I am a 1988 graduate of Massachusetts Maritime Academy. I sailed VLCC’s as 3rd and 2nd Mate. I then came ashore for a bit and then returned to sea working as Captain and Chief Mate on three different IMO high speed craft. My last seagoing job was Captain of a dynamically positioned, mobile offshore deepwater drilling unit for Noble Drilling aboard the vessel “Noble Danny Adkins.” Presently, and since March 2017, I have been a training instructor for the U.S. Navy at the Surface Warfare Officers School located in Newport, RI. I teach both conventional surface combatant vessels as well as the high speed littoral combat ships to Navy Officers that range from Lieutenants to Commanding Officers.
I had been Captain of the previously mentioned “Noble Danny Adkins” for five years from March 2010 to March 31, 2015. Prior to that, in 2009, I was Chief Mate on the “Noble Danny Adkins” during the vessels final phases of construction in Singapore and prior to the vessels arrival in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico which was in February 2010. The “Noble Danny Adkins” was on contract to Shell until mid-2014 and the vessel earned and enjoyed an outstanding reputation for safety, regulatory compliance, efficiency and crew morale. The “Noble Danny Adkins” was considered to be one of, if not, the best vessels in the Noble Drilling fleet.
On March 31, 2015, my employment was terminated from Noble Drilling. This termination took place eleven days after I filed a report of illegal safety violations that took place on the vessel in my absence. These safety violations were extremely egregious. Morally, ethically and legally, I was obligated to report this. On March 18th and March 20, 2015, I reported the safety violations to Noble Drilling’s “Alternate Designated Person Ashore,” (ADPA)Vaclav “Jed” Jedlicka. Eleven days after filing my report of these safety violations, March 31, 2015, I was fired. What I didn’t realize is, at the time, that my report to ADPA Jedlicka exposed both corporate and vessel management, in collusion and agreement, as it pertained to the illegal safety violations I reported.
The result was my termination eleven days later. The details of my termination is contained in a post on this website titled “On Whistleblowing.”
My whistleblower/retaliatory termination has been a very eye-opening experience. I care deeply about our industry and the safety of all mariners. Mariners may disagree on many things; however, the one common denominator all mariners should share is safety. We all want to come home to our families and loved ones. In this day and age, mariners in any capacity should not be fearful of retaliation and/or termination for raising safety issues to management. Unfortunately, it still keeps happening.
I want to be clear that this is not about me. It is about us as an industry and changes that need to be made to what is a very broken system. What happened in my situation can happen to any of us. My goal and my passion is to try as best I can to prevent this type of activity from repeating itself. I would welcome any mariner to please feel free to comment or to contact me directly at 978-764-3908 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you and until the next post.
Captain Jeffrey B. Hagopian