Direct employ R/O's

rknibbs
24th March 2008, 14:52
I remember getting a list from, (I think?), the Shipping Federation in around 1968 of shipping companies that employed their own R/O's. Did anybody keep a copy of such a list, or remember which companies were on the list?

K urgess
24th March 2008, 15:08
I think I saw one in the REOU magazine once and somewhere else but can't think where you would find one now.
Maybe we can make one up. We have enough direct employ sparkies on board.
You'd have to pick a timeframe, say 65 to 70, though wouldn't you?
Cheers
Kris

rknibbs
24th March 2008, 16:14
Yep, I was thinking around the time I was at college, Norwood, say, 1968, but the only companies I remember were BP, RFA, P&O. If I remember there were about 10 companies on the list.
Best
Robert

andysk
24th March 2008, 16:14
To launch this one ....

In 1970 as I left Norwood Tech, I applied for jobs to :

B & C Group (Clan, King, U-C etc)
BP Tankers
Reardon Smith
RFA

Interviews with the first three (still waiting for the result from RFA !), offers from them all, eventually had 8 happy years with B & C group.

K urgess
24th March 2008, 16:25
I can't remember when Shell went direct but it must've been sometime around 1970ish.

Roger Bentley
24th March 2008, 16:48
I started with Bibby Line in September 1950, and Brocklebanks were also taking their own R/Os at that time, and I am pretty sure Blue Funnel also employed their own as well. By the time I left the MN in early 1961 there were several more including P & O who directly employed R/Os.

mikeg
24th March 2008, 17:10
I can't remember when Shell went direct but it must've been sometime around 1970ish.

I think it was around 1972, I held off until obtaining positive feedback from a few direct employ R/O's that I'd previously known then I got a letter from Shell and the rest was history.

Mike

mikeg
24th March 2008, 17:38
I think it was around 1972, I held off until obtaining positive feedback from a few direct employ R/O's that I'd previously known then I got a letter from Shell and the rest was history.

Mike

Whilst looking for my original Shell letter I came across this, it sort of spells the end for the watchkeeping R/O....
(I've blanked my home address for obvious reasons)

Mike

Tai Pan
24th March 2008, 17:56
Alfred Holts always employed direct, even pre war.

trotterdotpom
25th March 2008, 01:32
Interesting letter from Shell, Mike. You can't beat the facts of life but it does have a smell of "divide and conquer" - did you ever find out who the other 20 were or was it a secret?

After a couple of years, I had an acrimonious departure from Marconi and worked directly for Scottish Ship Management and London & Overseas Freighters. Much better pay, conditions and treatment.

LOF provided one of the best routes for ROs to become Electronics Officers. Time at South Shields Tech covering Power Electrics and Electronics, followed by time at sea as a 2nd Electrician, then the Electronics Diploma. Unfortunately, the company became disillusioned when the highly qualifed participants all left and got jobs ashore! The course was discontinued.

John T.

sparkie2182
25th March 2008, 01:41
that was always the drawback of the Marine Electronics Diploma , trotterdot..........from the "Shipowner/Marine Radio Company" point of view.

it was the one piece of paper which was largely accepted ashore, purely because it had the word "ELECTRONICS" written on it.

the P.M.G's........M.R.G.G.........Radar Maintenance..........all requiring huge amounts of time, study and experience were unknown ashore, and therefore virtually worthless.

mikeg
25th March 2008, 02:26
Interesting letter from Shell, Mike. You can't beat the facts of life but it does have a smell of "divide and conquer" - did you ever find out who the other 20 were or was it a secret?
[clip].

I didn't know initially but eventually met them all on training courses over the years. In hindsight it does appear to whiff of divide and conquer but to us at that time it really did seem like a new dawn rather than the beginning of our demise - being partially released from the usual radio room duties to concentrate on electronics did have its attractions. I do remember being concerned at the time about the distress & safety aspects when I was absent from watch regardless of Satcom, Sitor etc.

