When we joined the boat this time to begin our 3 week hitch, the usual refrain was heard throughout the boat. "They didn't leave us squat!" and "Do you believe how little food they left us?". It's the age old bitching that takes place on merchant vessels throughout the industry. Every crew I have ever been on, complains about the other crew. Either I have been lucky all these years and the crew I am on is always the best, or this is something that is said every crew change by every crew on every boat. I think the latter is true.
Granted, they didn't leave us fully stocked with food, but we had all the basics. Actually, I think we could make due very easily for a few weeks, but when the chips shelf is empty and the cookie cabinet has one stale Oreo left, we tend to get a bit dramatic. Usually I take things like this in stride, but this time I found myself sucked in to the negativism like a bystander participating in a street riot. It's the mob mentality.
I felt a bit guilty today as I read an article my wife sent me. It's about a Captain of a fishing vessel telling his story of his crew. The ship he is on is owned by an American company. It is an American flag ship. The Captain is American, but the crew is not. He spoke 2 new deckhands his company sent to to work on the ship. They're from Indonesia.
You see, the beauty, in their eyes, of American owned ships working in foreign waters is that they can hire people who will work for next to nothing. As the Captain went over the paperwork these 2 gentlemen had with them, he was horrified to learn that they would be getting paid $7200 and free food......for 2 years work! The Captain did the math and figured they were getting paid 0.70 an hour. That's SEVENTY CENTS an hour. They work 15 hours a day on his ship.
Aren't we disgusted when we hear of the sweatshops over seas paying workers similar wages for long hours? This is an American ship, owned by a American company, doing the same thing.
If it wasn't for the Jones Act, which assures that American flagged ships, operating in United States waters will hire it's own citizens, I'd probably be working for seventy cents an hour. I would also be tickled pink with all the food that the last crew left on this boat.