Full speed in fog

tacho
3rd February 2008, 18:42
A long time ago as mate on an ahtsv I had the uncomfortable experience of the Master steaming at full speed in fog back to base with no radar. The trip took 2 or three hours. I remember feeling very insecure and a few of us hung around on deck with eyes peeled - to little avail vis was about a cable.
Anyone else had a similar experience?

DICK SLOAN
3rd February 2008, 20:22
Thats Crazy!

treeve
3rd February 2008, 20:28
Check out the SS Suffolk. Blinding Fog. Making good speed, until they hit rock; Claimed no fog horns from Lizard too.

Ian6
3rd February 2008, 20:42
Several decades ago when I was a recipient of the MNAOA magazine I remember a Court of Enquiry report about a steam-powered fishing vessel that was in collision in dense fog in the North Sea. When asked why they were not making any sound signals the skipper replied 'It reduced the steam pressure and slowed us down' !
Ian

Riptide
3rd February 2008, 20:54
Check out the SS Suffolk. Blinding Fog. Making good speed, until they hit rock; Claimed no fog horns from Lizard too.
There are those amongst us who believe it will never happen to them.You see it on the roads every day of the week.(Cloud)
Kenny.

Frank P
3rd February 2008, 21:01
A long time ago as mate on an ahtsv I had the uncomfortable experience of the Master steaming at full speed in fog back to base with no radar. The trip took 2 or three hours. I remember feeling very insecure and a few of us hung around on deck with eyes peeled - to little avail vis was about a cable.
Anyone else had a similar experience?


Excuse me but what is an AHTSV please?

Cheers Frank (Thumb)

treeve
3rd February 2008, 21:05
Kenny, you said it !!
In God we Trust ... but keep your eyes and ears open, technology
and faith are aids, not a pit prop nor an excuse to be stupid.
Yup, I'm a grumpy old man on occasion. Raymond

Binnacle
3rd February 2008, 21:21
Doing an ocean passage it was the practice on ships I sailed on without radar to keep up full speed unless it was really pea soup or you suspected any vessels were in the vicinity. It was also the practice to send out a w/t signal at intervals giving position, course and speed and requesting any vessels in vicinity to indicate. In the N. Atlantic sea temp was tested at intervals by lowering the canvas ice bag to detect the presence of ice, and ears would be cocked to listen for any echo off a berg from the whistle blast. Daft as it may seem now, but that was the drill pre radar in my experience in the early fifties.

tacho
3rd February 2008, 21:46
Excuse me but what is an AHTSV please?


Sorry, never been keen on acronyms I meant a Tug Supply Vessel.

Sister Eleff
3rd February 2008, 22:24
So is it After Hours Tug Supply Vessel? (==D)

Derbyroy
3rd February 2008, 22:26
yes sir ,
English channel MV Cedric,
1968 May, 18knots ...straights of dover .northbound.for Hull. Thick Fog, Opposing vessels . ...............the Mates daughter was getting married in Hull next day ?.....bat out of HELL wasn,t in it lol.......

Derbyroy
3rd February 2008, 22:30
and I have proof .......I paid off her on15th ...silly girl got Wed on 16th .(as we all do )

Santos
3rd February 2008, 22:31
So is it After Hours Tug Supply Vessel? (==D)

No, Anchor Handling Towage Supply Vessel - can be dangerous job, thats what the Bourbon Dolphin was doing when she was lost, Anchor Handling.

Chris

ddraigmor
3rd February 2008, 22:45
AHTS - Anchor Handling Tug Supply. The 'V' is not used in the diction of the game, so to speak! They do love their little acronyms, they do! (No disrespect santos - I meant the folk who ise things like ERRV, DSV, etc)

Jonty

JoK
3rd February 2008, 22:54
Sailed with a Captain who would go down through iceberg alley at full out, in the dark and fog and then round Greenland about 10 miles off the Coast.
He also hit a bergy bit once that was in the icepack.
His answer to low bunkers was to go faster.

tacho
4th February 2008, 09:06
AHTSV.........AHTS..? Or it might be a mnemonic but I don't think there are enough vowels.

methc
4th February 2008, 09:48
A long time ago as mate on an ahtsv I had the uncomfortable experience of the Master steaming at full speed in fog back to base with no radar. The trip took 2 or three hours. I remember feeling very insecure and a few of us hung around on deck with eyes peeled - to little avail vis was about a cable.
Anyone else had a similar experience?
About 1968, pre Channel Routing, I boarded a Blue Star vessel,not radar-fitted as was common then in that Company, at Brixham as a North Sea pilot to take her to Rotterdam, Hamburg then London. Immediately after I had boarded the engines were put to Full Ahead, sea speed. When I pointed out that as the visibility was only one and a half miles an approach speed between two vessels which could easily be thirty knots would give us three minutes only in which to observe and make a correct decision to avoid a possible collision. I stated that either the engines were put on Standby or I would refuse to have anything to do with the navigation. I got my way, needless to say.

