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What about a job on those Shadow Boats?

Discussion in 'Yacht Escort Ships & Shadows' started by C4ENG, Sep 16, 2006.

  1. C4ENG

    C4ENG Senior Member

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    This is sort of a spin off on the "Who has the best job in the industry".
    I have in the past wondered what life would be like on those shadow boats compared to being on the mother ship. Could it be much better? Even though you probably would not deal much with guess, could you find your self always hanging on the hook while every one else is in some nice cozy marina safely tied to the dock while you are bobbing up an down in the surges? Could you be the neglected step child that get's no fringe benifeits? Or be the one that the owner really doesn't care what you do and life is great next to the best thing of not having to work at all? Any one out there know any thing going on with these Shadow Boats?
  2. CaptTom

    CaptTom Senior Member

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    C4eng,
    I'll take a crack at this, but I'm sure Stan can and will give you more insight to your question as he managed a fleet that included a shadow vessel (that's the Lady Lola and LL Shadow fleet).
    I just happened to write a story recently on shadow boats (to be published in Oct in The Triton). And one thing that was specified to me from those interviewed was that crew can rotate between the primary vessel and the shadow vessel, to help ward off some of those issues you mentioned. And some of the recent and new shadow models coming do have guest cabins for overflow from the main vessel, so you know those shadows will have many of the features like the main vessel (ie deck, stew, etc). And if you're on a shadow with a helo, you may bvery well be busy at times ferrying owners/guests between main vessel and shadow. True that shadows cannot fit into all harbors, but if you are looking to hook up with a fleet that includes a shadow, see if the captain has a rotation schedule.
    Capt Tom
  3. C4ENG

    C4ENG Senior Member

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    Tom

    I will be looking forward to reading your article in the Triton next month.
  4. YES!

    YES! Senior Member

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    Well said, Captain Tom, and Thank You for the generous coverage via the quality hard press of the Triton.

    Let me fill in some of the blanks which are the standard questions surrounding the operation of a Yacht Escort Ship.

    Every captain is different in how he/she manages and operates their command. My style was to have EVERYBODY understand EVERYTHING that happens on board the yacht. Deck helped with turn downs in the evening, stews helped detail the engine room, and I put our tiny chef in the bilges with a paint brush to get the corners that no one else could reach. There were grins and awe all around when the stewies were at the helm of a 63 meter doing man overboard Williamson-turns. Everyone learns and gains respect for others in this way.

    While I applied the same concept to the Lady Lola Shadow crew - I sent deck crew and engineers to help when they were buried with tender and toys use as well as bringing shadow crew over to the main yacht to assist with big functions, a fast topsides washdown, bartending, tender runs, etc. - the crews were disctinct and permanently assigned to their respective vessel. Keep in mind that even though my new Yacht Escort Ships do have luxury guest cabins on board, they are really only used as hotel rooms. The guests spend all of their time on the main yacht and only spend the night on the shadow, so that there is really no "guest services" other than cabin maintenance, turn downs, and a bit of laundry.

    The funny aspect, as it is in life, was that the grass was always greener on the other boat. The yacht crew was jealous that the shadow crew seemed only to work from 9 - 5. It is true that toys, tenders and helicopters are only really used during daytime hours. Other than the duty person, everyone else on the yacht support vessel could go ashore every evening even with guests on board. With guests embarked, the yacht crew was busy every night. But the shadow crew was jealous that they were not on the high profile, shiny white boat that got all of the attention. It is correct that the shadow spends a great deal of time at anchor when in use by guests, but I assured that the crew had a good, large tender (I swear by the Nautica cat with bow ramp and a 225 Yamaha) to be able to go to shore comfortably and safely. Everybody wanted to work on the other boat, none-the-less. Must be human nature.

    The synergism between the two crews was most surprising. They were very happy to help each other, work together, shop together and certainly party together.

    From the engineer perspective, the operation of a yacht support vessel is realtively simple. It is a commercial engine room was large, basic macinery and easy access to everything. Only certified helicopter mechanics can service the bird and you have the typical tender and toys quirks.

    For deck hands, it is a great job compared to a yacht because you are always working with tenders, operating cranes, launching and recovering toys and then doing the basic maintainence. The shadow paint job is commercial, so there is not much chamois work other than the tenders, no polished stainless, no varnish, no miles of windows to detail. It is an active job without the dreary repetition of polishing the same piece of paint day after day.

