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IronMike11B4O

Anyone else work in the Marine Industry?

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Anyone else work in the Marine Industry? I'm a Journey man Propeller Technician currently working at the old Kaiser Shipyard in Portland Oregon. It's where a literal boatload of Casablanca class CV's were built. Before that I have worked at the Todd Tacoma yard where the Murmansk was built as well as at the oldest drydock on the West Coast at Mare Island. Just curious if I'm the only one who works on ships by day and plays ships by night.

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During my active duty days I was on a destroyer for four year and visited half the world during the cold war of course........ 

 

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1 hour ago, CLUCH_CARGO said:

I fixed a broken oar on a rowboat in a farm pond once.

 

Oar with a crack in it

Cracked oar

Crack oar

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I am not really in the marine industry anymore, but I still work for the same company.

 

I was an engine technician, where my main source of work were reciprocating powerplants (AKA diesel engines, lol) <100L on stuff like crewboats and workboats. Throughout the Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean and north coast of South America.

Edited by twitch133
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I was in the Army so I didn't have much to do with ships. I was a boating safety instructor in Oregon but that was for recreational boats. I have a cousin who works on marine engines though. 

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2 hours ago, IronMike11B4O said:

Anyone else work in the Marine Industry? I'm a Journey man Propeller Technician currently working at the old Kaiser Shipyard in Portland Oregon. It's where a literal boatload of Casablanca class CV's were built. Before that I have worked at the Todd Tacoma yard where the Murmansk was built as well as at the oldest drydock on the West Coast at Mare Island. Just curious if I'm the only one who works on ships by day and plays ships by night.

Ex Navy, but out of the ship game these days.  Not far from you though.  I work at Intel in Hillsboro.  My girlfriend is a contracts administrator at Vigor shipyards on swan island.  Kind of weird to talk ships with her, but fun also.  lol.  

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11 minutes ago, CaptGodzillaPig said:

Ex Navy, but out of the ship game these days.  Not far from you though.  I work at Intel in Hillsboro.  My girlfriend is a contracts administrator at Vigor shipyards on swan island.  Kind of weird to talk ships with her, but fun also.  lol.  

I wonder if I have met her? I work for Sheffield Marine Propeller we are the sub contractor that does all of Vigors propulsion work on the Drydocks.

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Well i'm still a college pleb who hasn't worked a day in his sorry life, but i can talk about my parental grandfather.

 

He was a Vietnam Veteran, he never went into combat (in a way a good thing, no disrespect to those who did), but he worked with the US Navy for quite a few years. Can't remember exactly what he did right now though...i BELIEVE he worked in logistics when it came to shipments and such. Traveled on several ships around the world, most notably some aircraft carriers. One of his best pictures is one he took on the deck of an aircraft carrier looking out at the midnight sun of Alaska.

 

Later on he became port captain for many years for the port of Mayagüez, Puerto Rico. There he worked until he retired. 

Because of him I've always had an interest in maritime subjects. He used to tell me stories of when he used to work, never in too much detail though, can't blame him to be honest.

 

Fair seas mates. :Smile_honoring:

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I was a Jet Ski Instructor/Renter in Maui for 15 years. Navy back in the Early 80's. Made a lot of Boat moorings and did some underwater recovery. Sail boat charters on a 65 foot McGregor.65sailingcatalina.jpg.4309cb3532498a6e8ea0d43d0660569b.jpg

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I worked as a licensed deck officer on containerships for just over 4 years. I graduated from Maine Maritime Academy in 2011 with an unlimited tonnage, any oceans 3rd Mate license and a whole slew of lesser qualifications (certified lifeboatman, Vessel Security Officer, GMDSS Radio Operator, Officer in Charge of the Navigational Watch unlimited, you get the idea). I loved the money, and I liked being ashore 5-7 months of the year with very little requirements on my time. I liked being at sea, and I enjoyed the navigational watches etc.

 

I hated the foreign ports we went to (almost all of them were complete shltholes in the middle east or India), I didn't like only have about 90 hours of notice before having to go to sea for a minimum of about 10 weeks, I didn't like the fact that more than half the work I did was just regulatory bullcrap. I didn't like the lottery of getting a ship where the captain was great, or where the captain was terrible. I didn't like the uncertainty basically. (If you want to know what I mean about a bad captain, if anyone is familiar with Captain Harry Ricks in Tom Clancy's The Sum of All Fears, I practically went to sea with that guy. I only said with him for 9 days and it was like a living hell).

 

I worked as part of a union, so I sailed for several different companies. When I wasn't at sea, if a ship from our union came into Norfolk, I would go down to the ship and I would relieve the ship's officers and stand the cargo watches for them. It paid pretty decent, but was usually only like 7-20 hours per week, so it wasn't enough to live on.