David Davies
4th February 2008, 10:09
On joining one signed the standing orders. All port, company and BOT/MOT regulations will be strictly observed at all times and then proceeded to ignore them in the name of economic expediency. "Fog, mist, falling snow---------------Moderate speed--------existing circumstances and conditions". South China Sea, come on watch 0400 hrs and note a developing loom on the foremast steaming light, blow down and inform Master, reply, "thanks 2/0, you know what to do, let me know if it gets any thicker, remember ETA 1000hrs today". Action:- telegraph to stand by, cadet phone ER and let them know fog. Don't blow whistle unless really necessary (it upsets the passengers) Get out cancelled chart to do radar plot on, PPI in the wheelhouse,plotting chart in chartroom(only source of light) , set slide rule to ship's speed. Cadet reports target on PPI, start plot, close quarters situation develpoing alter course and reduce speed. Irate 2nd Engineer phones up, thought stand by was just bridge going by the book, do you really want slow, reply "yes" The cacophony of the whistle is joined by varios alarms going off in engine room. Havn't had time to call Captain but he comes up, looks at the chart on chartroom table and thinks the 2nd mate is approaching Hong Kong navigating on a chart of the English Channel. Eventually we settle down to a BOT routine whilst father helps himself to my 0600 tea and toast along with my fags. The Chief Engineer arrives on the bridge to complain about having sudden engine movements sprung on them. The Purser sends note to bridge informing me that the bureau clock has stopped. The only exception is the C/0 who always visited the bridge at 0715 to see what the "incompetant" watch officers had done with his fresh water tanks, in fog mist etc he kept well clear. We meet our ETA, The Commander is well pleased and invites us up for a G&T before lunch. Oh how I look forward to the tranquil life of a cargo ship mate.

Binnacle
4th February 2008, 12:20
About 1968, pre Channel Routing, I boarded a Blue Star vessel,not radar-fitted as was common then in that Company, at Brixham as a North Sea pilot to take her to Rotterdam,.

I was amazed when the Wellington Star berthed in Wellington on her maiden voyage about 1951. Dressed overall, she looked a picture. Then I realised that she apparently had no radar. The story went that after a "radar assisted" collision a senior director instructed that all radars be removed from the company vessels.

RayJordandpo
4th February 2008, 12:39
A long time ago as mate on an ahtsv I had the uncomfortable experience of the Master steaming at full speed in fog back to base with no radar. The trip took 2 or three hours. I remember feeling very insecure and a few of us hung around on deck with eyes peeled - to little avail vis was about a cable.
Anyone else had a similar experience?

More times than I care to remember!

tacho
4th February 2008, 12:51
Get out cancelled chart to do radar plot on, PPI in the wheelhouse,

Amazing how cheap these companies were - they couldn't even provide a reflector plotter - this device made the radar about 100% more useful.

John Cassels
4th February 2008, 12:57
Ah ! , the reflection plotter with chinagraph pencils. Them was the days.

Chouan
4th February 2008, 13:53
They worked very well though!

David Davies
4th February 2008, 14:43
What worked well, the cancelled chart or the reflection plotter? I don't think we had reflection plotters in the late 50s, one was fortunate to have radar even with a 6inch PPI and of course remember the Andria Dora and Stockholm radar assisted collision! No radar observer's course but one did plotting for Master, relative or true plot and try explaining it some of the "old school"

Chris Isaac
4th February 2008, 14:51
The old school?

I'm afraid WE are the old school now!

methc
4th February 2008, 14:58
Amazing how cheap these companies were - they couldn't even provide a reflector plotter - this device made the radar about 100% more useful.
In 1956,inward bound to Rotterdam from the Far East,as 3rd Mate on the Shillong,in thick fog, from off Cherbourg towards the Dover Strait, I plotted the ship's position every 12 minutes and also at three minute intervals,the distance and bearing of any target on the screen that appeared to be crossing. These targets were laid off on the navigational chart from the appropriate own ship's position at the relevant time. This enabled me to see graphically that some targets were ferries,for example, as I could see their tracks coming from Boulogne for example. I was also able to tell Captain Spurling that the target on the port side, on a steady bearing would pass overhead as it was a Silver City's airplane doing 90 knots. This way, even though the course was altered occasionally. all the tracks of targets were True. Emulating the future True Motion radars.

As to the reflection plotter, the plotting of a known fixed object gave one a true course and speed over the ground, essential when, in thick fog, one was navigating at slow speeds and experiencing a set.

Chouan
4th February 2008, 15:14
What worked well, the cancelled chart or the reflection plotter? I don't think we had reflection plotters in the late 50s, one was fortunate to have radar even with a 6inch PPI and of course remember the Andria Dora and Stockholm radar assisted collision! No radar observer's course but one did plotting for Master, relative or true plot and try explaining it some of the "old school"

Both, but the reflection plotter and the chinagraph pencil was, I think all that you really needed.

billyboy
5th February 2008, 01:31
Remember being stood between two boilers in thick fog, with all watertight doors closed at 24 knots once. Not a nice feeling. Only consolation being that if anything nasty did happen i wouldn't have known much about it.

David K
5th February 2008, 02:47
.... Guess I was "spoiled" but ALL the Masters I sailed with, always slowed down and sounded the proper signals ( even the correct ones when at anchor) .... radar was fitted on all, not that it always worked, and not the best of "pictures" either ! ....( Australian National Line and WRC Carpenters/Pacific Shipowners ) ...... David K. ....

Chouan
5th February 2008, 09:43
The last real fog I experienced was on the "Maersk Javelin", when I was a "professional second mate". I came up on the bridge for the 0000-0400, Dad was up with the 3/0, near the seperation scheme near Cape Cod, fishing boats galore, and we were doing full speed. He let the 3/0 do the hand over, and then, once the 3/0 had gone down said to me words to the effect of "you know where I am, she's all yours" and off he went.
At least he had confidence in me!