    The cook/stew is responsible for the interior, cooking and laundry. The meals are good, ample but not fancy. Once again, all the polishing of high gloss furniture, sterling silver upkeep, china detailing, and other tedious tasks are less evident.

    To me, having spent a good number of years in the industry, I think the captain of a yacht support ship is the best job in the business. More casual dress and presentation, guests only pass though - they are all gone by 1600 hours to get ready for Happy Hour on the yacht and by the time they get up and have breakfast, it is at least 1000 before you see them. You go to all the great yachtie places, every place to see and be seen, but without hoards of people at the passarelle, guest cars, shopping, people on and off the yacht. On the hook you have the best of all worlds.

    I have gone on far too long, but let me know if you have any other questions.

    The best yachting solution for me is a nice 50 meter yacht to be able to get in and out of every wonderful marina and harbour in the world, and a Yacht Escort Ship to carry every imaginable pleasure you would want on the water, not to mention the safety and security of traveling with your own fire boat, tug boat, refueling tanker, and assault ship with SEAL team embarked.

    Thank you for your interest and comments.
  5. CaptTom

    CaptTom Senior Member

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    Stan,
    On behalf of the Titon crew, thanks for the kind words. Not sure if there will be sufficient information for our friend C4eng, but may be interesting nonetheless. And keep us in the loop as to your progress with the buildouts. Would like to keep everyone informed of your accomplishments.
    Capt Tom
  6. airship

    airship Senior Member

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    (The bold and underlining are my own.) Just what are the legal aspects of refuelling the yacht (or her helicopter and/or other tenders) from the "shadow boat", at least whilst in territorial waters? Forgive me if I'm wrong on this, but I was under the impression that this sort of activity would be questionable, if not downright plain illegal in many countries? As for refuelling at sea in International waters, does the shadow boat crew simply throw over a few fenders, pass the hose and nozzle and get on with it...only I've yet to see any shadow boat properly equipped for "refuelling at sea" like they show here:

    [​IMG]

    As for the shadow boat being called an "assault ship" well, I guess if the assaulting is going to be done by SEALS armed with "fire hoses" (or heaven forbid, balloons filled with coloured water?!) , then I suppose, just maybe, YES will be able to get away with that (somewhat IMHO) outrageous statement... ;)

    PS. Ever since the shadow boat Octopus got launched, I've been waiting to see the yacht she was built to shadow... :confused: :)

    PPS. I can see an advantage of being an engineer on a shadow boat though: you won't get shouted at by the deck crew for having stepped out from an oily engine room onto their beautiful teak decks...?!
  7. YES!

    YES! Senior Member

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    Interesting perceptions, airship -

    We have had no problems anywhere in the world transfering fuel - not for sale - between any of our vessels, tenders, aircraft or mother ships. Do you have a problem in France now putting fuel in the tender from the yacht? I certainly hope not. There is no customs issue as all the yachts are foreign flagged, on international voyages, and are not purchasing or selling fuel - but rather only changing its location.

    You might be surprised that the third most requested aspect of a yacht escort ship is to serve as the base for the body guards, the armored limousine and a protective "assault" RIB. Whether SEALs actually man the vessels is unlikely, but the capability to provide defense in depth for the Owner is undisputable.

    Thanks for the thoughtful post and the wonderful image (which brings tears to my eyes) of UNREP (underway replenishment) at 20 knots by the US Navy......and not just fuel - movies, fresh milk and dairy, plus if you are really lucky, a visit by the chaplain.:D
  8. airship

    airship Senior Member

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    I don't believe that France is unusual compared to other countries. I don't believe that there are any "problems" for a yacht in French territorial waters to refuel her tenders, whether they're inboard diesels or petrol outboards, jetskis or wave-runners, or even her own helicopter with Avgas or Jet fuel etc.

    But I would suggest that it would be an extremely foolhardy (pair of) Captains (this is a thread about working on shadow boats...) who would proceed to "change the location" as you so quaintly put it, of several tens of thousands of litres of diesel say from the shadow boat "mother vessel" to her "charge", in full view of a French customs official or one from any other country...and that is disregarding any environmental regulations concerning bunkers undertaken at sea.