 

These are the ships I sailed on. I'm not going to count the Maine Maritime Academy training ship, the TS State of Maine IV, but I did sail on her in summer of 2008 and in summer of 2010 for 60 days both times.

Spoiler

Summer of 2009 I spent 86 days as a cadet in training aboard SS Maui with Matson Navigation Company. She was built in 1979 at Bath Ironworks, Bath, Maine. I think she was actually the last merchant hull they built, but I could be wrong. SS Maui is an 1850 TEU containership (TEU measures how many 20' containers the ship can load - 1850 TEU is very small). The ship was on a 14 day run from Seattle to Oakland to Honolulu and back to Seattle. That was a great ship to work on and I would have loved to be 3rd Mate on her.

12300243524_166c133325_b.jpg

 

This was the first ship I sailed on as an officer out of school. MV Sealand Mercury. The ship was part of Maersk Line Limited, which is the US subsidiary of Maersk Line, which is part of AP Moeller Maersk Group, which is one of the biggest MNCs on earth. They basically own the entire country of Denmark, plus over 20% of the entire world's container shipping capacity. I had a god awful time on the Mercury. The captain had a legendary hatred for rookies, and I quit the ship after 21 days (it was only supposed to be a 35 day trip) because if I didn't quit, I was going to be fired. It was a really great way to spend Christmas of 2011 let me tell you. I made some real mistakes, but I was brand new out of school and the captain and chief mate couldn't be bothered to maybe try and train the new guy (and the 2nd mate was super old, super lazy, and useless so I was teaching HIM stuff). Trust me when I say any captain can manufacture enough mistakes from a new officer to get them fired, and he told me to either quit and look bad, or get fired and be basically screwed with the union for ever. I chose to quit, and then promised that I wasn't ever going to associate with that ship ever again. I've only ever met one person who sailed with that captain who didn't hate him, and she was the chief mate on that trip... so yeah it went poorly. If I had stayed in the union, that captain being a [edited] probably set my career advancement back around 2 years just because he didn't want inexperienced officers on his ship. Well, he made all the experienced ones hate him, and they would refuse to sail with him, so all he ever got were rookies. When he became a Huston Pilot, many members of my old union were happy.

Image result for sealand mercury

 

The next ship I was on was the MV Maersk Kentucky. Again, she was part of Maersk Line Limited. I spent a lot of time on this ship, and for the most part it was a good time. Sealand Mercury and Maersk Kentucky were both around the same size, something like 292m long, 35m beam and 12m draft. They both carried a similar number of containers too. I think Kentucky was roughly 4,600 TEU but I can't remember. Any, Maersk Kentucky was part of Maersk's so called G Class, and was originally named Glassgow Maersk. I was on her for 49 days over Christmas of 2012. Then I got off the ship, and 49 days later I got back on her for 2 more back to back 49 day runs. We went to Middle East and Indian shltholes. The crew was good. Both Chief Mates and both Captains were good to work with, and so was pretty much everyone else. Lots of stuff on the ship was broken though, which kind of sucked, but when our elevator was broken, at least it was funny to watch the Suez Canal Pilots complain lol. On one trip on that ship, the Bosun was a guy named Kelly, and he died when the El Faro sank a while back, so that was an unexpected shock to me. He was the 4th person on that ship that I knew, and the only one I didn't know from school.

Image result for maersk kentucky

 

After the Kentucky, I worked a 1 trip, 45 day job on on the MV Washington Express, again it was over Chirstmas, but this time it was 2013. She was a Hapag Llyod ship, but was operated by Crowley. This was a good ship too. The Captain liked me, and I liked him too, plus the Chief Mate was chill as all hell. I had a good time on the Washington Express, and would have gone back if I'd gotten the chance. She was a bit smaller than the Kentucky and didn't pay quite as well, but the ship was so, so, so much less stressful. It was totally worth it. 

Image result for Washington Express

 

The next ship I was on was also the best ship I was on. About a month after I got off Washinton Express, I got on MV APL Agate. APL used to be one of the best US flagged companies to work for in the container shipping business. It's not as great as it used to be 30 years ago, but APL was still one of our best contracts. The Agate was a good ship. Great Captain, awesome Chief Mate, good food, good route, we had beer on the ship, the lounge was awesome. We went to Singapore and Thailand and actually stopped long enough to go ashore. We went to other decent ports, but I rarely got off the ship. The company had also realized that the deck department needed a 4th man, and so the Agate had 2 3rd Mates instead of one, plus the normal 2nd Mate and Chief Mate. This meant that the Chief Mate never stood watch and only focused on all his Chief Mate duties, which were many and plenty to fill a whole working day without 8 hours of watch tossed on top. I tried to get back on the Agate twice, but both times it didn't work out. At the time I sailed on her, which was spring of 2014, the Agate Class of container ships were the largest US flagged container ships. I think they were about 5,400 TEU. This is a lot bigger than the old SS Maui, but still not really that big. When I was on the Agate, we passed the largest containership in the world (at the time) which was the 18,500 TEU Maersk McKinney Moeller (which was the lead ship of Maersk's Triple E class, which had since been left far behind as largest container ship in the world)