Mike

R651400
25th March 2008, 08:42
I remember getting a list from, (I think?), the Shipping Federation in around 1968 of shipping companies that employed their own R/O's. Did anybody keep a copy of such a list, or remember which companies were on the list?
No list like that in the '50's.
From memory P&O, Union Castle, Blue Funnel, Brocklebanks, Reardon Smith, Paddy Henderson. Lamport & Holt were the only d/e companies.
Armed with only a PMG2 chances of a job were "snowball in hell" with most of them. I applied to all and think probably gall and a lot of luck got me into Blue Flue.

CAPILANO
25th March 2008, 11:01
I dont like to advertise my age, but upon joining the "Eastern City" in 1949-Reardon Smith had already engaged in employing their own R/Os and continued to do so until their demise.

docgk
25th March 2008, 11:09
The picture changed with time, of course. When Brock's became part of the Cunard Group the Group set up a subsidiary company called Radio and Electronic Services in the 60's I think. However, R&ES provided R/O's for Cunard,Brocklebanks,Moss Tankers,and I believe, also Port Line.

Ron Stringer
25th March 2008, 12:00
No list like that in the '50's.
From memory P&O, Union Castle, Blue Funnel, Brocklebanks, Reardon Smith, Paddy Henderson. Lamport & Holt were the only d/e companies.

To which you should add Reardon Smiths and LOF, the destination of friends that did PMG with me in Manchester.

R651400
25th March 2008, 12:25
To which you should add Reardon Smiths and LOF, the destination of friends that did PMG with me in Manchester.
Have Reardon Smith already up there Ron.
Mavreleon and Kulukundis kicked off LOF after the war with ex Fort class liberties which they called xxxxx Hill but I don't think they were d/e until the formation of Loftanks. Had a guy on our GKL course ex Loftanks who talked about beggar-all else.
Having said that tankers with officer's day room complete with fireplace is defo something different.

K urgess
25th March 2008, 13:09
I sailed with Lamport & Holt as a Marconi sparks in 1967 so they must've changed. They had standard Marconi gear on the Raphael.

andysk
25th March 2008, 14:21
.......the P.M.G's........M.R.G.G.........Radar Maintenance..........all requiring huge amounts of time, study and experience were unknown ashore, and therefore virtually worthless.

They did at least get you a half credit on an Open University degree course in the 1980's

The switched on ones did C&G Tels course 49 in parallel with the PMG. That was seriously discouaged at Norwood, but I think it was Jack Douglas who put me and a few others onto it. I managed an Intermediate Cert before I left for sea, that did help later on.

BeerSailor
25th March 2008, 21:09
And NZSCo. I sailed with an R/O who had been them since WWII.

Braighe
25th March 2008, 23:15
After six months in Marconi Co. I went with Brocks in 1951. Then Salvesens of Leith in 1956. When they finished whaling in 1961 I went with B.I in their managed Landing Ships and from there to Lyles of Glasgow (Later founder members of Scottish Ship Management) in 1964. Finally to Shell in 1974 till retirement in 1982. Several of my jobs were obtained through the R.O.U. Braighe.

R651400
26th March 2008, 08:50
I sailed with Lamport & Holt as a Marconi sparks in 1967 so they must've changed. They had standard Marconi gear on the Raphael. L&H could have been Marconi all the time GTZM-s. After hearing the dreadful tales about Marconi, I bought the latest issue of HM le Fleming's "Liners and Cargo Liners," took it to college and a Paddy Henderson R/O on the PMG1 course pointed out the d/e companies. He included L&H but missed out NZSC. I recall he was a Fifer, George Dunnet who later joined Union Castle. George if you're still out there, "Slainte-mhor."

Bill Davies
5th April 2008, 09:58
Capilano,
Quote:I dont like to advertise my age, but upon joining the "Eastern City" in 1949-Reardon Smith had already engaged in employing their own R/Os and continued to do so until their demise.Unquote:
John, unbelievable. And I thought of you as a 'spring chicken' the way you used to negotiate that pilot ladder off Gasha in the early 80s.Arriving on the bridge and contacting Jebel D without stopping for breath.
Brgds
Bill

R651400
5th April 2008, 12:08
With companies like Shell, BP and others moving to d/e, is there a remote possibility that the radio company route, easy though it was for ship owners, became so expensive it was eventually priced out of the market?
We all take advanced technology satcom, GMDSS as the main reason for ousting the R/O. Could there be others?