JoK
5th February 2008, 12:32
As a 2nd who worked the Fishery Patrol vessels on the banks, it was not a pleasant experiance at 0200 hrs to get a call from the bridge saying: flash her up, we have what looks like a container ship bearing down on us and they are not altering course. It would be a bit of a scramble to get her up and running with another ship bearing down on you at 20 odd knots.
We never radioed out, because we were watching the fishing fleet and the standing order was stay off the radio. The crew was telling me, when the ship was painted grey before my time, she blended in with the fog. With dawn, she would look like a ghost ship bearing down on the FVs.
Another ship I hated. The crew were treated like cattle. It didn't break my heart when it was decommisioned, even though I ended up in a 2 year shore assignment ( 10 years ago).

Riptide
6th February 2008, 02:11
Kenny, you said it !!
In God we Trust ... but keep your eyes and ears open, technology
and faith are aids, not a pit prop nor an excuse to be stupid.
Yup, I'm a grumpy old man on occasion. Raymond

It is true what you say.I worked for a mining engineering comp. & I used to go to coal miines,we built hydraulic roof supports & chocks,but the miners still put a piece of timber in between so they could hear if there was a problem with collapse.
Kenny.

Chouan
6th February 2008, 09:33
The last real fog I experienced was on the "Maersk Javelin", when I was a "professional second mate". I came up on the bridge for the 0000-0400, Dad was up with the 3/0, near the seperation scheme near Cape Cod, fishing boats galore, and we were doing full speed. He let the 3/0 do the hand over, and then, once the 3/0 had gone down said to me words to the effect of "you know where I am, she's all yours" and off he went.
At least he had confidence in me!

Mind you, we didn't even have the fog horn going when I came up. The ether was full of chatter from American fishing boats which would have been incomprehensible to most of the deep sea traffic that they would have been trying to call to.

"I've got a steamer coming up on me, do you copy?"

What?

SSimon
6th February 2008, 10:09
I remember in the 50s, a time when radars were kept locked and the Master had the key!

We were in the Channel and the Old man was on the bridge with his head stuck in the radar. We were going full speed and he was issuing helm orders at full chat.
We suddenly cleared the fog bank, emerging into full visibility. 3/0 did have a go at telling the Old man but was told to shut up - he was concentrating. So we left him there and enjoyed the ride (I was a junior apprentice at the time - not MY place to say anything (A) )
The Old man's 'conning' went on for a couple of hours.
Sadly, I forget what his reaction was when he finally emerged into bright sunlight - maybe the watch had ended by then.

athinai
7th February 2008, 18:25
1966 Dover Straits, German Flag. party on Board, Up on the Sands off Folkstone. Same year Italian Flag, R/O and 3rd Mate on Bridge in Darkness and Fog. Skipper and Gang watching movies below. Big Pazzie Vesl comes up on us, 3rd Mate runs screaming from the Bridge, I Swing the wheel, and we both do a Semicircle., Skipper re-appears and says All Ok, and I say just about., and he goes back to his movie. Third time British Skipper on Czech Flag vsl, while glued to the Radar we nearly hit nose to nose., All nearly Radar Assisted Colissions. Does It Happen Now ????? or is there an easier way.
Cheers/
PS. All three incidents happened in the same year, and I never had anything before that or after in the way of a Near Miss. except for a Direct hit by an Israeli Shell in Suez some years later, but thats another story.

athinai
7th February 2008, 20:10
An interisting follow up to my last post., I left the German Ship when alongside in Hamburg. Some months later I received a letter from the German Courts while alongside in Long Beach California., It was regards to that Dover temporary Grounding, and Lo and behold, the Chief Officer who was a Big Fat Goering type and had been a Submarine Commander in the North Atlantic During WW2., had sent a Letter to the German Authorities reporting the Captain of Incompetence and Drunkness, and they requested my Version of Events. So it gave me great pleasure to Down this Ex Submariner and I took the Skippers side., All went well and he was not Disiplined and only Died a few years ago, we were in contact to the end. Great Times, We were all just Seamen with the occasional ''Looper'' thrown in.
Cheers again

John Campbell
7th February 2008, 20:56
Re some "old men" and radars.
I had just joined a nearly new large tanker, big but not a VLCC,with a brand new Mate's ticket- and after letting go and squaring away aft proceeded to the bridge to take over the 12-4 as we sailed down the Maas towards the sea.
The Radar was on- a brand new top of the range Marconi - we had two complete with all the bells and whistles that are now so familiar but then a revolution.
After sticking my head down the hood and viewing the lovely true motion display - I was approached by the Old man - who was the splitting image of "Jimmy Cagney" indeed he was nick named aptly as Cagers.

He said " Been with this type of Radars before 2nd Mate" - I replied that No, I had not but could not wait to put their facilities into use - I got such a shock when he replied " You'll leave the f.....ng thing alone". and so we did for the rest of the trip. Thank goodness we had no fog and he paid off in a fortnight after my joining.

wa002f0328
7th February 2008, 21:04
The last real fog I experienced was on the "Maersk Javelin", when I was a "professional second mate". I came up on the bridge for the 0000-0400, Dad was up with the 3/0, near the seperation scheme near Cape Cod, fishing boats galore, and we were doing full speed. He let the 3/0 do the hand over, and then, once the 3/0 had gone down said to me words to the effect of "you know where I am, she's all yours" and off he went.
At least he had confidence in me!