Image result for APL Agate

 

I'm going to toss this one in because it was weird. I technically "sailed" on this ship, but actually spent most of the time at the dock. This ship is called USNS Gordon. It's basically a government owned ship that is on perpetual stand by in case of war. The government would activate the ship, crew it with guys like me, load that SOB with military cargo and sail for the war zone. They did this sort of thing during Desert Shield and Iraqi Freedom. I was only on the Gordon for 5 days. She left Baltimore for a 3 to 5 day long sea trial, but had so many breakdowns that it took her 10 days to get from Baltimore to Newport News. They were supposed to do a full power engine speed trail off the mouth of Chesapeake Bay. As it turns out, laying up a ship for years at a time with very little crew and maintenance causes basically everything to break. Well, the guy who signed on as 3rd mate for the 3 to 5 days, extended to 10 days, had other commitments and wanted to get off, so I agreed to get on for the duration. We spent 4 more days at the dock in Newport News before being ready for sea, and by that time the ship had burned up so much fuel that they didn't have enough left for the full power trial, and the weather off Virginia had gotten too crappy to do a full power trial in the first place so they cancelled the speed run and we spent the last day going back to Baltimore, tying up the ship and putting it all back into layup status. They gave me 200 dollars to cover my travel costs back to Norfolk, and I went and rented a Dodge Charger and drove home. It was actually kind of a cool ship. It had been converted from a regular merchant ship, and had been "jumboized" at some point. When converted to an LMSR, it was renamed after Master Sergeant Gary Gordon. He was from Maine, like I am, and is fairly well known thanks to the movie Black Hawk Down. Gordon was one of the 2 Delta Force guys who went down to the 2nd crashed chopper to try and rescue the pilot, but was killed in action before additional troops could arrive.

Image result for USNS Gordon

 

Here is the last ship I was on. MV Maersk Memphis. This ship... it was ok. I liked one captain, HATED the other (he was the one that reminded me of the terrible captain from The Sum of All Fears). I was on this ship for 2 trips of 77 days each, but I took a 77 day trip off in between the two trips, and again it was over Christmas, but this time of 2014, and on into the spring of 2015. Maersk had flagged these ships American a few months after I got off the APL Agate. That made these Maersk K Class ships the biggest US flagged container ships at the time, and they were around 6,400 TEU. At the time I was on Maersk Memphis the largest container ship in the world was the MSC Oscar, and she was around 20,000 TEU. MSC Oscar actually tied up right behind us one day in Algeciras (which is right across Gibraltar Bay from the rock), and I can tell you that Memphis was absolutely dwarfed by MSC Oscar. Anything that makes a 297m long, 42 meter wide, 14m draft, ship seem small - when you are looking at it from 38 meters up on inside of the ship's bridge... well that other guy is just HUGE. Anyway, I took so much crap on the Memphis that I decided it was my last ship. My license needed to be renewed about 6 months after I got off Memphis, and even though I had the sea time I needed to advance to a 2nd Mate's license, and I wasn't too far from full book membership in the union, I decided I'd had enough of that bullcrap and I just left. Weird sidenote on the Maersk Memphis - apparently there was a dirty bomb scare on that ship fairly recently. Let's just say I'm glad I had nothing to do with that. Turns out it was all a bunch of crap cooked up by conspiracy theory nutcases, but it got out and people believe everything they read on the internet... and so it became a big deal. Anyway, here is the ship.

Image result for Maersk Memphis

Since quitting the ship, I moved back to Maine from Virginia and got my CDL. Now I work as a truck driver for a local company hauling milk in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and Massachusetts. I plan to do that until I can get certified as a CDL instructor, and then I'm going to work with my father. He owns and runs a CDL training school called Keep Right Inc. I get paid a lot less now, I work a lot more, have way less benefits, time off, and overall freedom. I'm much happier though, since I also work steady, instead of randomly. I also have to do a lot less B S, and essentially now I'm just an honest worker. Money really isn't everything.
 

Spoiler

This is the truck I drive most often

Image may contain: sky and outdoor

 

This is my dad's current driving school truck with me hanging out the window practicing the alley dock in the mud (we're looking at getting another one.

No automatic alt text available.

