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Unfair Dismissal???
Posted: Friday, November 26, 2010 3:19 AM
Joined: 26/11/2010
Posts: 1

Recently I heard of a deckhand being sacked from a well known 40m Delta currently cruising in Indonesia. He was given a couple hours notice to pack his bags after working for over a year.

He was officially sacked for attending his grandmothers funeral back home for two days. He was sacked for not giving ample notice to attend the funeral.

I am concerned that this may be becoming the normal in the yachting industry. Is it normal for the boat to come before family? If this is the case, the yachting industry is heading in a scary direction? What do other people think?

Posted: Friday, November 26, 2010 8:04 AM
Joined: 14/01/2009
Posts: 1026

Nothing new...plenty of weird owners and captains around. 25 years ago I had a first class Mate on the boat I was running . First to work, last to knock off, jog 5 miles before breakfast each morning type. Very good. Been on the yacht about a year. His nickname was HERC. Well, his sister was getting married so he flew home on a Saturday morning with the intention of flying back Monday morning. Flight got screwed up missed Monday and arrived mid day Tuesday. Owner docked him two days pay. The atmosphere on the yacht turned so putrid that within a month we all left and gave the stupid owner his boat to run .
Posted: Friday, November 26, 2010 4:35 PM
Did he sign an agreement? and what was the flag? It happened to me and I collected on the difference. I dont believe in unions but there is no way to protect ourselves as employees unless it is in writting. If one does not set up such an agreement you are setting yourself up. Repardation home is the only recourse for compensation, and that sometimes wont be reimbursed for awhile. Attending a crew emergency such as a death in the family should not be not a question of loyalty to a vessel. Probablly good to leave that program in the long run.
Posted: Friday, November 26, 2010 8:59 PM
There is always more to the story and most dismissals are unfair, from conventional employment terms, but this is yachting and when someone goes it has usually been coming on for a while.
Posted: Tuesday, November 30, 2010 6:42 PM
Joined: 10/05/2008
Posts: 21

There is no reason a crew member should not be able to attend a funeral, I can't imagine any boss, owner or captain being unsympathetic to this. It is hard on a boat sometimes to get in and out of some locations, and travel may be expensive and time consuming. If it is not a scheduled departure I can understand a crew member having to cover unexpected and additional costs. Some people may be more generous, and should be. In yachting Family rarley comes first for crew. I have missed funerals due to hurricanes and schedule. Never mind all of the Tanksgivings, Christmases, Birthdays etc. As hard as it is to be away from family, it is part of the job.
Posted: Tuesday, November 30, 2010 7:19 PM
Situations like this sadden me however they don't surprise. As a captain in my late 30's with most experience on yachts 50+, I will say that over the last 15 years I have experienced a complete degradation of the industry and what I signed up for has truly withered away into a poorly managed, corrupt and selfish industry. Today there are rarely relationships with owners and captains, and as a result of the filters of management companies you are merely a commodity, a number, a financial burden and when you cost or inconvenience you will be removed. There are no personalities in this industry any more. I remember starting and found a wonderful array of personalities and fantastic owners, solid itineraries and appreciative clients. Today more and more I find the industry to be hollow. My advice to any young deckhand is to Run or take up a career in engineering. Take your chances in another market place that will provide you longevity and security, retirement, superannuation etc. Do the sums. Look closely at the numbers and you will see that there is no place for you all to promote to first officer level and if you are in a captains position you will find yourself pushed out the door well before retirement age. Yes this sort of situation does sound unfair however get used to it. This is yachting.
Posted: Tuesday, November 30, 2010 7:59 PM
Joined: 09/10/2008
Posts: 134

No doubt there is more to this story. Clearly, as a general principle, every effort must be made to get someone home for this sort of family issue, but it is one of the risks of being at sea. Clearly in the middle of the Atlantic it would be a problem, but anywhere else anyone can be replaced for a few days if the money and the will is there... If someone bunks out, basically says F you, before arrangements have been made, in the middle of a charter, then sympathy is gonna wane... Best thing is to keep your Captain aware of the situation as early as possible so a contingency plan can be put in place in case you need emergency repatriation. In my experience, more often than not, you will be required to pay for it. Something to think about before setting off on the dream trip into the back and beyond....
Posted: Tuesday, November 30, 2010 9:17 PM
Joined: 02/06/2008
Posts: 342

"... as a result of the filters of management companies you are merely a commodity, a number, a financial burden and when you cost or inconvenience you will be removed."


What a load of absolute codswollop.

Capt Kaj
Posted: Wednesday, December 1, 2010 1:20 PM
Joined: 05/08/2008
Posts: 83

Probably more to it than meets the eye. However, based on the scant facts it isn't an uncommon problem in yachting. If you have a contract, they are only as good as the lawyer who takes on the Captain or yacht when the wheels fall off, and if your pockets are large enough to pay for the lawyer, that depends on how much you are chasing.

If we assume the crew member did all the correct procedures in notifying the Captain, requesting time off etc etc then the story is pretty dispicable. Did the guy receive repatriation, his wages for the 2 weeks or months notice from the Captain which he is entitled to?

I would if I was him, and assuming of course all the correct protocol was adhered to by the cewmen, then speak to the Flag State of the yacht, I am sure they don't like their crews being treated such as this.

However assuming that the crewmen went about things all the wrong way, demanded time off, was due for the cull anyway because of poor performance and other unknown issues we don't know about here, then you can understand it might have been a perfect opportunity to bin the guy. BUT, he is still entitled to repatriation and his 2 or 4 weeks wages~notice period.

Then again, if the crewmen seriously breached some ships rules and this coincided with the funeral, then he is legally able to be dismissed with immediate affect and no 2 or 4 weeks salary, but is entitled to repatriation to the home port or port of embarcation.

The Flag States usually always have an input into crew contracts and how their crews are treated. In the event of a dispute, it will be heard in the court of  the country that the flag of the yacht is registered in such as the Isle of Man, Caymans etc. Often any contracts will have to have the official backing of the Flag, after all it is their name stated on the contract. Even if there is no contract, the rights still stand such as notice pay, repatriation etc.

Capt Kaj

Posted: Monday, December 13, 2010 1:48 PM
Joined: 22/11/2009
Posts: 14

"Your just a commodity and any trouble and your gone"
Sounds like the commercial world.
Where do you think your crew managment agencies learnt.
I have seen helicopters come and and remove crew
I have luckily only worked on commercial vessels where I knew someone in the management so far.....
There is a major divide between owners and crew in the commerical world as the industry has been massively corrupt for years from top to bottom so no-one trusts anyone. For most you get on board and just count down the days till the crew change.You may not even come back to the same boat so there is no pride in the vessel at all
I did have 6 great years  89 to 95 but all on private no charter Captain run yachts, its no surprise that many yachts are going down the slippery slope

 Average 5 out of 5