Hi Chouan
What exactly is a proffesional second mate, is this some modern day examination, it did not exsist in the 60s, rgds Bill(Thumb)

Chouan
7th February 2008, 22:07
Hi Chouan
What exactly is a proffesional second mate, is this some modern day examination, it did not exsist in the 60s, rgds Bill(Thumb)

I was a Second Mate with no prospect, indeed, no aspiration, to sail as anything else, rather like a professional Third Engineer. I adopted the term for myself a couple of months ago after another member disparaged Second Mates who'd been in the rank "too long" as "professional Second Mates". I rather like the description.

Ron Stringer
7th February 2008, 23:24
On a tanker carrying Angolan crude to Rotterdam we ran into thick fog in the Channel. In compliance with standing orders the 2nd mate rang for the Old Man, who had only been seen by his tiger and the Chief Steward since we left the loading port. (He had a close friendship with several bottles of a certain Scottish distillate).

When the Master arrived on the bridge he proceeded to press his face into the mask of the single radar display and then to call out changes of course to the helmsman at intervals. No plotting was attempted and no one else on the bridge had any view of the radar picture. The engine room (steam tubine) was on standby but we were still at Full Ahead. All the 2nd mate's suggestions about reducing speed were rejected but after a while the Old Man agreed that the whistle could be sounded. This went on for half an hour or so with the rest of us getting increasingly nervous.

Eventually there was a cry of "Full Astern" and "Hard A'port" from the Master and we started to swing quickly to port. Almost immediately afterwards there was a slight thinning in the fog and dead ahead, crossing our bows from starboard to port, was a Norwegian tanker of about 30,000 tons (one of the Rasmussen 'Poly' tankers). She was travelling slowly, in ballast, about 4 or 5 cables away and seemed to fill the bridge windows from one side to the other.

The 2nd mate shouted "Hard a'starboard" and we after what seemed like an age we passed less than a cable clear of the stern of the crossing ship. At the 2nd mate's shout the Old Man had pulled his head out of the radar and when he saw the crossing ship almost on us he literally reeled backwards, away from the radar and the bridge front. As we cleared the other ship he told the 2nd mate to carry on and descended to his cabin. We next saw him when we picked up the pilot at the Hoek.

Nothing was said and, as far as I know, nothing was done about the Master's behaviour. A later incident in Rotterdam caused his removal from the ship.

Donnie More
7th February 2008, 23:47
around 1976, on passage Hamburg to Glasgow on an old 15 knot general cargo ship , with ' company pilot ' on board , south about , dense fog all the way right to the Clyde , we steamed at FSS , with engine room on standby , the concern below was carried on after watch ' up top ' by off duty engineers , the mates answer was " the big ships nowadays slow down from 22 to 15 knots " .

tacho
8th February 2008, 09:21
Going at full speed in fog wasn't necessarily a bad thing. Provided that you took prompt and substantial actions for avoidance; and knew how to use the radar. Unfortunately some failed on both these points. Not necessarily their fault, maybe they were unfortunate enough to learn bad habits from their seniors; after all who you sailed with was a bit of a lottery. Radar courses ashore can only be a introduction to the real world.
BTW I'm not advocating blasting on at full speed in all conditions just that excessive timidity and caution can enhance risk. Fortunately I only sailed with a couple of masters of this ilk and mighty worrying (and frustrating) it was too.

I should think Bill Davies would be a good person to train under...if you survived the experience of course..!

John Cassels
8th February 2008, 09:37
Prompt and substantial action - that's the key. How many radar assisted
collisions have been caused by a number of small alterations. One large
alteration so that the other guy can clearly see what you are doing.

I think Bill Davies would be an excellent person to train under but will unfortunatly have to miss the experience as am happily retired !.

SSimon
8th February 2008, 11:10
Hi Chouan
What exactly is a proffesional second mate, is this some modern day examination, it did not exsist in the 60s, rgds Bill(Thumb)

I agree with Chouan.

The term referred to someone who had a 2nd. Mate's 'ticket', or even a Mate's, but never wanted to progress further up the promotion ladder.
The term was common perhaps 30 or 40 years ago; it was to me anyway.

No room for such people now. They have all been replaced by people who have been taught to read a SatNav. Much skill and invaluable experience has been lost to the industry.

trotterdotpom
8th February 2008, 12:55
I remember being in fog for a couple of days, the Old Man had been on the bridge for ages - two day growth and spaniel eyes. I looked up and saw the sun beating down on us, "Visibility's down to 96 million miles, I see," I wisecracked. He didn't seem to be amused, miserable git.

John T.

wa002f0328
8th February 2008, 21:20
I agree with Chouan.

The term referred to someone who had a 2nd. Mate's 'ticket', or even a Mate's, but never wanted to progress further up the promotion ladder.
The term was common perhaps 30 or 40 years ago; it was to me anyway.

No room for such people now. They have all been replaced by people who have been taught to read a SatNav. Much skill and invaluable experience has been lost to the industry.