 

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Fishing guide and beer drinker. I did some personal stone crabbing, nothing commercial. Do have my Captains license, small time, 25ton Near Coastal.

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1 hour ago, IronMike11B4O said:

I wonder if I have met her? I work for Sheffield Marine Propeller we are the sub contractor that does all of Vigors propulsion work on the Drydocks.

She worked on the fab side when they built the big ammonia barge recently.  After that project she moved over to the repair side.  Tall gal.  Dark hair.  I won't say her name on here.

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2 hours ago, Captain_Dorja said:

I worked as a licensed deck officer on containerships for just over 4 years. I graduated from Maine Maritime Academy in 2011 with an unlimited tonnage, any oceans 3rd Mate license and a whole slew of lesser qualifications (certified lifeboatman, Vessel Security Officer, GMDSS Radio Operator, Officer in Charge of the Navigational Watch unlimited, you get the idea). I loved the money, and I liked being ashore 5-7 months of the year with very little requirements on my time. I liked being at sea, and I enjoyed the navigational watches etc.

 

I hated the foreign ports we went to (almost all of them were complete shltholes in the middle east or India), I didn't like only have about 90 hours of notice before having to go to sea for a minimum of about 10 weeks, I didn't like the fact that more than half the work I did was just regulatory bullcrap. I didn't like the lottery of getting a ship where the captain was great, or where the captain was terrible. I didn't like the uncertainty basically. (If you want to know what I mean about a bad captain, if anyone is familiar with Captain Harry Ricks in Tom Clancy's The Sum of All Fears, I practically went to sea with that guy. I only said with him for 9 days and it was like a living hell).

 

I worked as part of a union, so I sailed for several different companies. When I wasn't at sea, if a ship from our union came into Norfolk, I would go down to the ship and I would relieve the ship's officers and stand the cargo watches for them. It paid pretty decent, but was usually only like 7-20 hours per week, so it wasn't enough to live on.

 

These are the ships I sailed on. I'm not going to count the Maine Maritime Academy training ship, the TS State of Maine IV, but I did sail on her in summer of 2008 and in summer of 2010 for 60 days both times.

  Reveal hidden contents

Summer of 2009 I spent 86 days as a cadet in training aboard SS Maui with Matson Navigation Company. She was built in 1979 at Bath Ironworks, Bath, Maine. I think she was actually the last merchant hull they built, but I could be wrong. SS Maui is an 1850 TEU containership (TEU measures how many 20' containers the ship can load - 1850 TEU is very small). The ship was on a 14 day run from Seattle to Oakland to Honolulu and back to Seattle. That was a great ship to work on and I would have loved to be 3rd Mate on her.

12300243524_166c133325_b.jpg

 

This was the first ship I sailed on as an officer out of school. MV Sealand Mercury. The ship was part of Maersk Line Limited, which is the US subsidiary of Maersk Line, which is part of AP Moeller Maersk Group, which is one of the biggest MNCs on earth. They basically own the entire country of Denmark, plus over 20% of the entire world's container shipping capacity. I had a god awful time on the Mercury. The captain had a legendary hatred for rookies, and I quit the ship after 21 days (it was only supposed to be a 35 day trip) because if I didn't quit, I was going to be fired. It was a really great way to spend Christmas of 2011 let me tell you. I made some real mistakes, but I was brand new out of school and the captain and chief mate couldn't be bothered to maybe try and train the new guy (and the 2nd mate was super old, super lazy, and useless so I was teaching HIM stuff). Trust me when I say any captain can manufacture enough mistakes from a new officer to get them fired, and he told me to either quit and look bad, or get fired and be basically screwed with the union for ever. I chose to quit, and then promised that I wasn't ever going to associate with that ship ever again. I've only ever met one person who sailed with that captain who didn't hate him, and she was the chief mate on that trip... so yeah it went poorly. If I had stayed in the union, that captain being a [edited] probably set my career advancement back around 2 years just because he didn't want inexperienced officers on his ship. Well, he made all the experienced ones hate him, and they would refuse to sail with him, so all he ever got were rookies. When he became a Huston Pilot, many members of my old union were happy.

Image result for sealand mercury

 

The next ship I was on was the MV Maersk Kentucky. Again, she was part of Maersk Line Limited. I spent a lot of time on this ship, and for the most part it was a good time. Sealand Mercury and Maersk Kentucky were both around the same size, something like 292m long, 35m beam and 12m draft. They both carried a similar number of containers too. I think Kentucky was roughly 4,600 TEU but I can't remember. Any, Maersk Kentucky was part of Maersk's so called G Class, and was originally named Glassgow Maersk. I was on her for 49 days over Christmas of 2012. Then I got off the ship, and 49 days later I got back on her for 2 more back to back 49 day runs. We went to Middle East and Indian shltholes. The crew was good. Both Chief Mates and both Captains were good to work with, and so was pretty much everyone else. Lots of stuff on the ship was broken though, which kind of sucked, but when our elevator was broken, at least it was funny to watch the Suez Canal Pilots complain lol. On one trip on that ship, the Bosun was a guy named Kelly, and he died when the El Faro sank a while back, so that was an unexpected shock to me. He was the 4th person on that ship that I knew, and the only one I didn't know from school.