    If "you have never had any problems" to date, then you should probably be thankful that the phenomenon of "shadow boats" is relatively new and above all, rare. Which probably explains why this sort of activity within a country's territorial waters isn't monitored.

    Obviously, what happens outside of the usual 12 nautical mile limit is another matter. Unless of course, it falls within a country's "economic zone" which I believe can run out to a couple of hundred miles... :D

    Anyway, why should any maritime or customs authority accept that "vessel A" is necessarily a "support vessel or mother ship" to "vessel B" and that the "change of location" of fuel, stores, passengers or crew should be allowed to proceed without any formalities whatsoever, compared to any other 2 vessels in their waters which claim no such "relationship"...? :eek:

    Or do you just feel lucky YES (as the infamous Inspector Callaghan) might once have asked...?! ;)
  9. YES!

    YES! Senior Member

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    The same precautions and equipment exist and are required for the transfer of bunkers whether taking the fuel from the quay, from a truck or from another ship.

    If there is no sale or exchange of consideraton for a commodity, then there is no customs issue.

    Even shadow boat captains are not foolhardy and a bound by their good judgement and prortection of their credentials to address economic, safety, security and environmental issues correctly.

    Am I missing the question?
  10. airship

    airship Senior Member

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    I believe so. :eek:

    It should be abundantly clear that at some stage, prior to "the change of location", there was indeed a "sale or consideration" in exchange for a commodity. Presumably, the sale (or loading) was made to a specific vessel, under the usual procedures of carriage of cargo or supplies for consumption aboard, under the usual procedures in that country. Just because the beneficial owner of any 2 vessels are the same, you insist in the belief that because there is no documented sale or exchange of consideraton for the commodity in question, then there is no customs issue?! :confused:

    For the same reasons that if you were to make me say "a gift of $1m dollars" tomorrow, which would probably mean both of us facing hefty tax bills in our respective countries, it's individual countries (or in the case of the EU, all of them together supposedly...) who apply their own customs and excise regulations.

    And their ability to tax... :mad:
  11. YES!

    YES! Senior Member

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    Seems the point the the vessels are owned by the same entity has been missed.

    If I give myself a million, there is no tax consequence - same with fuel.
  12. airship

    airship Senior Member

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    Not at all. And just tell me...how often is the registered owner of a vessel (and especially a yacht) identical to another? I don't dispute the fact that the beneficial owner may be the same in some or even many cases, but unless I'm greatly mistaken, the registered owner/s, whether individuals or corporations, always ensure that there is no direct link between ownership of one vessel or another for various reasons including litigation and taxation...

    What if you gave yourself a million paid out of a Bermuda bank a/c into your Florida bank a/c...?! :eek: Let's put this to the test. I'll PM you with my bank account details, I'll just be "lending you the facilities of my bank a/c", not trying to earn any profit from this. So you wire me $1m on the basis that you're the "mother ship" and I'm "the yacht" OK... :p

    Within a few weeks or months, the French tax authorities (by virtue of their direct links to address bank a/cs here) will be asking me why the equivalent of 30 times my annual salary was originally paid into my a/c, and then very rapidly claiming that I'm running some form of business and reclaiming taxes on this activity...

    Of course, that would never happen, as the day after I received $1m, I'd have transferred it all out to Nauru (where is that anyway?!)... :)
  13. YES!

    YES! Senior Member

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    Not sure whether you are "what iffing" me, but I will play along for awhile.

    International tax treaties allow that once you have paid taxes in your tax state, your funds can be moved freely around the world for your own personal (or corporate) use.

    Since most yachts are citizens of the Cayman Islands (ie tax free), they can send money TO THEMSELVES (not to airship) anywhere in the world including the USA without tax consequence. You can send money to yourself in the USA and I can send money to myself from the USA to France, to the Netherlands or anywhere else in the world and not incur a tax event.

    To clarify the above, no matter where a ship is flagged, she can send herself money (usually via an agent) anywhere internationally without taxation.

    The same applies to fuel. If I own my yacht and a shadow boat, I buy fuel for them both in Gibraltar or Malta and when my yacht or tender or helo require, I can transfer my fuel to myself without any problems from any tax or customs authorities.

    I must, however, satisfy port control with regards to my correct application of procedures and proper equipment while transfering bunkers between ships.

    If, however, I am bringing fuel from Malta and selling it to airship, then I have some customs issues, just as the clever "offshore" fuel supplier did a few years ago in the Med.

