A career with BP

5th November 2008, 16:01

Having passed all the necessary requirements, I am soon to start training with BP Shipping at WMA in the new year as an engineer cadet.

I would really like to hear about peoples experiences and/or stories of working with BP Shipping, either as a deck or engineer officer.

Kind Regards,


5th November 2008, 16:02
Any advise would also be much appreciated!


5th November 2008, 18:42
Welcome to the site.
First of all, forget all the bu*****t on clean seas, etc. BP are in the business to make money (as can be seen from their results this week).
My era with BP was from 1958 to 1964 (Navigating Apprentice to 3/0) & although it was a hard life for very little pay in those days I enjoyed most of my time with them. It was certainly a good foundation for my life ahead (I joined at 16).
The best person to advise you about BP Shipping in the current era is James C on this site who left BP some little time ago.
I must admit that I do envy you starting your career at sea. All the very best with it & hope to see you as C/E before too long!
Kind regards,

5th November 2008, 18:58

Thanks for the advise - I will get on to contacting James C right away.

And don't worry, I've already forgotten all that nonsence about 'clean seas etc...'. Like you say, at the end of the day, BP are their to make money.

Thanks again,

BP Cadet

5th November 2008, 19:47
Good luck in your first trip.
Times have changed so much the past number of years,
I was with them 1960 to 1992 a long time for you to look at, most of the time was on a BP contract, good security, with agencies it changed very much, over leave and no ship, no pay.
BP got the pound of flesh from you, good jobs, bad jobs, but also many good trips and enjoyed the life, I think I would do the same again, depends what you want from life. Many took the experience and moved on to a better job and good pay.
I hope all goes well for you on that first trip. Don,t expect too much and just do as you are told workwise, you meet some good people on ships.
All just trying to better themselves and get some money saved for the future.
BP had a good training system then, now I do not know.
Take care and have a good first trip, 1st one is the most hard.

5th November 2008, 20:32
BP Cadet,
I've sent you a couple of private messages.

5th November 2008, 20:50

Thank you very much! I really appreciate your advise and I'll be sure to take note of this when I take up my first sea-going position.

At least now I have a good understanding of what to expect as well as how to approach a life at sea with BP, particularly on my first trip.

It's also interesting to know how much times have changed as regards the company's attitudes/approach.

Many thanks again,


Graham Wallace
8th November 2008, 02:01
hi BP Cadet,

You are certainly gung ho, that will stand you in good stead later on.

I left an addition to your 'Hello' thread, you can contact me direct at any time. There are lots of old Engineering Cadets/Apprentices behind you.

I am a little surprised, I did think that BP had the intention of phasing out the cadet training. There are certainly not as many around as there were years ago. I believe some of the new vessels do not have Cadet accomodation.
You will enjoy it all the same.

8th November 2008, 11:54
They did in the mid 90s for a while, then a few years later realised their mistake upon buying new ships with nobody to man them. Cue big panic from Big Panic House and they took on a load more, then it settled down again to a more realistic level.I left the company a few years ago and by that time there were not only British Cadets, but quite a lot of Polish, Indian and Australian cadets too.
Most ships built today don't have dedicated cadets accommodation, the lack of accommodation being one of the many excuses that shipowners use to justify not training anyone. Of course these same shipowners will then go cap in hand to the Govt to beg for financial relief because they can't find any staff!

david freeman
17th November 2008, 09:35

Having passed all the necessary requirements, I am soon to start training with BP Shipping at WMA in the new year as an engineer cadet.

I would really like to hear about peoples experiences and/or stories of working with BP Shipping, either as a deck or engineer officer.

Kind Regards,

Think hard when you finish your apprenticeship articles: What you want out of life. As a young apprentice I was advised by my elders; Seatime and tickets, and then money and leave. If one wanted early promotion one had to get the tickets, and compared then to most other sea going companies, the seatime was mostly on articles and with relatively short voyages (6-8months between leaves). Compare this with the likes of passenger and liner companies then one could have ones tickets Eng: Combined Chiefs by 26 and looking if the market was ready and if you where ready for a position as cheif by 26. The other companies had long sea time Andrew Wiers (2 year articles) while this was sea time the voyages were also out of Europe and therefore the chance to sign off and sit for a ticket with the minimum required seatime was difficult.

Remember to serve sometime in drydock because going into and out of drydock you find out how to shut down and restatart up the plant, and in drydock you also if you are wise learn the organisation behind a drydock, and off course whats inside a lot of machines, and what makes them tick.

So what do you want, a life at sea and enjoyment, (Join a box liner company or passenger liner) after your apprenticeship or hard work, some good fun and responsibility at a young age with money? Then in my day it was tankers: today it may be other companies. Another good way of life at sea is RFA-not the money but enjoymentment and the war zone thrill (If you so seek) with the navy.

Remember if you marry or have a family at 30 you have to look at the validity and conversion of your tickets into shore based jobs of work (Think Hard now as this may not now be a problem, but later on you may have to retrain and all the financial implications that may bring.)

Remember and grow wise to the curse of drink and fags both duty free, and while you may control a vessel worth millions of pounds, your control of a gin bottle or can of beer for a 1 or 2 may bring you to despair.

Do not despair there should be enough wise heads in each ships crews and in the company staff to give you advice when required. Listern carefully when they speak, you may not always abide by what they say at the time, but at least remember it.

One last thing think now for when you come out of your time about which pension fund you join, or how you are going to invest into a pension.
I let my decision be ruled by my heart and lost out as the company scheme was non contributary (But you had to complete 10 years min service). Not much you may think but as one approched 30 had a family and shore life bekoned, the original decision had its faults, which had to be corrected in later life.

Enjoy your life, work hard but above all have fun, smile a lot: Best wishes for the future.DWF

17th November 2008, 15:58
well said David (Thumb)

17th November 2008, 17:11
BP Cadet.
Good luck on your first trip !
My advice is, as others have said is to work well and learn all you can. A ship's engineer with qualifications can get a job anywhere - unlike a deckie like me who, when I left the sea at 26 with a Mate's ticket could only get a job labouring in a timber yard. In those days (1950's) a drop from 38 a month to 20 !!
Also my advice is for you to put by, say 10% of your earnings towards your retirement. You can't start too soon.
I was in Anglo-American tankers many moons ago. In hindisght I wish I had gone into ships sailing to Ozzy or New Zealand.
Finally - don't overdo the booze !
God bless