What was it like at the end?

Moulder
8th August 2008, 09:31
I swallowed the anchor in 1983 to work for the government. I've always wondered, though, what happened when the end came for 500KHz and the use of morse.

Were any of our members at sea at the time? What did you put as the final log entry before switching off the auto-alarm and other gear for the last time? Was there a feeling of nostalgia and sadness when you threw all the switches to off?

How long before you were then signed off articles?

There is a fair amount of coverage - DVDs and websites - when the end came for coast stations - but, what was it like onboard ship?

Steve.
(Thumb)

Shipbuilder
8th August 2008, 14:29
I left in late 1992 & R/Os remained for a few years after that, but I was by then thoroughly fed up with the whole affair (Went to sea May 1961). I felt that I was just an electronic dogsbody doing all these "extra" things in my off duty time, as on watch I was kept very busy by heavy MSG traffic on teleprinters (HF & satellite), e-mails, phone calls & faxes. The pay & leave was undoubtedly excellent, but the thing that gave me the incentive to leave was when the whole seastaff was made redundant, payed up & then offered jobs back at 30% pay cut - so I didn't go back!

At the end of that time, 500khz was virtuallly silent. On a number of occasions, I sent out CQs for TR's, but seldom got any response. Nevertheless, I used morse right to the end for communicating with St. Helena when we were out opf range of their HF telex & satellite was too expensive for private traffic. My very last communication at sea was morse to St. Helena (ZHH) just before we docked in Falmouth.

I couldn't even amuse myself sending OBS by morse because the bridge had their own satellite terminal by then & had to sent them themselves every four hours, I think. Joke of it was, although I was no longer involved in sending OBS, I continued to get the "prize book" every year - long service I suppose.

My final job as R/O was withdrawing & checking the speed log sensor from the bottom of the hold whilst in drydock.

When I signed off watch for the last time, I felt relieved more than anything. We were just coming into Falmouth & I took it onto the bridge to get the captain's last signature & I remember him saying "Is that it then?" (Don't think he believed me, we had sailed together since '79 & I replied "Yes, that's it!")

I left one dark morning at about 0730 and a handful of crew turned out to see me off. Walked along the quay dragging the same suitcase (on wheels) that I had taken to the old RHODESIA STAR in early 1961. Looked back at the ship in drydock & again felt relief that it was finally ended (Although most of the years were thoroughly enjoyable & satisfying).

On arrival home, we watched a film on TV (The Time Machine - appropriate!).
I was only 48, but from then until now (almost 65) I have managed very well self-employed using skills picked up at sea, mainly ship model building, light engineeering & writing - but still enjoy designing & building valve radios vintage style. Also carry out own repairs on domestic appliences such as TV, video, lawn mower etc etc. Got a cheque this morning for my latest article (160).

Learned everything of any importance & use at sea as R/O and I guess that may be the case for the rest of you.

When I look at the number of posts & diverse interests & jobs in this radio section & compare it to the others (deck - engine -galley) - I really believe that the "cinderella profession" of the Merchant Navy came out on top at the final "curtain call!"
Bob

Mimcoman
8th August 2008, 20:45
I was still at GND when the 500 kHz service finished. The GND part had actually finished some years previously as part of BT's "rationalisation", but GND was still keeping the 500 kHz watch using the equipment at GCC, GKR, GPK and GLD. On the last day (31 December 1997), there was an SOS at 0948z from the vessel Oak/C6MX8 which was received and handled in the first instance by R/O Bob Baker using the GLD equipment. R/O Alan Cunnison took over at 1300z and continued until Falmouth CG suspended broadcasts at 1733z, although the incident was still being monitored. The distress was then passed to EJK, following a DDD SOS broadcast to that effect at 2222z.

Bob Baker and Alan Cunnison were on their officially-last day of service at GND, thereafter becoming "redeployees" and no longer classed as Radio Officers. The remaining services provided (until the year 2000) were RT only.

Following 2300z (we had to close 500 kHz at 2400 BST = 2300z), as detailed in the video/DVD of the UK 500 kHz closure, the remaining UK stations made their final broadcasts and exchanged of signals with each other an other countries' radio stations.

At GND, the whole closure episode, including each station's final transmissions, were captured by a freelance programme maker, who made a programme about the end of the UK 500 kHz service which was later broadcast on Radio Scotland.

