Conventions and Recommendations setting minimum standards of basic labor rights: freedom of association, the right to organize, collective bargaining, abolition of forced labor, equality of opportunity and treatment, and other standards regulating conditions across the entire spectrum of work related issues.

One item that the ILO has under its wing is Seafarer Identification. Since seafarers travel around the world and don’t always know where they are going, it is often difficult, if not impossible, to obtain the right visa before arriving at a port. This is where the ILO comes in, with a Convention that sets the rules for seafarer identification to permit the movement of seafarers with limited restrictions/visa issues.

The old Convention was passed in 1958, and after the terror attacks of September 11, it was realized that an updated convention was needed. So in the summer of 2003 the new Convention (Number 185) was adopted and it came into force on 9 February 2005. There is just one small problem, the US does not like the new Convention. Specifically, they don’t like the following clause in the Convention:

Shore leave

4. Each Member for which this Convention is in force shall, in the shortest possible time, and unless clear grounds exist for doubting the authenticity of the seafarers’ identity document, permit the entry into its territory of a seafarer holding a valid seafarer’s identity document, when entry is requested for temporary shore leave while the ship is in port.

6. For the purpose of shore leave seafarers shall not be required to hold a visa. Any Member which is not in a position to fully implement this requirement shall ensure that its laws and regulations or practice provide arrangements that are substantially equivalent.

The problem here is that the US does require visas for seafarers wishing to go ashore in US Ports. In the past they used to issue Crew Visas that were issued to the crew upon arrival. This is no longer possible. Therein lies the problem. If you are a seafarer and you are coming to the US, you need to get a visa before you join the ship, especially if you plan on joining it in the US. Immigration won’t let you into the Country unless you have a visa. This Convention tried to eliminate the Visa requirement in the US or at least force the US to make it easier for seafarers to get a visa once here. – continues

The ILO has been trying to get the US to commit to ratification of this convention with little success so far. I suspect that this Convention is all but dead, taking into account the reaction of congress in the DP World Port ownership issue. Imagine the furor in congress and the public if it is suggested that they sign up to an international convention that will result in seafarers from around the world (including North Korea and Iran) into the country without proper due diligence.” C185 Seafarers’ Identity Documents Convention (Revised), 2003fredfryinternational.

I’d also like to show to you one of the visa related news article by “Aftenposten“, a norwegian news paper that posted an article entitled “Norwegian seafarers not welcome on US land“:

“We feel we are being treated like potential terrorists,” Captain Tor Gisle Bjerknes told Norwegian daily newspaper Aftenposten.

“It doesn’t help if the person is European, a captain, and has had a US visa for years,” said Captain Otto Vollan on the Bow Fortune, another ship in the Odfjell fleet.

The seafarers say the restrictions violate bilateral shipping agreements and could even cause health problems — when a seafarer needs to visit a doctor or dentist, for example.

A new ID card is under development to allow seafarers to go on land worldwide without the need for a visa, but after five years of waiting, it remains unclear when the card will come into use.

The US has signalled that it doesn’t want to ratify the ID card, and so far only 13 countries have given it the green light. France is the only Western European country to have said yes to the ID card.

Have your say

Based on the above information, do you think that we should be granted the liberty to go ashore, disembark a vessel, join a vessel, and see a doctor without a visa? Does this kind of restriction regarding visa would promote safety for personnel onboard the ship? Will the “Seafarers’ Identity Documents Convention” pushed through? If you want to share your opinion, write your comment and be heard.

Job Interview Tips and Interview Preparation

Philippine Maritime Shipping and Manning Companies Directories – Part 8

Tuesday, June 24th, 2008

The list of Philippine Maritime Shipping and Manning Companies provided in this article will help you in finding maritime jobs and shipping jobs on different maritime institute or maritime companies. Their information including their links would help a lot in finding your desired career jobs. This list connects to the previous related articles posted in the maritime category. You can subscribe for updates by using your email for free to get instant update about this post.