SSimon
Quite agree with you, standards have slipped over the years, wonder how many at sea these days have a sextant, or even heard of one, but I suppose that is technology, Rgds Bill(Thumb)

Dave437
8th February 2008, 22:39
How I agree with John Cassells. Providing that any action taken is substantial and positive, such action will be more easily recognised by other vessels if it is carried out early and at speed. Not full speed, but at a speed where any late targets (yachts etc) can be detected, plotted and avoided in good time. This speed will of course vary with the type and manoevrability of ship you are handling. A SeaCat for instance could be safely operated at 24kts in poor vis while a conventional ferry would be unsafe at half that speed.
Dave

Binnacle
9th February 2008, 09:23
Steaming at full speed in fog in the Med I observed three targets ahead on the radar, suggested to the master that we reduce speed as one collision was enough in a watch. He agreed, a couple of hours before in the Straits of Gib a Spanish vessel sank after being in contact with our stem bar. I would hasten to add that prior to and at the collision the master was at the radar.
Sometimes when things are sticky the third mate has to step in.

jodalo
9th February 2008, 09:33
An amusing song for your delectation from an ex GI (gunnery instructor) with reference to the RP,s radar plotters. If the link works that is.
http://www.gunplot.net/jukebox/seasongs/rollonmetime.wma

giles006
9th February 2008, 20:12
I quite agree with Dave437's comments. As Master of a HSC (are we back to acronyms again??) I have several times in the past couple of years proceeded in excess of 30 knots in vis of less than half a mile. But this is on a ship that can stop from that speed in about 1.5 cables. We also have a five man watch, with myself and Chief Officer (also a Master Mariner) maintaining individual radar watch and talking to each other and the look outs regarding each target. There's plenty of slow old tankers trudging down the channel at 12 knots in the same vis with a stopping distance of 2 miles at least and one Mate on watch alone - I know who I reckon is the safer vessel. It's not all about speed, it's about awareness, two good radars and taking substantial action for everything.

SSimon
10th February 2008, 10:40
I think you are right Giles. I also think that most of us regard anything doing 30 knots as being 'not there' and that it will evade us; simply because anything we do in our 12 knot tubs will happen too slowly to make any difference?

Binnacle
10th February 2008, 20:25
Sailing down the E. coast and keeping a seamanlike watch, the fog lifted and an island which had become visible on the beam was being displayed on the radar as thirty degrees for'd of the beam. The radar technician who corrected this fault said he had heard of it but this was the first time he had actually seen it. Some contacts in the scanner unit had gone out of alignment. With two radars this fault would be obvious, with only one and no visual reference it was not possible to be aware that the heading was out of alignment. Perhaps with modern technology this cannot now happen.

Bill Davies
10th February 2008, 20:59
Giles,
Read your post along with others and rather concerned. Awareness is fine however, do I detect complacency??? which is another ball game.
I might add that the smallest vessel I have ever commanded is a Panamax and the largest +400k ULCCs hence my mindset is for this size at least with the associated stopping distances . The only HSC I ever travelled on was the Holyhead/Dun Loaghaire service and the various Masters assured me of the stopping distances you mentioned. The posts in this thread are alien to me.

Brgds

Bill.

Keith Adams
16th April 2008, 08:13
Think I posted this once before on another thread, but here goes ... with Canadian Pacific liners on North Atlantic attempting to make transcontinental Canada train schedules I have made trips where we left the Pier Head in Liverpool in fog, so dense, we couldn't see the Pier 80 feet below, and tied up in Quebec unable to see that dockside either; having made the entire voyage in dense fog. Full speed on Standby with water tight doors closed throughout, and only sounding the whistle when radar showed traffic (ie. Grand Banks mother fishing boats with dories cast off) ... passengers would become alarmed if we kept the whistle going per regs. but okay otherwise as they thought we must be able to see even when they couldn't ! On one voyage in particular Capt Duck, upon receiving a message from the Canadian International Ice Command that the visibility was holding at 5 miles for two days in a row, sent a response to the effect that we were proceeding in a 1000 foot long by 200 foot dense fog bank that was moving West at 22 kts.! Upon arrival Montreal, he got dressed down by the Head Office for admitting that we were going full speed in dense fog. We made all the trains as usual, which seemingly was all they cared about. Keith.

Dave Wilson
16th April 2008, 09:56
Keith,
Good open post. I think we have all engaged in practices at the behest of owners that we are not particularly proud of. I wonder what the ship enthusiat members think of these posts. Are they horrified? Does it destroy there view of what actually went on? Interesting to hear.

ray bloomfield
16th April 2008, 11:15
In another forum opinions were expressed by quite a few of the deep water bods that since the advent of cert of competancy being issued to previously held certs of service holders that standards had nose dived. While not all agreed the majority did. After reading the posts here I think that some of the antics within would clearly be discribed as bad seamanship at the very least. All this from 'highly trained men of the highest caliber' If that dosen't knock some of thier morale high horse, I dont know what will.

Steve Woodward
16th April 2008, 11:41
There is another theory, that if you slow down you will be run down by the guy behind you

Dave Wilson
16th April 2008, 11:46
In another forum opinions were expressed by quite a few of the deep water bods that since the advent of cert of competancy being issued to previously held certs of service holders that standards had nose dived. While not all agreed the majority did. After reading the posts here I think that some of the antics within would clearly be discribed as bad seamanship at the very least. All this from 'highly trained men of the highest caliber' If that dosen't knock some of thier morale high horse, I dont know what will.

Ray,
Hardly the type of comment likely to generate healthy debate. Some 'highly trained men of the highest calibre' would dismiss as 'sour grapes' coming from an undertrained man of questionable calibre.