I have in my possession (for posterity) the final 500 kHz radio logbook at GND, with the details of the last UK SOS, and a copy of the GND/GCC final broadcast signed by all those R/Os present. (Each R/O sent one line of the last broadcast.) I have, also, the morse key used for the final SOS and closing broadcast at GND (when we represented GCC, which is why the final broadcast is from GCC/GND). The key is one of the Rugby keys mentioned elsewhere - not only GKA had them! We had the Ericcson keys as well, but the general preference was for the Rugby keys.

A sad day, but the sausage rolls were fine - and we ignored the BT rule and had a dram!

Baulkham Hills
2nd September 2008, 05:07
The end of being an R/O came for me in about 1994 on a Chevron ship, there was a dispensation from carrying an R/O some time previously and frankly there was very little use of radio, everything being sent by satcom. The R/O's job mostly consisted of paper work, port papers and wages, something that did not suit me very well. All the R/O's were asked what they wanted to do after the dispensation was acted upon, most wanted to be retrained on deck but I already had sailed as electrician and E.T.O. on various ships asked to go to the engine room and do sea time on a steam ship for my watch keeping certificate. I think I was the only volunteer for this.
A short while before the date a clerk joined the ship and it was down to me to show him the paperwork etc.
Came the day, I just finished and turned off all the equipment and the next day went down the engine room, I stayed in the same cabin, but it was the end of an era for me. The tools disappeared into the C/E's cabin never to be seen again.
After a few weeks the clerk was complaining he should have been on the same wages as the R/O. For some years previously GMDSS qualified mates used to boost about knowing all about radio and that we were all finished.
Sailing as an engineer if I was asked to look at radio equipment, I would say to them that they were now qualified and it was there responsibility.
If I did any work on the bridge it went down as overtime.
I sailed on various ships afterwards as an ETO and that carried an R/O,
one by one the r/o's paid off and not replaced. I had the task of removing all the equipment from the radio rooms. I admired the way the equipment was installed and secured compared to the GMDSS equipment. Of course the spare parts were very extensive compared to the 6 spare fuses on the GMDSS stations.
For some years previously there was very little CW traffic on the marine bands, so it sort of just died off as ships were equiped with satcoms. The ship I just left had two sat C's, 1 sat F, and one mini M satcom as well as the standard gmdss terrestial station.
I think the R/O's job lasted as long as it could with the advance of technology. We were up against the shipowners trying to cut costs, the governments wanting to close labour intensive and loss making coast stations and equipment makers looking to sell a lot of new equipment.
In my opinion the unions could not defeat this, for many years the 8 hour radio watch was sacred which meant not being able to spend enough time outside the radio room.
The best thing that happened to me was the reduction in watchkeeping to 4 hours on some ships, so that I was able to gain valuable experience in the engine room and cargo equipment and received a sea service certificate from the C/E which helped when I looked for a job as an E.T.O.

Cheers

Ron Stringer
2nd September 2008, 10:26
Of course the spare parts were very extensive compared to the 6 spare fuses on the GMDSS stations.

Until some time after 1974, the British Radio Rules specified a very detailed list of spare parts and tools that had to be carried within the radio station. The GPO radio surveyors and their BT successors were very keen to check that these spares and tools were on board prior to sailing and at every subsequent survey. Then the new Rules were introduced and, following heavy lobbying by the GCBS (General Chamber of British Shipping) and individual shipowners a new philosophy was adopted. It was no longer the government's prerogative to specify what spares and tools should be carried, merely to state that it was the shipowner's responsibility to ensure that sufficient tools, spare parts and material should be carried in order to ensure availability of the radio service. No more lists of spares and tools, no more checks to see they were available. The argument was that, if there should be a court case following an incident involving loss of life or injury, that could be shown to have arisen as a result of the non-availability of the radio service aboard a ship, then the shipowner would have to prove that he had made adequate provision under the Rules. Not the government's problem, purely a legal matter to be sorted by the shipowner. That legalistic approach carried through into GMDSS thinking when the system started to be developed in 1977.

... equipment makers looking to sell a lot of new equipment.

A market for new equipment was not really a serious factor. A complete, new, GMDSS-compliant radio station cost about 60% of a new, deep sea MF and HF W/T station. (For several years the opponents of GMDSS complained about increased equipments costs under the new system that was being developed, until IMO obtained cost details for the old and new stations and published them as an input document to one of their GMDSS meetings). That was possibly the point which caused most shipowning opponents (Greece, India, China etc) to change tack and become GMDSS supporters. On newbuildings, the shipowner made more by selling traditional radio stations than GMDSS stations. Existing ships were to be allowed at least a decade before having to replace/update their radio stations to be GMDSS-compliant which restricted the potential size of any 'refit' market.

