My recent blog post, Why the hell would a Filipino still want to be a seafarer?, drew an interesting reaction from a reader, Captain Jill Friedman of Texas. “The question is, why the hell would anyone still want to be a seafarer?” said she. “With STCW destroying our chances of getting work outside the US and costing us a fortune to keep our documents current, it’s a no-win situation. Add to that the fact that companies are always cutting crew size, pay and benefits.”

The comments are revealing. They come from an old sea dog who is licensed by the US Coast Guard as an Unlimited Master and a DPO (Dynamic Positioning Operator) Unlimited and who has worked on board merchant vessels as well as offshore platforms. Equally important, Captain Jill has loved boats since childhood. Going to sea is in her blood.

That love has not gone away. “It’s still the only job I would ever consider for a career,” Captain Jill pointed out, “BUT it’s so hard to justify nowadays, knowing how much better it used to be (and could be again IF they would just think about something other than money).”

Captain Jill Friedman:

“It’s still the only job I would ever consider for a career, BUT it’s so hard to justify nowadays, knowing how much better it used to be.”

Her parting shot was not less candid and cutting: “Most of the maritime schools should be shut down since there are nowhere near enough jobs for their graduates. That only promotes the dog-eat-dog race to the bottom on wages and mariners willing to put up with horrible shipboard conditions to get one of those coveted jobs they’ve just spent years in school and who knows how much money to get!”

It’s food for thought for seafarers everywhere.

~Barista Uno

The Marine Cafe Blog

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