Just an opinion giving the inevitable 'flip side'
Dave

ray bloomfield
16th April 2008, 12:16
undertrained man of questionable calibre
Facts are better than assumptions Dave, perhaps you should get your facts correct before you assume.

Dave Wilson
16th April 2008, 12:51
That can also be said of your post #56

trotterdotpom
16th April 2008, 13:19
Some scary tales here - and nowadays the expect you to be sober too!

John T.

SSimon
17th April 2008, 08:55
Check out the SS Suffolk. Blinding Fog. Making good speed, until they hit rock; Claimed no fog horns from Lizard too.


I am not sure how to check out SS Suffolk info but the liklihood of there being no foghorn at The Lizard is slight. There were lighthouse keepers there until fairly recently and the foghorn was very audible. I should know, I live within it's range.
Now the place is automated and the old deep audible foghorn has been replaced by a screaming affair more suited to a truck, this comes on if someone has a bonfire in the area

Bill Davies
17th April 2008, 09:36
Although I sense there are those who find the tales above of some interest I find it unbelievable that some of the practices mentioned above ever happened as written with perhaps much editorial license(Post #40). As I have stated in my #53 the practice is alien to me.

Topherjohn
17th April 2008, 10:55
On a tanker carrying Angolan crude to Rotterdam we ran into thick fog in the Channel. In compliance with standing orders the 2nd mate rang for the Old Man, who had only been seen by his tiger and the Chief Steward since we left the loading port. (He had a close friendship with several bottles of a certain Scottish distillate).

etc etc............

Nothing was said and, as far as I know, nothing was done about the Master's behaviour. A later incident in Rotterdam caused his removal from the ship.
Puts me in mind of an incident I experienced as 3/O on Enugu Palm in 1964. Returning from West Coast Africa north bound in Western Approaches heading for Liverpool. Entered dense fog during nighttime 8 - 12 watch, many fishing boats and other crossing traffic on radar, Scilly Isles on radar at about 20 miles. Rang Standby, put extra lookout on duty, sent cadet to call Captain A.....y. After some time the Old Man had not appeared, sent cadet to call him again (put engines 1/2 ahead). Happened at least 3 times. Eventually he appeared; the worse for drink, he staggered into chartroom, didn't speak to me, staggered to pilot's couch and dossed down without even going into the wheelhouse!
This being one of several serious failures in duty during the voyage, following reports to Marine Super by me and several others, Captain A.....y never sailed with Palm Line again. Sad ending to his career as I'd been told he'd had a good reputation in earlier years before alcoholism.
As far as I recall only one other Master (of mv Ravensworth) I sailed with hit the bottle like this. He also was sacked end of voyage. All others I knew were reliable, cautious in fog and very strict regarding nighttime Standing Orders.
Bill Davies Please note no editorial license (Post #63) whatsoever in this post!

trotterdotpom
17th April 2008, 12:18
I am not sure how to check out SS Suffolk info but the liklihood of there being no foghorn at The Lizard is slight. There were lighthouse keepers there until fairly recently and the foghorn was very audible. I should know, I live within it's range.
Now the place is automated and the old deep audible foghorn has been replaced by a screaming affair more suited to a truck, this comes on if someone has a bonfire in the area

I had a brief spell at the Lizard Lighthouse - my first. We had marks to check regularly, I forget what, but when you couldn't see them, that was time to start the foghorn. It was quite a performance starting the engines in order to get the compressed air for the foghorn. You had to run around like a blue arsed fly warming things up with a blowtorch. I had no idea what I was doing but it worked every time. I'm fairly sure there were two engines too so the likelyhood of it not working is, as Simon says, slight.

Not sure when the SS Suffolk incident happened - maybe one of those Cornish scallywags shoved a sock in the foghorn!

John T.

Keith Adams
18th April 2008, 20:20
I am aware we have a number of members on this site who took up a seagoing career before myself (mine being 1951) however, I did manage to make my first trip (7 months long) in a vessel that had only magnetic compass', a single D/F Loop, an electronic fathometer and and a ships radio room ... we did not stop when visibility dropped to zero and only slowed and sounded the whistle in areas where we anticipated other traffic, also, when in the Mersey or Thames in the glory days of REAL industrial fog, when homes, road trucks, trains and factories burned coke or coal, the entire country would have come to a standstill had we obeyed the RULES and not
entered or left port in dense fog. I only spent 2 years on the N. Atlantic run making an average of a round trip once each month and we never once wrote 'Dense Fog' in the Log Book yet many trips were made in such conditions, so younger persons will read past Logs and think there never was dense fog on the N.Atlantic. On some trips one would think we were in the Pacific, it was so calm and balmy every day whereas on other trips one wondered if the ship would ever rise up out of seas on the foredeck. Only on one of those trips did we not see anything, dock/pier side ,tug or other
vessel, from the time we let go in Gladston Dock, Liverpool to tying up in Quebec, but it did happen ... no fairy tale.
A few years earlier, when I was with P.S.N.C. we left Sandon Half Tide Basin, Liverpool behind another of our ships in dense fog and received a hasty message to anchor short of New Brighton Pier (not that we could see it) ... shortly thereafter our lead ship appeared out of the gloom and passed us close by with her port side boat-deck plating/side rail all peeled back as if by a can opener ... the inbound Cunard vessel "PARTHIA" or "MEDIA" had caught her with her port anchor as the brushed by ... needless to say, we were in such a dangerous location our ship proceeded out to the Bar and on our way without the fog lifting. What was the Log Book entry ? ... 'Occasional dense fog patches' !
I will close with a verse penned by a renowned Admiralty Attorney in San Francisco, Mr.Jim Quimby (deceased) ...