Ron Stringer
5th April 2008, 14:03
With companies like Shell, BP and others moving to d/e, is there a remote possibility that the radio company route, easy though it was for ship owners, became so expensive it was eventually priced out of the market?
We all take advanced technology satcom, GMDSS as the main reason for ousting the R/O. Could there be others?

The introduction of GMDSS in 1992 meant that shipowners that fitted a full complement of GMDSS equipment (with appropriate duplication of certain alerting and on-scene components) no longer need carry an R/O. Since fitting the full GMDSS equipment package involved a one-off cost of around GBP 25k, and an R/O (with leave coverage) was costing the shipowner a least GBP 40k per annum, it was a bit of a no brainer. Payback in 8 months with little or no on-going charges.

Having said that, when I retired at the end of 2002 MIMCo were still supplying R/Os to shipowners.

R651400
6th April 2008, 08:11
The introduction of GMDSS in 1992 meant that shipowners that fitted a full complement of GMDSS equipment no longer need carry an R/O. Since fitting the full GMDSS equipment package involved a one-off cost of around GBP 25k, and an R/O (with leave coverage) was costing the shipowner a least GBP 40k per annum, it was a bit of a no brainer. Payback in 8 months with little or no on-going charges.
The question arises, how much introduction?
I was well away from maritime radio and retired in 1992 but take in the scenario of a one ship company free lance R/O, far from the machinations of the ITU, who hopefully has had the common sense to take out some form of private pension.
Was it for some, "That's yer lot lad." when the deadline arrived?

CAPILANO
6th April 2008, 11:02
Bill
Many thanks your P.M. and your comments re my agility in negotiating pilot ladders! After ten yrs as Master, I must confess, boarding vessels was very new to me.- usually observed looking down from the wing of the bridge!!
Regarding age- I have noticed, of late, that I seem to be associating with a "younger element" of seafarers, but enjoy the "banter" on S.N. Fortunately, the M.N.was not(or is not!) void of a few comedians!
Have recently been reading the "ORALS" experiences- wonderful stuff!! Comforting to know that we all went through the "wringer"
Appreciate the contact
Rgds
John

Ron Stringer
6th April 2008, 19:52
The question arises, how much introduction?
Was it for some, "That's yer lot lad." when the deadline arrived?

Not sure how to answer that. The new system started being developed in 1979, with the target of full implementation by 1989. All the systems that were intended to form the essential alerting, communicating and locating components of the FGMDSS (Future Global Maritime Distress and Safety System) were already available and in use (by some ships and coast stations) at sea. So a 10-year lead-in seemed very reasonable to those that believed that, in order to improve safety at sea, modern communications systems should be adopted.

Shipowners (especially from the 3rd world) and the seafarers' unions thought differently and fought a long delaying action at IMO. As a consequence the new (GMDSS) system was not allowed to be adopted by any ships until 1992 and not made compulsory until 1997. Meanwhile the early-adopters had to run both old (500 kHz/2181 kHz) and new (GMDSS) systems side by side and bear the additional costs.

Once they had fitted the GMDSS equipment, some shipowners dropped the carriage of R/Os at once, some retained them and redeployed them as electronics maintainers, some retained them as administrators, tractor drivers, crane drivers and whatever else suited their requirements. On full implementation in 1977, more R/Os were fired and, in any case, the rank ceased to exist in the compulsory manning requirements for ships.

From the MIMCo point of view, some shipowners offered Marconi's men direct employment but in other cases we were just told by the owners that they no longer required us to supply them with an R/O for ship such-and-such. If we had a vacancy on a vessel, then we redeployed the man. If no suitable vacancy could be found, he was offered the standard industry redundancy package and his emploment was terminated.

