News From Fort Schuyler
April 6, 1999 - License Renewal (cont.)
APPEALING PROSPECT - "I am just retiring as a Master of some 18 years," writes JERRY HASSELBACH, Class of 1969, "and do not want to lose my license, 'just in case'! Maybe they will need Masters for national defense or, if all the passenger ships running out of Florida, Alaska and Los Angeles all of a sudden have to go under US flag (fat chance.) But I am not quite ready to hang up my license."
"With regards to" [the comment in NFFS 3/31/99 that 'active watch standing should be part of any requirement for upgrading any license, deck or engine'] "he is showing his lack of 'currency.' In the last 18 years, I have not had any 'watch standing' since I was the Master, but I believe I am current, and in the last 10 years, I have not sailed on a ship which had a watch standing engineer of any kind. The engineers have been freed up to be engineers, not watch standards (or sitters.) They are doing maintenance, trouble shooting, and to some extent, designing. It is exactly the stuff that DETLEF PRESSER (NFFS 3/31/99) is doing and should qualify him for an active license. Who would be more qualified for a job on a ship with an automated engine room than the designer ! ? I think he should appeal."
CUT AND DRIED IT IS NOT - "...I have taken the same approach as ED DANGLER, Class of 194...., renewing for continuity, writes PETER JENSEN, Class of 1978. [See: NFFS March 31] If I ever plan to sail again, I will take a refresher course. Unfortunately, the U.S. Coast Guard uses the OCMI discretion frequently and not just for licensing purposes. Those graduates who sail, and have been through a CG vessel inspection, know that it differs from port to port. I know firsthand, as I was a marine inspector for 12 years, plus 5 more years in a staff position at CG Headquarters. It has always frustrated the mariner. I encourage letter writing by those who encounter problems. Start with the local officer and then move on to the District Office if not satisfied. It is your tax dollars, in addition to the cost of the renewal."
RENEWAL NIGHTMARES AND HEADACHES FROM AFAR - He may be out at Diego Garcia, but distance does not weaken this message about license renewal from KEVIN COATES, Class of 1979: "I can really feel for those persons having trouble with USCG. Believe me when I say that even with the extensive sea service record that I have (20 years in the industry sailing), it's a nightmare."
"Many years ago I had my records transferred from the Coast Guard station at the Battery in New York City to Boston, Mass. What a difference! Every time I had to have my time evaluated at New York it was like being at "Check Point Charlie" in Berlin."
"MSC personnel sail longer than other mariners, but we only get credit for 60%. Totally unreasonable. I have no idea how the Coast Guard comes up with these evaluations. Take a look around. How many real U.S. shipping companies are left? Even worse, how many U.S. flagged ships are left? In my opinion, Coast Guard needs to upgrade the various programs and get ready to enter the 21st Century, especially with 'the new kid on the block' - STCW certificates. With this new matter, CG needs to unify the program and set universal standard instead of allowing each REC or MIO to set its own standards on what is required for officers to get certified."
EDITOR'S NOTE - Due to the specialized subject of this issue, it was only distributed to alumni and faculty subscribers.