Is it really possible to become a seafarer without a Seaman’s Book or SIRB (Seafarer’s Identification Record Book)? Let me share this experience of mine during the time when I decided to pursue a sea-based career around early 2010.
Wanting to have a high paying job lured me on becoming a seafarer. But it’s not easy to shift from one career to another. There are many things that needs to be considered, an example of it is managing your time between your current job and looking for another job. Even though I’m very certain that I will go after a sea-based career, I really don’t want to leave my job during that time unless I’m very sure that I will be accepted by a manning agency as their seafarer. I still need money for my daily expenses so I need to keep that job for a while. Luckily, my job has night shifts, therefore I can try looking for sea-based jobs during the day but of course with limited time because I also need to rest in preparation for my next shift.
The day of experiencing my first walk-in application for a seafarer position came. Armed with my updated resume, ECE license, certificates, and Passport, I commuted my way to a manning agency somewhere in Manila. I was confident that day, so I entered their building, signed the logbook, and waited for my turn to be called. While waiting, I was able to talk with another applicant, which is also an Electronics Engineer like me and applying for the same position as mine. So the curious me asked him if what are his documents already. He showed me his passport, seaman’s book, electrical training certificates, and other documents. The confidence in me suddenly dissipated in an instant. But my name was called so I proceed to the HR personnel’s desk for the initial interview and presented my documents. Upon filling up their forms, I was so disappointed with myself for not researching the documents required to become a seaman. The only useful documents I had then were my ECE license and passport.
As expected I was not accepted. The HR told me that they are looking for Electrical Engineers not Electronics Engineers therefore I’m not qualified. That statement of the HR personnel bothered me for awhile because it doesn’t make any sense to me. Why interview me on the first place when I already stated in their appointment form that I am an Electronics Engineer applying for a Marine Electrician position? I thought she might just making an excuse so she won’t hurt my feelings but it did because I’m proud to be an Electronics Engineer. So I asked the previous applicant regarding his application. He passed! And he’s also an Electronics Engineer like me. So that one nullifies the statement of the HR personnel that Electronics Engineers are not qualified to become a mariner.
It’s comforting to know that it’s not being an Electronics Engineer that caused me to fail my first application. The experience that day leads me to a conclusion that it’s my lack of important documents such as a SIRB or Seaman’s Book that caused me to fail. So is it really possible to become a seafarer without a Seaman’s Book? The answer is a big NO! I experienced it myself and it’s a frustrating one but I learned a lot from it. So my advise to the aspiring mariners, complete your documents first before applying to manning agencies. Agencies prioritize those who have complete documents, it saves them time, effort, and money.
Related Topic: How To Become A Mariner