ANOMALY

It was murky on the headlands, it was hazy out at sea,
But where the ships collided it was clear as clear could be.
"These guys that thought it foggy," said the captain, "must be daft,
I was takin' a sun-bath on the upper boat-deck, aft.
The engineer was readin', by limpid light of day,
And the mate was watchin' bathers on the beach ten miles away.
I can prove it by the engine log," the jolly skipper said,
"For it's never foggy weather when the log shows full ahead."

As they say in legal terms "I rest my case." Regards to all who know.

Alan Parsons
25th April 2008, 11:47
I have had two very unsatisfactory experiences as a passenger on cross channel ferries. First time we were crossing UK to France visibility under a mile and the vessel continued at normal cruising speed, approx 19 knots, no sound signals, and had a very close encounter with another vessel which appeared off our starboard bow and which we shaved ahead of (just!!) The other vessel showed its displeasure by continually sounding 5 blasts. Perhaps the oow had too much faith in his MARPA set?

Second time (same company, different vessel) I had been granted a bridge visit. During the visit(only the oow on the bridge which I found a little surprising) we suffered total engine failure (both engines) and all the bridge engine alarms went off. Eventually the master apeared on the bridge, enquired as to why we had stopped and having been told that repairs (overheating due to blocked cooling water inlets) would take about an hour reurned to his cabin! There was no communication with the shoreside authorities other than a mobile phone call to the company office to say we would be late and please stand down the dockers! No additional personnel on the bridge a brief announcment to the passengers and thats your lot.

Frankly I found both incidents very unprofessional and somewhat concerning; I would certainly have failed my RYA/MCA Yachtmasters ticket if I had behaved in that way. I haven't travelled with that ferry company since!!

Alan Parsons

Eric Bennett
6th May 2008, 04:37
Hi Tacho
In 1951, I was a lowly AB on the MV Woodford. I was on the wheel in the morning 8til12 with the old man on the bridge. We were steaming at full speed in thick fog approaching Belle Isle Strait on our way to Montreal, with every confidence in the radar that was in it's early days. Suddenly the fog cleared, and there, dead ahead was a massive iceberg. The ship had to take immediate evasive action. The 3rd Mate explained to me that as the berg 's side was sloping away from the ship the radar did not receive an echo. Lucky for us that there was cold clear air around the berg. There was a lookout on the foc's'l head at the time and before the fog cleared he told us that he could feel the cold of the berg on his face.
Regards
Eric

Dave Wilson
6th May 2008, 15:26
Hi Tacho
In 1951, I was a lowly AB on the MV Woodford. Eric

Please explain why you feel it necessary to introduce yourself as a lowly AB. It was a position I never was fortunate enough to occupy although I had the certificate.

Dave

JimC
6th May 2008, 19:04
What worked well, the cancelled chart or the reflection plotter? I don't think we had reflection plotters in the late 50s, one was fortunate to have radar even with a 6inch PPI and of course remember the Andria Dora and Stockholm radar assisted collision! No radar observer's course but one did plotting for Master, relative or true plot and try explaining it some of the "old school"

Sorry David,

In Denholms from 1952 onward, the radar gear was certainly superior to what you describe. Actually I got my Radar Observer's Certificate (No.6000) at leith Nautical College in July, 1957. I'm not sure but I think it was about then that a 2nd mates cert required one. I also used the plotter when I sat for Mate the following year.
Incidentally: my profound apologies to the Blue Flue boys - seems I got them mixed-up with Blue Star. I do remember the 'no radar' rule. I also remember being on an Anchor Line vessel which had the radar covered with a locked wooden box to which the Master held the only key - now there's confidence for you! I suspect the lack of confidence was due to the constant reminer from the BOT and lectureres that radar and any other new fangled electronic things were only to be considered as aids to navigation and not to be relied on too much That advice was used constantly as a 'life belt' by the older generation who could not get their heads round many new things - 'a bit like today!' I hear some of you exclaiming.

Al the best

Jim




Regards,

Jim

Eric Bennett
11th May 2008, 04:06
Hi Dave
Being on the bridge amongst all those mates and masters comments, I felt that my lower deck comments were not as important.
Cheers
Eric

JimC
11th May 2008, 16:53
Hi Dave
Being on the bridge amongst all those mates and masters comments, I felt that my lower deck comments were not as important.
Cheers
Eric
Eric,

If you sit down and write all you have ever learned (and remember) about your time as a seaman , I'll bet you'll give yourself an enormous surprise by how much you know and how many things you have done or the number of places you've been to. Your memories, comments and experiences are what matter on this site. I know it is used from time to time by some (guilty!) to try and impress others as to how clever they are. However, as far as I'm concerned - and I think I can safely say-as far as most of the other seafarers on the site are concerned - a ship is a very special place full of special people. Every person on a ship has a particular job to do and a valuable contribution to make. All the jobs are like the pieces in a jig-saw puzzle - you don't see the full picture untill all the 'bits' are in place. The trend to just manning a ship in accordance with minimum legal requirements has proved this - may be that was the problem of the ship trying to get onto the motorway! Don't do yourself down mate. After all what's the point of being a captain if there's no crew to run your ship?
By the way; I was last in Whangerie in 1955. Then it was a wee, quiet port.
We were the first ship there for ages. We got a great welcome from the locals. I seem to remember drinking home brew and getting 'blootered' on it.
There was a Scots pilot there who had a bottle of the good stuff and had been keeping it for such an event as our visit. My last memory of him was of him being amongst a group of us waking-up on somebody's lawn, covered in dew and him still clutching his UNOPENED bottle. I suspect he'll be long-gone now.(as will the bottle)

Cheers!