Image result for maersk kentucky

 

After the Kentucky, I worked a 1 trip, 45 day job on on the MV Washington Express, again it was over Chirstmas, but this time it was 2013. She was a Hapag Llyod ship, but was operated by Crowley. This was a good ship too. The Captain liked me, and I liked him too, plus the Chief Mate was chill as all hell. I had a good time on the Washington Express, and would have gone back if I'd gotten the chance. She was a bit smaller than the Kentucky and didn't pay quite as well, but the ship was so, so, so much less stressful. It was totally worth it. 

Image result for Washington Express

 

The next ship I was on was also the best ship I was on. About a month after I got off Washinton Express, I got on MV APL Agate. APL used to be one of the best US flagged companies to work for in the container shipping business. It's not as great as it used to be 30 years ago, but APL was still one of our best contracts. The Agate was a good ship. Great Captain, awesome Chief Mate, good food, good route, we had beer on the ship, the lounge was awesome. We went to Singapore and Thailand and actually stopped long enough to go ashore. We went to other decent ports, but I rarely got off the ship. The company had also realized that the deck department needed a 4th man, and so the Agate had 2 3rd Mates instead of one, plus the normal 2nd Mate and Chief Mate. This meant that the Chief Mate never stood watch and only focused on all his Chief Mate duties, which were many and plenty to fill a whole working day without 8 hours of watch tossed on top. I tried to get back on the Agate twice, but both times it didn't work out. At the time I sailed on her, which was spring of 2014, the Agate Class of container ships were the largest US flagged container ships. I think they were about 5,400 TEU. This is a lot bigger than the old SS Maui, but still not really that big. When I was on the Agate, we passed the largest containership in the world (at the time) which was the 18,500 TEU Maersk McKinney Moeller (which was the lead ship of Maersk's Triple E class, which had since been left far behind as largest container ship in the world)

Image result for APL Agate

 

I'm going to toss this one in because it was weird. I technically "sailed" on this ship, but actually spent most of the time at the dock. This ship is called USNS Gordon. It's basically a government owned ship that is on perpetual stand by in case of war. The government would activate the ship, crew it with guys like me, load that SOB with military cargo and sail for the war zone. They did this sort of thing during Desert Shield and Iraqi Freedom. I was only on the Gordon for 5 days. She left Baltimore for a 3 to 5 day long sea trial, but had so many breakdowns that it took her 10 days to get from Baltimore to Newport News. They were supposed to do a full power engine speed trail off the mouth of Chesapeake Bay. As it turns out, laying up a ship for years at a time with very little crew and maintenance causes basically everything to break. Well, the guy who signed on as 3rd mate for the 3 to 5 days, extended to 10 days, had other commitments and wanted to get off, so I agreed to get on for the duration. We spent 4 more days at the dock in Newport News before being ready for sea, and by that time the ship had burned up so much fuel that they didn't have enough left for the full power trial, and the weather off Virginia had gotten too crappy to do a full power trial in the first place so they cancelled the speed run and we spent the last day going back to Baltimore, tying up the ship and putting it all back into layup status. They gave me 200 dollars to cover my travel costs back to Norfolk, and I went and rented a Dodge Charger and drove home. It was actually kind of a cool ship. It had been converted from a regular merchant ship, and had been "jumboized" at some point. When converted to an LMSR, it was renamed after Master Sergeant Gary Gordon. He was from Maine, like I am, and is fairly well known thanks to the movie Black Hawk Down. Gordon was one of the 2 Delta Force guys who went down to the 2nd crashed chopper to try and rescue the pilot, but was killed in action before additional troops could arrive.