  • FOERDE MARINE AGENCY INC
    9(B) 9F CHATAM HSE CONDO 116 RUFINO COR VALERO ST SALCEDO VILLAGE MAKATI
    Phone: 8436056/8431003
    Fax: 8436057
    Email: crewing@foerde.com.ph
  • FOREIGN MANPOWER SERVICES, INC.
    GF&2F 1769 DAPITAN ST SAMPALOC MANILA
    Phone: 7315994
    Fax: 7321528
  • FOSCON SHIPMANAGEMENT INC (FORMERLY ATLANTIC MARINE SVCS)
    R505&509 BF COND BLG SORIANO AVE INTRAMUROS MLA ERMITA MANILA
    Phone: 536-9395/536-9396
    Fax: 536-9392
    Email: AMSI@INFO.COM.PH
  • FRIENDLY MARITIME SERVICES, INC.
    U-2701 ANTEL GLOBAL CORP CTR J VARGAS AVE ORTIGAS
    Phone: 6874551-53
    Fax: 6874554
    Website: www.friendmar.com.ph
    Email: friendmar@eastern.com.ph
  • GALANT MARITIME SERVICES INC.
    S-1101&1102 ERMITA CTR BLDG 1350 ROXAS BLVD MLA
    Phone: 5266888/ 5262087
    Fax: 5261260
  • GERGON MARITIME SERVICES INC (FORMERLY MANILA TROPICAL SERVICES INC)
    405 FIRST UNITED BLDG.CORP. #413 ESCOLTA BINONDO MANILA
    Phone: 2439617
    Fax: 2442689
    Email: gergonmar@yahoo.com
  • GERMAN MARINE AGENCIES INC
    G/F&2/F 3912 LUBECA HSE MACABULOS ST BGY BANGKAL
    Phone: 8437720 / 8430423 or 62
    Fax: 8430481
    Website: www.german-marine.com
  • GLOBAL MARINE AND OFFSHORE RESOURCES INC (FOR SUNGLOW ORIENT ENT)
    2FUC CHINA BNK BLG ACACIA MDRGL BUS PRK ALABANG MUNTINLUPA CPO MUNTINLUPA
    Phone: 8077852
    Fax: 9127025
  • GLOBE MASTER MARINE AGENCY INC
    22BCHATAM HSE VA RUFINO COR VALERO ST SALCEDO VILL MAKATI MAKATI
    Phone: 8866717/8866719/8866720
    Fax: 8867724
    Email: gmmai@ultimate.info.com.ph
    Website: www.gmaster.com

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An easy way of learning knot tying techniques

Saturday, June 21st, 2008

Knot tying consists of the techniques and skills employed in tying a knot in rope, nylon webbing, or other articles; as said by wikipedia. It requires skills of a seaman or commonly called seamanship, defined as the skills of a seaman onboard the ship. At school they usually teach us a lot of knot tying techniques. But we only use less than half of it. Learning the basics of knot tying complicates a lot of people. But once you get the hang out of it, you will find it less difficult to do.

The common knot tying used onboard

  • Bowline – is an ancient but simple knot used to form a fixed loop at the end of a rope. The structure of the bowline is identical to that of the sheet bend, except the bowline forms a loop in one rope and the sheet bend joins two ropes.
  • Clove Hitch – is a type of knot. It consists of two identical half hitches made successively around an object. It is most effective used as a crossing knot. Although it can be used as a binding knot, it is not particularly secure in that role.[1] A clove hitch made around the standing part of the line is known as either Two half-hitches or Buntline hitch, depending on whether half-hitches progress away or towards the hitched object.
  • Timber Hitch – is a knot used to attach a single length of rope to a piece of wood. This knot is easily undone after use.
  • Sheepshank – is a type of knot (or, more accurately unknot) that is used to shorten a rope or take up slack.
  • Square Knot – the reef knot or square knot is a common and simple binding knot.
  • Figure of eight knot – is a type of knot. It is very important in both sailing and rock climbing as a method of stopping ropes from running out of retaining devices.

How to do it?

I’ll just provide you the link to “You Tube” on video tutorials on how to make the knot tying of the following:


  • Figure of eight


Conclusion

Now that you know this important knot tying techniques, I would recommend that you practice them and learn it by heart. I’ll provide you also with this pdf file on “knot tying manual” or you can visit “Animated Knots” as your additional source of information . If you like to say something about this post, you can write your comment and say it. You can subscribe to our mailing list for instant updates on this article.

Philippine Maritime Shipping and Manning Companies Directories – Part 7

Friday, June 20th, 2008

The list of Philippine Maritime Shipping and Manning Companies provided in this article will help you in finding maritime jobs and shipping jobs on different maritime institute or maritime companies. Their information including their links would help a lot in finding your desired career jobs. This list connects to the previous related articles posted in the maritime category. You can subscribe for updates by using your email for free to get instant update about this post.