Jim C.

Dave Wilson
11th May 2008, 20:58
Eric,
Some of the best practical advice I received in my career was from the men in the foc'sle.
Dave

Sister Eleff
12th May 2008, 00:18
Well said Jim C & Dave Wilson. (Applause) (Applause) Same applies in all walks of life, everyone is important to the final outcome.

John Briggs
12th May 2008, 00:59
Great comments JimC & Dave Wilson, I couldn't agree more!

Whizzbang
13th May 2008, 11:33
I remember being on a North Sea Ferry in 1986 in quite heavy fog and the ship was ploughing through the water like nobody's business! I think the Captain was trying to make up for lost time as we were late leaving port..

Dave Wilson
13th May 2008, 13:06
Managed a few 'Visibilty Assisted Incidents' over the years each having their root cause in commercial pressures.

spongebob
15th May 2008, 08:41
FOG AT SEA

My only drama in fog at sea was when, as a 14 year old, I went fishing in the Rangitoto Channel which is the approach to Auckland’s Harbour.
My Cousin and I had rowed out from Cheltenham Beach before daybreak on a cool calm and seemingly clear morning to anchor at the edge of the shipping channel where we were certain to catch a few snapper for breakfast but as the dawn approached so did a fog and before long we were enveloped in a shroud that limited good visability to perhaps 60 yards. It was only the lay of the anchor warp that gave us any sense of direction as the shore line and street lights were no longer visible.
Never mind, the fish were biting but then came the sound of a ship’s fog horn blaring in the distance. It first sounded well clear of our spot and nothing to worry about but as time passed the sound started to get closer and seemed to be reverberating and echoing from all directions.
As a precaution we upped anchor and decided to row toward the shore and shallow water but once we started drifting on the rising tide we lost all sense of direction and were not sure where our home shoreline was so we just sat there ready to row like hell the moment we sighted the ship. Panic and fear were at least two of the emotions we felt let alone the embarrassment of our decision to weigh anchor as we had been on the channel edge and probably safe as houses. The blast of the fog horn seemed almost on top of us when the ship loomed through the fog on a parallel course and a good 75 yards away. We recognized it as the Union Co’s Pacific Islands passenger/ freighter MV “Matua” arriving in port and steaming up the channel at a snail’s pace of about 3 to 4 knots.
Relief all round and we went back to fishing as the sun started to break through

Eric Bennett
16th May 2008, 05:24
Thank you Jim C, Dave, Sister Eleff and John Briggs for your comments. Your right Dave. I am in the process of writing about my sea experiences which bring back many memories nearly forgotten. In the early days what conditions that we had to put up with but rarely complained about them then.
Regards
Eric

oceangoer
16th May 2008, 06:37
In my 30 years as a Shipmaster I served Middle East/Far East/Pacific waters in vessels from 10,000 to 350,000 dwt, general break bulk vessels to Malaccamax tankers. Generally these vessels were running at speeds of between 17 knots and 23 knots.

On not one occasion did I find it necessary to reduce speed due to fog. On a number of instances we did run into heavy mist around the Taiwan Strait, Bungo Suido, off Shimonoseki, and the approaches to Tsingtao and Shanghai but visibility was never reduced sufficiently to necessitate a log entry of “fog”.

Of course, when we did run into some of these misty patches the Officer of the Watch would advise the engine room that we might need to reduce speed quickly and to make whatever arrangements were necessary, in addition the off watch officer would be called to man the radar and I would remain on the bridge in an “advisory” capacity leaving the OOW in effective charge.

On not one occasion did I fail to make a pilot due to visibility or the lack thereof, on not one occasion did I have to alter course ‘violently’ or perform engine operations due to visibility or the lack thereof.

On not one occasion did I have a crew member approach me with stained trousers or an adverse comment.

Get real.

surfaceblow
17th May 2008, 03:52
In thirty five years of sailing on ships there were two times that we had slowed down due to fog. The first time was around Land's End coming into the English Channel when the Bridge rang down STOP instead of STANDBY. Both boilers safeties popped when the turbine was stopped from sea speed. While the engine room was waiting for the next bell the bridge called down to find out why we had stopped. There was an interesting exchange of words between the Chief Engineer and the Captain. The Chief Engineer wanted to know who the wit was that rang STOP and the Captain wanted to know who the wit was that answered the bell without calling the Bridge to confirm the bell. Since noting more was said to the lowly ranks of the engine department I have to believe that the Chief Engineer prevailed.
The next time was while maneuvering into Tampa when it got to foggy to see the bridge so we dredged a new channel to anchor out of the ship channel until the fog lifted. The Captain did not report the scraping of the bottom in the soft mud to the office but the CAPAC people reported that the paint on the bottom was gone based on the CAPAC readings sent out monthly. The First Assistant Engineer, oilers and wipers were upset due to the mud that had to be removed from the strainers, coolers and condensers.