    Hope this clears up the Yacht Escort Ship role and capabilities.

    Nice try with the test to send a million bucks to you, but fortunately I spent last night at a Holiday Inn Express......;)
  14. C4ENG

    C4ENG Senior Member

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    Capt Tom
    Saw your article in the Triton and I enjoyed reading it. I hope the company becomes a great success and also get's known for a great saftey buffer in this industry that every one wants.
    I know I sure would feel safe having a boat following me out on the high seas.
  15. CaptTom

    CaptTom Senior Member

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    C4ENG,
    Thanks for the comments.
    I think shadow boats are a great concept, not just for lugging the toys around but that you have a backup vessel available in case something goes wrong. And the fact that they can carry so many supplies, you can stay at sea longer without reprovisioning.
    I did enjoy interviewing both Stan Antrim and Tom Gonzales for the story. They both have their own clear visions and believe in the vessels and that there is a market for them. Even via a telephone interview, Stan's energy and enthusiasm for his new venture came right through.
    Capt Tom
  16. YachtForum

    YachtForum Publisher/Admin

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    Ditto Tom. Stan once made the comment that he appreciated my enthusiasm for the industry, yet he embodies that very spirit. There are too many that simply take up oxygen (in any industry), but there are a few that breathe new life into the same.
  17. airship

    airship Senior Member

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    Well, YES, I'm not going to "press the point" on the customs & excise issues on the transfer of bunkers from one yacht or vessel to another. Especially when that person also sponsors this great forum... ;)

    However, I did consult with my contact at the French Douanes based in the port of Nice on the subject. What he had to say about it was there's no problem at all with a yacht or other vessel refuelling or provisioning "her own tenders". But he'd "dearly love to know" that day a yacht or vessel was "transferring" bunkers or any other supplies which might be considered "bonded" stores to another yacht or vessel (ie. one that could not reasonably be called a "tender", whether that is a boat or aircraft) within EU waters...?! Apparently there are EU regulations which prohibit this activity.

    And if there are European regulations that apply, it only makes sense that a lot of other countries around the globe probably also have similar regulations. When you consider the importance of taxes on petroleum products to the budgets of many countries, you might understand why your own view-point that "if there is no sale or exchange of consideraton for a commodity, then there is no customs issue" is not always shared...?!

    A shadow boat refuelling "her" superyacht in mid-Atlantic or off the Ross Ice Shelf down in Antartica (Ross Dependency, claimed by New Zealand, ahem), well, why not?! But if the object of the exercise is to replenish a yacht's fuel tanks with "duty-free" fuel which it might not otherwise be entitled to buy locally, off the French coast...then beware! :eek:
  18. YES!

    YES! Senior Member

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    With all due respect, I submit that if proper documentation is presented proving that all of the vessels and all of the fuel was purchased on an international voyage and is owned by the same international owner, there will be no restriction on or customs event initiated by transfering any goods whatsover between those commonly owned vessels and wholly owned commodities, period.

    It is not being sold, imported or otherwise involves the port state. Two vessels traveling in company will burn fuel at different rates and may have different tankage capacities, and when owned by the same person/company they are in no way prohibited by or concerned with authorities in any way if they want to reposition their cargoes between the vessels, whether at anchor or in port.

    If you put all of the precise informaton in from on your customs officers, I am sure they will understand more clearly the reality of the situation.

    On the other hand, you can make as complicated of a hypothetical situation as you like which can be resolved only by a court of law. In actual practise under my personal oversight with the knowledge of all port state authorites, yachts and their support vessels have transferred fuel and stores in St. Maarten, Nice, Marseille, Porto Cervo, Naples, Venice, Athens, Dubrovnik and Miami. There has never been a complaint, question or issue in 3 years of operation.

    This will be my last post on airship's topic.

    Thank you.
  19. airship

    airship Senior Member

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    I'd simply question the "with the knowledge of all port state authorities" part of that... :rolleyes:

    Just because the yachts and their support vessels under your personal oversight "got away" with transferring fuel and stores in those places doesn't mean that it was or is legal to do so.