  • FALCON MARITIME & ALLIED SERVICES INC
    RM404 DNA FELISA SYJUCO REMED IOS COR TAFT MALATE
    Phone: 5262554 / 5241261 LOC.11
    Fax: 5266553
  • FILIPINAS KALAYAAN OVERSEAS SHIPPING INC
    3 MASCARDO ST.BGY.SINGKAMAS, L A PAZ VILLAGE,MKTI
    Phone: 8959994 / 8961556
  • FIL-PRIDE SHIPPING COMPANY INC
    SUITE 204 J & T BLDG 3894 R.MAGSAYSAY STA.MESA
    Phone: 7160825 / 7160176
  • FIL-SMS CORPORATION
    *S9,4F ROYAL BAY TERRACE COND. UN AVE. ERMITA MLA.
    Phone: 5238739/ 5216115/ 338051
    Fax: 3380511/ 5261016
    Email: fsms@skyinet.net
  • FIL-STAR MARITIME CORPORATION
    S1000 10F VICTORIA BLG UN AVE ERMITA MLA ERMITA MANILA
    Phone: 5219789/ 5235659/526778
    Fax: 5267288/ 5362086
    Email: FILSTAR@BROLINE.COM
  • FIRST VICTORY SHIPPING SERVICES
    GF MZZNNE FLR & 2F 137-F VALHALIA ST PASAY
    Phone: 5510998 / 5515345/ 51006
    Fax: 8337883
  • FIVE STAR MARINE SERVICES CORPORATION
    GF&MF NFWC BLG 964 ESCODA COR SN MRCELINO ERMITA
    Phone: 5211297 / 5361567
    Fax: 5361561
  • FLEET MANAGEMENT SERVICES PHILIPPINES INC
    RM. 500 PUSO NG MAYNILA, 1046 A.MABINI COR UN AVE ERMITA MANILA
    Phone: 4004929 / 4004928
    Fax: 4004930
    Email: fleet@world.net.ph
    Website: www.fleetship.com
  • FLOURISH MARITIME SHIPPING
    3F PHIL GUE KAW ASSO BLG,1907 MA OROSA MALATE MALATE MANILA
    Phone: 5217128 (TELEFAX)

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Complain to the Cook, is hazardous to your health

Wednesday, June 18th, 2008

A person who gives excessive complaints, also known as complainers are very common on the ship. You can consider yourself a lucky person if you haven’t work with a complainer. Mostly they complain about the food. Its either they don’t like the food, or the way the chief steward prepares it. Eventually they will eat the food, after a few minutes of whining and complaining. But most of the time they will say harsh words to the cook whenever they don’t like the food. After reading this article, maybe you would consider to stop complaining with your food, and start appreciating the cook.

Being a Chief Cook on the Ship

A Chief Cook or Chief Steward basically takes charge of the budgeting and the kind of foods that his assistant would prepare for the crew’s breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The Galley Department is just one of the three departments on a merchant ship. So the Chief Cook is the sole leader and responsible person for his department.

Misunderstanding

Some crew who constantly complain, usually start by saying their complaints to the messboy. Then later on, the messboy will tell this to the assistant cook or directly to his Chief Steward. After that, expect the worst.

What could happen after a misunderstanding?

  • You can have a choice to continue eating or find a canned food to eat.
  • You can tell your complain to the Chief Officer for deck crew, or to Chief Engineer if your an engine crew.
  • Most of the time the Officers directly complain to the Chief Steward which could worsen the situation.

Let me tell you a real story that happen to one of the ship I worked with. A pumpman who likes to be very close to the Captain always prepare a special food and give this to the Captain as a bribe. The Chief Steward allowed him to cook in the galley for the reason that he doesn’t like any untoward incident or misunderstanding with the pumpman and the captain. But after a month, as the pumpman gains the captain’s trust, he became a complainer. He starts complaining about the food and start saying “If you cook me this food again, I’ll tell the Captain to send you home”. A very strong word that he should have never said. As a usual routine the pumpman always cook food for the captain. But the Steward hides the knives. When the pumpman start to asking for the knives, the Chief Steward look at him very angry and pull out a little bit short knife, and slam it on the table in the galley. After that he said to the pumpman “If you are strong and man enough try to touch the knife and see what will happen”. This means war isn’t it?

So the pumpman complains to the captain about the Chief Stewards attitude and asking him to send the Steward home. But the Captain makes a joke that if you choose the Cook to be your enemy, he might poison your food without you knowing it. The pumpman start to think that day, and never eat the food that the Chief Steward prepare for him. He only eats salad and bread. After a month he became crazy and was unable to perform his duty and was repatriated for further treatment.

I asked the cook if he really plan to poison the pumpman, he said to me “No, Never”, saying it with a smile on his face. We can never tell really if it will result to that kind of situation. I just hope that it doesn’t.

Ask yourself

So now, are you’re a complainer? If your a Galley Department most wanted complainer you better start thinking and be more friendly. After all you have nothing to lose for being friendly. A famous quote of Oscar Wilde says.

“Be careful to choose your enemies well. Friends don’t much matter. But the choice of enemies is very important.”

Have to say?

Share your personal experience similar to this article. Let us hear from you so we can exchange ideas. Write it on the comment box below and be heard.