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Life on a Tuna Boat?


eagle5
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In the infamous "Moggy's Tunaboat Helicopter Manual" I do give the little darlings an honorable mention.

 

It's here: Chapter 2-C "Your cabin and your room mates"

 

Having said that, I do have a (true!) cockroach story floating around the shriveled up cabbage what passes for my brain. True, an excellent opportunity. In between other projects, I might give that personal duel we fought out, an honest shot. Heck, I wrote at length about dogs so it seems only right I spend some scribbles visiting with cockroaches...

 

A Blip on the Radar (part 17) "Barking Mad"

 

And I wrote about a Penguin and a Fly...

 

and a deep and meaningful theological exposition about a spider, and a fly.

 

"Come into my parlor", said the spider to the fly.

 

and an ugly little turtle...

 

Hmmm..... must be some of them reincarnations...?

Edited by Francis Meyrick
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cockroach_zps0726804f.jpg

 

 

Well, they are a protein source. But as we all know, I'm not telling you anything new.

I'm sure that somewhere in your travels on the tuna boats you encountered at least one.

I don't remember you ever writing about it though.

 

Okay, a real life (true) Tuna Boat cockroach story...

 

A Blip on the Radar (Part 40) "The Duel"

 

:unsure:

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Just got back from another trip out here. Not much fish and I think the fishmaster got fed up and just came back to port for a holiday! The boat I'm on now is more or less brand new and as such we didn't have a roach problem. That is until we stopped in Tarawa about two months ago. Now the little fu*kers are everywhere. It was lucky I had some traps stashed away.

On this last trip, I managed 40 odd hours in a week. In terms of logging it, I personally log every flight. but that's just me.

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  • 3 weeks later...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=UwpbSB6yYAM

 

Watching this video makes sleeping in my car and eating ramen three meals a day seem like a luxory vacation! I've seen cleaner bathrooms in highway gas stations,and the food makes me want to barf just thinking about it!

 

So, to the few of you on here who have done this. Is life on a tuna boat really this nasty, or is this just the one out of a hundred bad boat? And what do you do if you can't take it? Are you just trapped out there at sea?

 

I will chime in here as I have some very direct experience and knowledge in this industry.

 

 

I work for the company that owns the largest US purse seine fleet based and operating out of Pago Pago, American Samoa. More well known as the "Cape Fleet"

 

Life on one of our boats is drastically different than that of foreign flagged vessels for many reasons. Tuna fishing is tough work and requires some major sacrifice. While living conditions and overall comfort will vary depending on which company you are working for, the one constant can be found in the time spent at sea. Boats are able to stay at sea for months, and while it's not ideal for them to do so, it happens. Furthermore, turnaround times in port are expected to take less than a couple of weeks. If a boat isn't fishing, it's losing money. As a result, there isn't really time to take a break between trips and go home to family and friends. Even if you do, few companies will foot the bill to fly you there and back and if you get off the boat, chances are your spot will be filled by someone else. Many of the fisherman that work on tuna boats go months - years even - without seeing their families. It's different for pilots, but you get the idea.

 

 

In our case, we do not own the helicopters that fly on our boats. We lease from a 3rd party based in New Zealand (again, many good reasons not to own your own heli fleet) and that third party handles the recruiting and hiring of their own pilots.

 

I've spent a lot of time on tuna boats and in my opinion, it's an experience that is worth living at least once. Being at sea for that long, that disconnected from the "real world" can be a very significant and spiritual experience if you have the right mindset. [Read: patient]. That being said, I've only done time on our boats - which are undoubtedly among the cleanest and most comfortable you will ever find.

 

There is a lot of misinformation out there about the tuna industry as a whole, so I encourage anyone to go out there and see for themselves what it's really like. Just don't blame me if you end up on a foreign flagged vessel in some of the shittiest conditions you've ever experienced. It could be the best or the worst time of your life depending on how you play your cards.

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I will chime in here as I have some very direct experience and knowledge in this industry.