Image result for USNS Gordon

 

Here is the last ship I was on. MV Maersk Memphis. This ship... it was ok. I liked one captain, HATED the other (he was the one that reminded me of the terrible captain from The Sum of All Fears). I was on this ship for 2 trips of 77 days each, but I took a 77 day trip off in between the two trips, and again it was over Christmas, but this time of 2014, and on into the spring of 2015. Maersk had flagged these ships American a few months after I got off the APL Agate. That made these Maersk K Class ships the biggest US flagged container ships at the time, and they were around 6,400 TEU. At the time I was on Maersk Memphis the largest container ship in the world was the MSC Oscar, and she was around 20,000 TEU. MSC Oscar actually tied up right behind us one day in Algeciras (which is right across Gibraltar Bay from the rock), and I can tell you that Memphis was absolutely dwarfed by MSC Oscar. Anything that makes a 297m long, 42 meter wide, 14m draft, ship seem small - when you are looking at it from 38 meters up on inside of the ship's bridge... well that other guy is just HUGE. Anyway, I took so much crap on the Memphis that I decided it was my last ship. My license needed to be renewed about 6 months after I got off Memphis, and even though I had the sea time I needed to advance to a 2nd Mate's license, and I wasn't too far from full book membership in the union, I decided I'd had enough of that bullcrap and I just left. Weird sidenote on the Maersk Memphis - apparently there was a dirty bomb scare on that ship fairly recently. Let's just say I'm glad I had nothing to do with that. Turns out it was all a bunch of crap cooked up by conspiracy theory nutcases, but it got out and people believe everything they read on the internet... and so it became a big deal. Anyway, here is the ship.

Image result for Maersk Memphis

Since quitting the ship, I moved back to Maine from Virginia and got my CDL. Now I work as a truck driver for a local company hauling milk in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and Massachusetts. I plan to do that until I can get certified as a CDL instructor, and then I'm going to work with my father. He owns and runs a CDL training school called Keep Right Inc. I get paid a lot less now, I work a lot more, have way less benefits, time off, and overall freedom. I'm much happier though, since I also work steady, instead of randomly. I also have to do a lot less B S, and essentially now I'm just an honest worker. Money really isn't everything.
 

  Reveal hidden contents

This is the truck I drive most often

Image may contain: sky and outdoor

 

This is my dad's current driving school truck with me hanging out the window practicing the alley dock in the mud (we're looking at getting another one.

No automatic alt text available.

 

 

Looks like an older rig?

 

Circa mid '90's Western Star?

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@twitch133 It's a 2010 Western Star 4900. We have 3 identical spec ones like that, but the emission systems cause a lot of problems. Those 3 are DD15s and I don't think they had quite figured out how they wanted to get their new emission system to work, cause it's constantly playing up. We have some 2012 4900s too. They have a different system and DD13s. It doesn't seem to be as troublesome, but still seem temperamental.

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6 hours ago, Captain_Dorja said:

I worked as a licensed deck officer on containerships for just over 4 years. I graduated from Maine Maritime Academy in 2011 with an unlimited tonnage, any oceans 3rd Mate license and a whole slew of lesser qualifications (certified lifeboatman, Vessel Security Officer, GMDSS Radio Operator, Officer in Charge of the Navigational Watch unlimited, you get the idea). I loved the money, and I liked being ashore 5-7 months of the year with very little requirements on my time. I liked being at sea, and I enjoyed the navigational watches etc.

 

I hated the foreign ports we went to (almost all of them were complete shltholes in the middle east or India), I didn't like only have about 90 hours of notice before having to go to sea for a minimum of about 10 weeks, I didn't like the fact that more than half the work I did was just regulatory bullcrap. I didn't like the lottery of getting a ship where the captain was great, or where the captain was terrible. I didn't like the uncertainty basically. (If you want to know what I mean about a bad captain, if anyone is familiar with Captain Harry Ricks in Tom Clancy's The Sum of All Fears, I practically went to sea with that guy. I only said with him for 9 days and it was like a living hell).

 

I worked as part of a union, so I sailed for several different companies. When I wasn't at sea, if a ship from our union came into Norfolk, I would go down to the ship and I would relieve the ship's officers and stand the cargo watches for them. It paid pretty decent, but was usually only like 7-20 hours per week, so it wasn't enough to live on.

 

These are the ships I sailed on. I'm not going to count the Maine Maritime Academy training ship, the TS State of Maine IV, but I did sail on her in summer of 2008 and in summer of 2010 for 60 days both times.

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Summer of 2009 I spent 86 days as a cadet in training aboard SS Maui with Matson Navigation Company. She was built in 1979 at Bath Ironworks, Bath, Maine. I think she was actually the last merchant hull they built, but I could be wrong. SS Maui is an 1850 TEU containership (TEU measures how many 20' containers the ship can load - 1850 TEU is very small). The ship was on a 14 day run from Seattle to Oakland to Honolulu and back to Seattle. That was a great ship to work on and I would have loved to be 3rd Mate on her.