    I've "gotten away" with exceeding the speed limit on numerous occasions though it'd be a little far-fetched for anyone to accept if I pleaded "ignorance of the law" if I'd actually been caught at it. On the other hand, I never actually asked the authorities if it was OK before I went ahead and did so...?! :)

    Putting things in perspective, shadow yachts are both a relatively new, and above all, an extremely rare phenomenon, and you could probably count the number of yacht / shadow yacht combinations using your fingers...?!

    So no wonder most customs authorities have not considered all the implications that these yacht combos (did I just invent a new term?! :) ) pose in their operation. After all, of the literally thousands of major yachts which frequent the French Riviera during the summer, how many of these would anyone have suspected of exchanging fuel, stores, passengers or crew between each other without due regard to International or country-specific regulations...?!

    I don't personally have anything against shadow-yacht type vessels per se, honestly...I'd be quite content with an "Octopus" or whatever, so that I'd always have the helicopter (or 2), the submarine (so that I could recover all the Shurhold brushes that my crew lost accidentally over the side when washing down) and travelling on something that might possibly survive the odd rogue wave which might destroy the QEII's bridge wing. I realise that lots of "folk" might also like to be able to get into more ports (something that isn't always possible with a 50m plus superyacht), yet have the Sikorsky S-76 chopper and minisub available "at their whim" when they so desire. But aircraft movements off yachts are generally prohibited from yachts in port...

    If you want all the toys, then by all means, build yourself an "Octopus" (I believe there are some possibilities to combine a shadow yacht with a normal yacht), into a single vessel but which looks better than an Octopus-type one. (And let's all admit, shadow yachts to date have been unbelievably ugly - the Golden Shadow at least looks good in a "rugged sense"...)

    Depends on where you're cruising I guess?! I'd have to admit that I'd prefer to charter an "Abeille Flandre" type vessel as a shadow yacht anywhere very far from terra firma, even if it doesn't carry a chopper...?!

    Otherwise, what's the point of having two yachts, 2 crews and therefore twice as many problems as an owner...?!

    This never was my topic, I'd like to say that it was merely "hijacked" temporarily for purposes of a debate between an instigator of shadow yachts and a sceptic...

    Going back on topic about working on a shadow boat though: Wouldn't it be even more difficult to negotiate 3 months on / off contract when the owner already needs two captains and two chief engineers, which would mean that he'd need four captains and four chief engineers if he owned a yacht plus its shadow...?! :D

    And this will be my last post on YES's topic.

    Thank you ;)
  20. YES!

    YES! Senior Member

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    For airship - it is not that I did not want to talk to you - just not another round about the EU customs hypotheticals.

    But you do raise a couple of good, new and on-topic points.

    The management of rotational crew is actually easier with two vessels and two crews. When guests are not embarked and during maintenance periods, it is easy for a captain or chief engineer to "cover" both vessels while one or the other takes leave. The redundancy in capabilities and support opportunities are excellent.

    You are comparing Octopus with 70+ crew to having the same volumetric capabilities with less than 30 crew. Going to sea, two is better than one; I don't care how big the one ship is. The navies of the world never sail alone. And owners never do crossings anyway, so why the cruise ship size?

    And that brings up your other point: In my humble opinion, when you get over 45 or 50 meters, you are no longer yachting - you are shipping.

    When you must use the commercial port instead of a comfortable and clean marina connected to a luxury resort, you are shipping - not yachting.

    If you cannot put your passarelle across the quay and walk straight into the Cafe de Paris in St. Tropez, you are not yachting.

    When you are at anchor becasue you have to be not becasue you want to be, you are shipping - not yachting.

    When you have to single up, get underway, and leave port to use your helicopter; you are just a nuisance - to yourself, your crew and your neighbors. That is not yachting.

    If you cannot get into an anchorage where you can tie your stern off to a palm tree to keep from swinging, you are not yachting.

    With an ugly shadow boat - I remember that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so no offense taken - you can enjoy all of the above wonderful aspects of yachting and still have instant access every toy imaginable. Why get the OCtopus underwsay to go diving when the support vessel is there? When you add the safety and security features of a Yacht Escort Ship, the fact that you can augment crew from one yacht to the other to support parties and functions, park your ugly shadow aorund the corner so no one can see it, and still have your aft deck on the veranda of the Cafe de Paris; that's yachting.

    By the way, in the thousands of pictures on the Forum of both Octopus and Rising Sun, have you ever seen a bathing beauty on board? That's NOT yachting!;)

    Nice talking with you, airship.