Working at an oil rig or gas platform


Offshore job is the term used by sailors who are working at an oil rig stationed in a particular location at sea where a construction of oil pipelines were usually accomplished in a span of three to four months.

That's what my two colleagues did. Tired or traveling on board a commercial vessel, transporting bulk and oil goods, my former co-workers decided to have a change in working atmosphere by enlisting themselves as part of the crew that are stationed at Louisiana offshore terminal this year (2011)

Through Facebook, the most famous social network to date, more than 50 multi-racial crew are hired to house one of the rigs in this oil-rich state in the U.S.A..

Before, I used to snap photos of those floating communities atop the waters of Texas and Louisiana. It was fascinating to see. Never had I imagine the hardships that sailors meet at the actual workloads being done inside those structures.

Back here in the Philippines, working at an oil rig is not a famous job among seafarers, along with those who are stationed or working at fishing vessels or tugboats. These sailor have the very short contract period while the rest have the POEA standard of 6 months per contract.


Working atmosphere in an oil rig

My friend who once worked as an ordinary seaman in an oil rig relates that there are about 50 or more sailors stationed at the particular platform. It will be divided into two groups, the morning and evening shift.

Able-bodied seamen (ABs) and fitters, work hand-in-hand, along with the bosun as they rig vast sizes of oil pipes that will be fitted to the drilled hole under the seabed. The 4 or 3-month period of staying on board such structures is consumed with discovering oil deposit at a particular platform.

There's a sonar device measuring the depth the sea or the water level and the very large boom for lifting those pipes.

My friend said that there are also problems arising inside the work areas. It's inevitable, though, tempers of men are always shortlived.

By the way, there are also doctors or nurses stationed onboard for unavoidable accidents.

Although SAFETY is always the motto of every sailor, isolated cases of freak accidents happen on deck, galley or engine room. Much more with such isolated structure, more or less 90 miles off the nearest shore.


The lurking danger

There's always a danger lurking around a particular oil rig. There are many accidents  that happened and destroyed the structures and lives of many seafarers.

Since SAFETY is everybody's business, there's always a briefing every time they do the hot work or even cold work. Hotwork is when there's a welding operation going on deck while cold work is underwater work also involving welding.

A very sound precaution of NOT WHISTLING  while working is a must. Some freak accidents happened because of the sound emitted by whistling and the sailor involved is oblivious of what's happening around him.

There are instances that oil rig explodes; so, a careful procedure is always conducted during working hours. Although fire hydrants are always ready , sea-watch is on standby and helicopter is at bay for rescue, simple mistakes can lead to bigger disaster at sea.

Lives are at stake onboard an oil rig if all are not careful of the right procedure for work.


A look at Life on an offshore Oil Rig - bstansbu

Courtesy of Hibernia Oil Platform
Courtesy of Hibernia Oil Platform


Working at an oil rig is tedious and at the same time, lonesome. Good thing, there's an internet connection that you can use if you're feeling homesick.

Salary is competitive to other sailor's job specialization. As my friend had just said, the contract is always three to six months.

You stay for the rest of your contract aboard the rig but you can also save as much as you can for yourself and your family.

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Comments 18 comments

twobmad profile image

twobmad 5 years ago from Myanmar(Burma)

Hi Utol Sailor.. this is a very informative hub. It makes me wonder that if the ship you are working with is of Oil Company.

Hope you are doing great there. When will have be having vacation in Pinas? Looking forward to seeing you. Write more hubs whenever you got time and take a lot of good care of yourself.

thesailor profile image

thesailor 5 years ago from Seven Seas Author

Hello there, twobmad. Yes, I used to work at oil tanker vessel but switched to bulk carrier just recently.

Are you still in Samar. I'm in Bicol, so it's not far if we could meet up in the city, particularly in Naga City. You can join our Hub Club in Bicol.

twobmad profile image

twobmad 5 years ago from Myanmar(Burma)

ah that's great. You are awesome seaman. I am sad I am here Manila. And I still have classes till the end of this March. i won't be able to join you guys for the hub club.

cardelean profile image

cardelean 5 years ago from Michigan

Very interesting information. I used to think that with the job market in Michigan that maybe that would be a good one for my husband. Now I'm not so sure. Great job!

thesailor profile image

thesailor 5 years ago from Seven Seas Author

The sailors in the US are protected by you're government because almost all the trainings are free, the company will pay for it. My co-worker, whose previous job was at the offshore oil rig, said that most Americans who work at the oil rig have relievers every month then go back 15 days later. Most contracts only run for only three or four months. Filipino sailors have a month vacation then they go back to continue their contract.

thesailor profile image

thesailor 5 years ago from Seven Seas Author

@twobmad: Thanks but I'll keep in touch with you when I go to Manila this May.

prasetio30 profile image

prasetio30 5 years ago from malang-indonesia

Thank you very much for share this valuable information about working at offshore. I know the worker got nice income. But this was comparable to the risk which they must deal. Well done, my friend. I really enjoy this hub, even all stunning picture and video. Rated up!


thesailor profile image

thesailor 5 years ago from Seven Seas Author

You're welcome, Pras. It's some kind of ahrd living afloat offshore terminals. although the job is compensated with money.

Nevertheless, it's a must-sought kind of seafaring job these days.

Durant profile image

Durant 5 years ago from Canada

Great article! I think that would be a really interesting job to have.

thesailor profile image

thesailor 5 years ago from Seven Seas Author

Thanks for the nice post, Durant. I recently applied @ my friend's agency. I passed the interview. I'm just waiting for the exam so that I can take the exam regarding work at the rig.

azurevon profile image

azurevon 4 years ago

Wow, what a dangerous job, even whistling is not allowed

thesailor profile image

thesailor 4 years ago from Seven Seas Author

Not really, azurevon. Dangerous is when you don't follow instructions. Accidents always happen in every workplace.

Anyways, thanks for dropping by.

tom brown profile image

tom brown 4 years ago

If you love the sea and boating, why not bring your passion into your home with a nautical décor scheme?

earthbound1974 profile image

earthbound1974 4 years ago from Bicol, Philippines

Working at an oil rig is both satisfying and dangerous. Satisfying for having high salary but dangerous when accidents happen.

thesailor profile image

thesailor 4 years ago from Seven Seas Author

Thank you for the invite @tom brown. I already have some collection about nautical décor.

thesailor profile image

thesailor 4 years ago from Seven Seas Author

You're right, @earthbound1974. It's both the sides of being successful and perilous when you're involved in seafaring.

sherwin co 3 years ago

Gud day like to ask if have a vacant position as a messman. Here my e mail address hope for your kind response

thesailor profile image

thesailor 2 years ago from Seven Seas Author

@sherwin co: I hope you've already found a job on board ship.

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