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This was the first ship I sailed on as an officer out of school. MV Sealand Mercury. The ship was part of Maersk Line Limited, which is the US subsidiary of Maersk Line, which is part of AP Moeller Maersk Group, which is one of the biggest MNCs on earth. They basically own the entire country of Denmark, plus over 20% of the entire world's container shipping capacity. I had a god awful time on the Mercury. The captain had a legendary hatred for rookies, and I quit the ship after 21 days (it was only supposed to be a 35 day trip) because if I didn't quit, I was going to be fired. It was a really great way to spend Christmas of 2011 let me tell you. I made some real mistakes, but I was brand new out of school and the captain and chief mate couldn't be bothered to maybe try and train the new guy (and the 2nd mate was super old, super lazy, and useless so I was teaching HIM stuff). Trust me when I say any captain can manufacture enough mistakes from a new officer to get them fired, and he told me to either quit and look bad, or get fired and be basically screwed with the union for ever. I chose to quit, and then promised that I wasn't ever going to associate with that ship ever again. I've only ever met one person who sailed with that captain who didn't hate him, and she was the chief mate on that trip... so yeah it went poorly. If I had stayed in the union, that captain being a [edited] probably set my career advancement back around 2 years just because he didn't want inexperienced officers on his ship. Well, he made all the experienced ones hate him, and they would refuse to sail with him, so all he ever got were rookies. When he became a Huston Pilot, many members of my old union were happy.

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The next ship I was on was the MV Maersk Kentucky. Again, she was part of Maersk Line Limited. I spent a lot of time on this ship, and for the most part it was a good time. Sealand Mercury and Maersk Kentucky were both around the same size, something like 292m long, 35m beam and 12m draft. They both carried a similar number of containers too. I think Kentucky was roughly 4,600 TEU but I can't remember. Any, Maersk Kentucky was part of Maersk's so called G Class, and was originally named Glassgow Maersk. I was on her for 49 days over Christmas of 2012. Then I got off the ship, and 49 days later I got back on her for 2 more back to back 49 day runs. We went to Middle East and Indian shltholes. The crew was good. Both Chief Mates and both Captains were good to work with, and so was pretty much everyone else. Lots of stuff on the ship was broken though, which kind of sucked, but when our elevator was broken, at least it was funny to watch the Suez Canal Pilots complain lol. On one trip on that ship, the Bosun was a guy named Kelly, and he died when the El Faro sank a while back, so that was an unexpected shock to me. He was the 4th person on that ship that I knew, and the only one I didn't know from school.

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After the Kentucky, I worked a 1 trip, 45 day job on on the MV Washington Express, again it was over Chirstmas, but this time it was 2013. She was a Hapag Llyod ship, but was operated by Crowley. This was a good ship too. The Captain liked me, and I liked him too, plus the Chief Mate was chill as all hell. I had a good time on the Washington Express, and would have gone back if I'd gotten the chance. She was a bit smaller than the Kentucky and didn't pay quite as well, but the ship was so, so, so much less stressful. It was totally worth it. 

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The next ship I was on was also the best ship I was on. About a month after I got off Washinton Express, I got on MV APL Agate. APL used to be one of the best US flagged companies to work for in the container shipping business. It's not as great as it used to be 30 years ago, but APL was still one of our best contracts. The Agate was a good ship. Great Captain, awesome Chief Mate, good food, good route, we had beer on the ship, the lounge was awesome. We went to Singapore and Thailand and actually stopped long enough to go ashore. We went to other decent ports, but I rarely got off the ship. The company had also realized that the deck department needed a 4th man, and so the Agate had 2 3rd Mates instead of one, plus the normal 2nd Mate and Chief Mate. This meant that the Chief Mate never stood watch and only focused on all his Chief Mate duties, which were many and plenty to fill a whole working day without 8 hours of watch tossed on top. I tried to get back on the Agate twice, but both times it didn't work out. At the time I sailed on her, which was spring of 2014, the Agate Class of container ships were the largest US flagged container ships. I think they were about 5,400 TEU. This is a lot bigger than the old SS Maui, but still not really that big. When I was on the Agate, we passed the largest containership in the world (at the time) which was the 18,500 TEU Maersk McKinney Moeller (which was the lead ship of Maersk's Triple E class, which had since been left far behind as largest container ship in the world)