 

 

I work for the company that owns the largest US purse seine fleet based and operating out of Pago Pago, American Samoa. More well known as the "Cape Fleet"

 

 

 

In our case, we do not own the helicopters that fly on our boats. We lease from a 3rd party based in New Zealand (again, many good reasons not to own your own heli fleet) and that third party handles the recruiting and hiring of their own pilots.

 

 

Will they hire low-time American pilots?

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Will they hire low-time American pilots?

 

I believe their hour requirement is likely around 1k+ but don't quote me on that. For sure they will hire Americans though....

 

You can see their Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/westernpacific.helicopters

There are some nice photos of some of our boats there, and you'll may be able to get in contact with Rod (owner) if you had more questions for him.

 

If not, I can get his contact info for anyone that might be interested.

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For what it's worth... (not-a-lot)

 

Posted "A Blip on the Radar" (# 41) "Dropping a Missile"

 

:rolleyes:

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  • 3 weeks later...

1990's Tuna Boat Cocktail party... crashed. By a midget. :rolleyes:

 

Of Helicopters and Humans (30) "A Mental Midget"

 

Do Donkeys like bananas? Just askin'....

Edited by Francis Meyrick
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  • 10 months later...

Wherever the boat comes from will reflect in the culture, religion, values, ideas, language, and food on the boat, western civilization boats, are more reflective of western lifestyles, and standards of personal sanitation, safety, food etc etc. Asian boats are reflective of their own cultures and values as well, so if your a western pilot going to work on a taiwan boat, prepare for a major adjustment to life, it will hardly be recognizable to what your accustomed to.

 

If you want a pretaste of life on a Taiwan boat, you should visit your local china town, live in the shittiest and smallest apartment available, and eat in the shittiest chinese restaurant in china town, for 30 days straight, while listening none stop to chinese chit chat, if your ok with that, then you may be ready to live on a tuna boat. Working on a tuna boat is easy, a couple of flights a day, sea level flying all the time, one passenger, full fuel, a little hovering work, no ATC, no airport ops, no controlled airspace issues, no company procedures really, except a few common sense rules, be prepared to experience the most boring place to live on the planet and your mind is in the right place.

 

Be prepared to have asian men ask you about your sex life while in port, don't ask me why, I believe it's because they have no sex life and attempt to live precariously through your life.

 

Be prepared to visit small little island countries where everyone has their hand out wanting something for nothing, and prepare to find tons and tons of tuna, without being paid a dime for it other than the flying salary,

 

However, in Columbia South America they pay pilots $12.00 per ton, plus $4,000 USD per month salary, some private owned fishing boats in America Samoa pay their pilot's $7.00 USD per ton and $7,000.00 per month

 

Cheers, Crazyhorse

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  • 1 month later...

Aeroscout has started sending regular input on the Tuna Safety Manual, and I have added his comments in as "Note 1" at the bottom. I think that's helpful, funny, and I would encourage anybody who feels like it, to send me an email with what you would like to see added, and where. Here's an example of his input: (see Note 1)

 

SEE SAFETY MANUAL NOTE 1

 

:)

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Aeroscout has started sending regular input on the Tuna Safety Manual, and I have added his comments in as "Note 1" at the bottom. I think that's helpful, funny, and I would encourage anybody who feels like it, to send me an email with what you would like to see added, and where. Here's an example of his input: (see Note 1)

 

SEE SAFETY MANUAL NOTE 1

 

:)

So the fish are supposed to be scared of little Robby? Can fish even look up? :D

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  • 3 weeks later...

The quality of life on the boat depends on the country of origin, my room in the America ships had a sofa, and desk and private shower with the room wired for emails, plus the galley is open 24/7, the heli deck is really big, the ship is supplied with western supplies, however the Taiwan vessels I have flown on, have Asian food supplies, small rooms and small bunks, small heli decks and are generally uncomfortable and lacking to western standards, however I have heard Japan vessels have a pretty decent living environment, same for Spanish or French Purse Seiners as well or South American vessels.

 

If you get a contract on a Taiwan vessel prepare to spend about 500-700 USD per trip for western food supplies, then plan to cook all your supplies as well.

 

Good luck,

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