Writing letter requests is one of the many formalities seafarers will eventually face.
For one, these letters can be put into black and white and sent to the company which signifies seriousness on your part rather than hanging onto spoken words and promises.
The most common letters on board are Repatriation Letters, Extension Letters, and Early Vacation Requests.
In some special cases, the crew can also make salary loan requests on board. This will come in the form of an MPO or Master’s Payment Order which will be sent directly to your bank account.
These letters are very powerful. Most of the time, my requests get approved when I pair them with nicely written reasons.
Whether it be an extension, repatriation, or early vacation, I always get a positive result.
Why the need for such letters?
Many Ship Masters or even the company itself now want everything on paper.
I asked one captain about this and he told me that he had a bad experience before he used letters for some serious requests from the crew.
There was one crew who wanted to extend his contract for two more months. The ship captain wrote to the company and they approved his request.
After a month, the crew suddenly wanted to go home. He even had a little argument with his captain.
Moreover, an ITF inspector came on board which was very unexpected. The crew immediately used this for his leverage.
Meanwhile, the Captain tried to explain the situation but decided to give the crew what he wanted even though his reliever wasn’t ready yet.
Such scenarios are common on board. Whenever a crew decides to extend or request an early vacation, submitting a letter makes it more powerful.
Even if your contract will be finished in a month, you may be repatriated later. Writing a letter of request helps you cement the next port of call as your exit.
Besides, these letters serve as proof to the authorities if for some reason they don’t send you home once your contract is over.
How to write these letters
Writing can be very difficult for many seafarers. Luckily for me, I already passed that hurdle and compiled a few samples that you can use.
But if you want to write a letter, just write it.
What’s your intent? What do you want to achieve?
On the samples below, you will notice that at the beginning of my letter, I directly state my intention. I explained my reasons in the succeeding paragraphs.
You must state valid, important, and if it’s really true, urgent reasons. If you’ve been sailing for some time, you know why I’m saying this.
Then I ended it wishing them a nice day.
If you can’t write it in English, simply draft it in your dialect just to get it out of your head. Then slowly transfer it to English.
If you can’t help it, visit my website and message me. I may be able to help.
Repatriation Letter Request
You might wanna ask,
“The company must send me home once I finish my contract. Why should I write a repatriation request?”
That is correct. Besides, most contract has a “Plus 1, Minus 1 Policy”.
If your contract is 6 months, it is considered finished in 5 months. Additionally, an extra month is allowable.
Submitting a repatriation request gives the impression of firmness- that you don’t want to extend your contract. This is effective especially if your company has a habit of delaying your repatriation.
With this letter, they will have to find a way to send you a reliever.
Besides, if they dilly-dally, that letter will be your ace if ever authorities come on board. Companies know this that’s why they will fulfill their obligation because nowadays, reputation is very important.
Here’s an example of a repatriation request.
Here is a soft copy of that same repatriation letter request in MS Word format.
Early Vacation Request
Sometimes, we need to go home for some important reasons.
This may include family problems, family reunions, family achievements… you get the point.
If not done right, you may have to pay for your plane tickets, agency fee, and your reliever’s ticket. Worse, you can’t go home at all because your contract is not finished yet.
But there is a way around this and that’s to write an early vacation request.
I know this may look like much to ask and a verbal request seems fine.
However, writing a letter proves your seriousness. If you craft it well enough, there is a pretty good chance you get what you want.
Here is an example.
Here is the soft of of the Early Vacation Letter that you can use and edit.
Early Vacation Letter Strategy
The way to write a very compelling letter is to support why you want to sign off earlier.
You have to state a valid reason, especially one that they can relate to. Make it straight to the point.
After that, mention something that you can use as your leverage. That letter spoke about the loyalty of the seafarer and how he’s been consistent with his contract.
Lastly, help them help you go home. Companies nowadays want to save money. So it mentioned in the letter how they can reduce the cost of repatriation.
They also won’t be able to give an alibi that a reliever is unavailable since you already addressed that.
Finally, if they reject your request. Imagine their conscience bugging them.
Now the opposite of an early vacation request is an extension request.
I believe this is the easiest one to write especially if you’ve been doing good on board.
One of the most common reasons you can make for an extension request is a project at home that needs financing. Others include debts that you want to pay.
As long as you won’t be over 12 months, there is a good chance your request will be approved.
Here is another soft copy of the Extension Request above.
I think no matter the reason for your extension request, it will get approved as long as they are valid.
Moreover, it’s up to the Captain if he really wants you to extend. This applies to crew members who are headaches on board.
Always remember, If you don’t ask, the answer will always be no.
Again, if you want to request anything written on board, send me a DM. I may be able to help you.
May the winds be in your favor.