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I'm going to toss this one in because it was weird. I technically "sailed" on this ship, but actually spent most of the time at the dock. This ship is called USNS Gordon. It's basically a government owned ship that is on perpetual stand by in case of war. The government would activate the ship, crew it with guys like me, load that SOB with military cargo and sail for the war zone. They did this sort of thing during Desert Shield and Iraqi Freedom. I was only on the Gordon for 5 days. She left Baltimore for a 3 to 5 day long sea trial, but had so many breakdowns that it took her 10 days to get from Baltimore to Newport News. They were supposed to do a full power engine speed trail off the mouth of Chesapeake Bay. As it turns out, laying up a ship for years at a time with very little crew and maintenance causes basically everything to break. Well, the guy who signed on as 3rd mate for the 3 to 5 days, extended to 10 days, had other commitments and wanted to get off, so I agreed to get on for the duration. We spent 4 more days at the dock in Newport News before being ready for sea, and by that time the ship had burned up so much fuel that they didn't have enough left for the full power trial, and the weather off Virginia had gotten too crappy to do a full power trial in the first place so they cancelled the speed run and we spent the last day going back to Baltimore, tying up the ship and putting it all back into layup status. They gave me 200 dollars to cover my travel costs back to Norfolk, and I went and rented a Dodge Charger and drove home. It was actually kind of a cool ship. It had been converted from a regular merchant ship, and had been "jumboized" at some point. When converted to an LMSR, it was renamed after Master Sergeant Gary Gordon. He was from Maine, like I am, and is fairly well known thanks to the movie Black Hawk Down. Gordon was one of the 2 Delta Force guys who went down to the 2nd crashed chopper to try and rescue the pilot, but was killed in action before additional troops could arrive.

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Here is the last ship I was on. MV Maersk Memphis. This ship... it was ok. I liked one captain, HATED the other (he was the one that reminded me of the terrible captain from The Sum of All Fears). I was on this ship for 2 trips of 77 days each, but I took a 77 day trip off in between the two trips, and again it was over Christmas, but this time of 2014, and on into the spring of 2015. Maersk had flagged these ships American a few months after I got off the APL Agate. That made these Maersk K Class ships the biggest US flagged container ships at the time, and they were around 6,400 TEU. At the time I was on Maersk Memphis the largest container ship in the world was the MSC Oscar, and she was around 20,000 TEU. MSC Oscar actually tied up right behind us one day in Algeciras (which is right across Gibraltar Bay from the rock), and I can tell you that Memphis was absolutely dwarfed by MSC Oscar. Anything that makes a 297m long, 42 meter wide, 14m draft, ship seem small - when you are looking at it from 38 meters up on inside of the ship's bridge... well that other guy is just HUGE. Anyway, I took so much crap on the Memphis that I decided it was my last ship. My license needed to be renewed about 6 months after I got off Memphis, and even though I had the sea time I needed to advance to a 2nd Mate's license, and I wasn't too far from full book membership in the union, I decided I'd had enough of that bullcrap and I just left. Weird sidenote on the Maersk Memphis - apparently there was a dirty bomb scare on that ship fairly recently. Let's just say I'm glad I had nothing to do with that. Turns out it was all a bunch of crap cooked up by conspiracy theory nutcases, but it got out and people believe everything they read on the internet... and so it became a big deal. Anyway, here is the ship.

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Since quitting the ship, I moved back to Maine from Virginia and got my CDL. Now I work as a truck driver for a local company hauling milk in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and Massachusetts. I plan to do that until I can get certified as a CDL instructor, and then I'm going to work with my father. He owns and runs a CDL training school called Keep Right Inc. I get paid a lot less now, I work a lot more, have way less benefits, time off, and overall freedom. I'm much happier though, since I also work steady, instead of randomly. I also have to do a lot less B S, and essentially now I'm just an honest worker. Money really isn't everything.
 

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This is the truck I drive most often

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This is my dad's current driving school truck with me hanging out the window practicing the alley dock in the mud (we're looking at getting another one.

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Cool story man thanks for sharing. 

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6 hours ago, Captain_Dorja said:

@twitch133 It's a 2010 Western Star 4900. We have 3 identical spec ones like that, but the emission systems cause a lot of problems. Those 3 are DD15s and I don't think they had quite figured out how they wanted to get their new emission system to work, cause it's constantly playing up. We have some 2012 4900s too. They have a different system and DD13s. It doesn't seem to be as troublesome, but still seem temperamental.

 

Man, I was way off base there. The styling of the grill, fenders and headlamps looks really similar to a couple of their competitor's looks in that time frame.

 

I guess that might be the point? Kind of like the Mistang and challenger... Pull off a throwback look.

 

2010 was a rough year for emissions though, with the introduction of scr / def. It brought in some new problems. 

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5 hours ago, twitch133 said:

 

Man, I was way off base there. The styling of the grill, fenders and headlamps looks really similar to a couple of their competitor's looks in that time frame.

 

I guess that might be the point? Kind of like the Mistang and challenger... Pull off a throwback look.

 

2010 was a rough year for emissions though, with the introduction of scr / def. It brought in some new problems. 

 

Yeah we have like 5 2010 trucks and they all have their issues. Also, early 90s Western Star 4900s look really similar to those ones. Some guy right near where my parents live had a 93, and I thought it was like 10 years need than that...

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