Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Someone fetch me a fainting couch, I gots the vapors!

Holy cow, did I get a pleasant surprise yesterday!

      So, in my last post, I lamented some bumps I've been having in the process of increasing tonnage and updating the endorsement expiration dates on my Merchant Mariner's Credential, the passport-like document that we use to document our bona fides , or, perhaps more accurately, that Port State Control and the glorified tax farmers that we also deal with use to DISqualify us for insufficient enthusiasm when it comes to loyalty to The Party, kissing ass and paying fees  performing proskynesis, fellatio and other niceties to prove our loyalty to the IMO's STCW code. Which is a fancy way of saying that maritime regulators have found a way to collect indirect taxes, create a layer of administrative hurdles and play Ultimate CYA by shifting blame to mariners and training issues when their awful policies kill or fail to address problems by requiring more training instead of providing practical solutions.

 OK, rant over. For now. Sorry. I was gettting all frothy for a minute there.

 At any rate, I had a problem recently in how the US Coast Guard evaluated my certificates and papers after I had submitted them, and I noted that despite the majority of my shipmates always having similar issues, I had had good luck until this time.

     Well, butter my balls and call 'em biscuits if I didn't get a call from the National Maritime Center (The Coast Guard's merchant mariner administration center) asking for clarification and did I want some help in resolving my issues?

 Coulda knocked me over with a feather. They called me.

 A very nice lady named Kim went over my application, asked directly what, exactly I wanted, and then, after going over some papers, found that 1) They did indeed already have much of the paperwork that they had asked me to resubmit, 2). that while I didn't ask them to actually renew my credential for another 5 years, since I am halfway to my next renewal, they'd go ahead and renew it for me instead of just raising me in grade, and 3), they did want one extra form from me, which I actually did not submit, in order to not take away one of my endorsements which I was apparently not using but would presumably want to keep. In addition, Kim also reinstated my MED-PIC (Medical Person-In Charge), which had been downgraded to MED-PRO (Medical Care Provider) for some reason last time, and which I hadn't noticed until this latest round of submissions.

 So overall, huge Attaboy to Uncle Sugars Coast Toasties for trying to help me navigate the horrible system they've created, at least. Personal service is NOT something that the Coast Guard does anymore. Or didn't.
 Anyhow, it sure soothed the burn of having to spend half Golconda on being able to just keep doing my job.



Jill Friedman said...

can't agree more with your comments on IMO and STCW. They're a HUGE problem for the world's mariners and especially ours!

Glad you had a good experience with the USCG. I have never been in favor of being forced to beg the government for permission to do my job, but it seems most of the world is OK with that. I think its totally unnecessary and should be illegal under the US Constitution.

I have spent my entire life on the water. Worked my way up the hawsepipe to earn an unlimited masters license and have been dealing with the USCG for over 40 years. I keep wondering WHY has the US submitted to the IMO STCW? No point I can see but $$$$$ to be forced out of hard working mariners. It does NOTHING to improve the system we had here. We've always had some of the worlds best mariners and the best merchant fleet in the world (until flags of convenience system came along to destroy it all). Wondering what exactly the STCW does for the US mariner. Thoughts?

Dwan Seicheine said...

The blog reading fairy musta known ya:)