So I don't believe that there is a single answer to your question, but leave it to other ex-R/O members to say how they acted or were treated by their employers. By that time I had been over 30 years ashore.

trotterdotpom
7th April 2008, 01:10
In Australia we all got the boot in 1992, following in the footsteps of Shipwrights and Electricians.

My last ship was Australian Venture and I was either the second last or last RO to go as we returned to Australia well after the cut off date. The last one may have been the car carrier, Australian Searoad.

I was supposed to pay off in Sydney but stayed on until Wellington as the Satcom didn't work!!!

John T.

R651400
7th April 2008, 07:39
If my terminology is a bit antiquated IMO was not in my time. BOT was more the rig of the day. Will await further input to see how individual countries handled the situation. Perhaps mishandled is closure to the truth?

Harry Nicholson
7th April 2008, 23:51
When I joined Brocklebanks in 1956 from Marconi's it was impressed upon me that Brocks had never hired their R/O's, that they had aways direct employed...
It was a great outfit, I couldn't wait to get out of Marconi's.
I've just remembered going ashore to their office in East Ham off the collier Corburn hoping to get some distilled water for the batteries. They gave me a carboy of the stuff and expected me to take it back on the bus. I insisted on a taxi and the manager seemed outraged.
Harry

R651400
16th November 2008, 15:44
I dont like to advertise my age, but upon joining the "Eastern City" in 1949-Reardon Smith had already engaged in employing their own R/Os and continued to do so until their demise.Had all the immediate post war shipping companies such as Reardon Smith gone down the road of direct employ rather than hired from radio companies it may in my humble opinion have projected the MN Radio Officer into the 21st century.

Ron Stringer
16th November 2008, 23:13
I couldn't wait to get out of Marconi's.
I've just remembered going ashore to their office in East Ham off the collier Corburn hoping to get some distilled water for the batteries. They gave me a carboy of the stuff and expected me to take it back on the bus. I insisted on a taxi and the manager seemed outraged.
Harry

Don't know much about East Ham depot and that was because I had heard scare stories from other R/Os, so took care to avoid the place. Most Marconi depots in the 1960s had transport for delivering goods to ships. On the Tyne they had two big vans that were used for deliveries (even of stationery) to ships and shipyards. One worked the north side of the Tyne and the other did the south side. The two drivers, Bruce Henderson and Mattie (forget his surname), did all the fetch and carry and most of the organising of cranes to get goods on and off. As R/O on a visiting ship I never had to collect anything other than my pay and travel warrants. Even as a service technician working for Marconi ashore there I don't remember having to carry anything on or off a ship apart from my tools.

When I was on Elders & Fyffes ''Golfito'', at Avonmouth we used to arrive and pay off the ship on Sunday morning. The Marconi staff clerk, Mr Beasley, used to come into the office unpaid on Sunday to provide travel warrants and cash to the R/Os so that we could get away on leave, rather than have to wait until the office opened on Monday morning.

So there was good and bad in Marconi, as in all things and all organisations.

R651400
17th November 2008, 08:14
My posting 32 was not in any way intended as a radio company criticism. I've mentioned before one of my regrets is not going the radio company route before direct employ/freelance. Shipping companies obviously chose to have the radio company handle their affairs possibly for ease and convenience.
My point was had this not been the case shipping companies may have appreciated more the necessity for a communications/electronics factotum that would have kept the R/O alive.
In a past Ships Monthly regular feature a cruise captain I think of Balkan nationality was interviewed about his seagoing life. I recall he mentioned having a brother who was presently at sea as an Electronics Officer.
Anyone like to comment?

dje4816
29th November 2008, 17:05
I was d/e by CP Ships (Canadian Pacific) for a good part of 1975. This was on the JV Clyne (container) and the ID Sinclair (tanker). I was on the Discoverer in late 1974, and that may also have been CP. The JV Clyne had Redifon equipment, but I can't remember what was on the Sinclair.

Dave Ellis.