Much of the 'new' equipment to be used in the GMDSS (satellite communications, radiotelex , VHFand even satnav) was already in use on many ships, being purchased and fitted aboard in addition to the mandatory W/T station, to meet commercial requirements. All the GMDSS did was to adopt it (with suitable adaptations where necessary) so that it could also be used in emergency for safety communications, not just for commercial purposes.

The accountants of the equipment manufacturers and radio companies such as Marconi would have been very happy if the status quo had been maintained, with ships having to carry full W/T stations plus all the new products, with a radio officer to look after it all. The unions' demand for such carriage requirements to be applied to all ships down to 300grt would really have made our day. No such fairy tales in commercial life though.

Baulkham Hills
3rd September 2008, 07:27
I was refering to all ships, not British ships in particular, as they were becoming a rarer sight during the 1990's. Conventional radio rooms had many spares no matter what the flag.

With GMDSS, part of the system is the maintenance contract which negates the need for spare parts being carried, this is common to all GMDSS stations, (even if the owners owns the equipment) if there is no maintenance contract then a maintainer must be carried, (a situation I have not come across and counter productive from the ship owners point of view).

Now as regards the equipment makers and GMDSS, during the 1990's there were many adverts in Fairplay and Safety at Sea lauding the virtues of the GMDSS system and of course their equipment. Refitting the world's fleet was very profitable for many companies, Sailor in particular took full advantage of this.
EPIRB SART's and Navtex predated the full introduction of GMDSS, but I am unaware of existing conventional equipment being upgraded to GMDSS, in my experience a completely new GMDSS compliant station was installed which made the existing station redundant. Of course if there was a Sat A or Sat B installed it may have been continued to be used but it was never part of the GMDSS system.

The scandanavian countries and Canada were exempting their ships from carrying an R/O well before the introduction of GMDSS and the chances of small ships carrying R/O's was zero.

Cheers

Ron Stringer
3rd September 2008, 15:15
I was refering to all ships, not British ships in particular[QUOTE=Baulkham Hills;243637]

I am not knowledgeable about the carriage requirements on ships of flags other than those flying 'the red duster', so confined my comments to what I know about.

[QUOTE=Baulkham Hills;243637]With GMDSS, part of the system is the maintenance contract which negates the need for spare parts being carried, this is common to all GMDSS stations, (even if the owners owns the equipment) if there is no maintenance contract then a maintainer must be carried, (a situation I have not come across and counter productive from the ship owners point of view)..

Very nice in theory. In practice, however, from the instigation of the GMDSS the maintenance requirement has been purely an abstract affair. There only has to be an agreement between the shipowner and some other organisation which undertakes to carry out 'maintenance' of the radio equipment. There are no standards of maintenance, no requirements that the contracted company has any of the knowledge, skills, test equipment or repair facilities or supply of spare parts/material required to perform the agreed 'maintenance'. The contracted organisation need not be present or represented in any of the ports where the vessel visits. You, or I, can undertake such a contract to provide 'maintenance' to any shipowner. Most reputable shipowners opt to duplicate the essential GMDSS equipment and so avoid the need for a maintainer (onboard or ashore). Others don't, but as there is no means of checking on the suitability of the provider 'maintenance' contract, and there are no agreed standards for the services to be provided, they suffer no penalty.

Now as regards the equipment makers and GMDSS, during the 1990's there were many adverts in Fairplay and Safety at Sea lauding the virtues of the GMDSS system and of course their equipment. Refitting the world's fleet was very profitable for many companies, Sailor in particular took full advantage of this.

But radio manufacturers and radio companies advertised their wares long before the advent of GMDSS. If you are making a product, advertising is the normal way to bring it to the attention of potential customers. When the regulations were changed to require new types of equipment, the makers and suppliers naturally changed their advertising from W/T stations to GMDSS stations. SP Radio and other companies that did not make high-power W/T stations but had concentrated mainly on R/T stations, found it relatively simple to switch to making GMDSS stations and so were able to take advantage of the changed market. They could now also compete on newbuildings of large ships, rather than just trawlers and coasters as formerly. So they profited at the expense of older, more traditional deep-sea radio suppliers. But for each such company that benefited from the changes, there was at least one of the older, less flexible organisations that left the business. It is a myth that a vast new radio equipment market was created by GMDSS. Since the average GMDSS radio fit was so much cheaper than the previous arrangements, I believe that the overall annual market size was no larger than before, probably slightly smaller. Since most companies selling equipment do not separate revenue earned by sales of non-GMDSS products from that earned from GMDSS equipment, it is not possible to be specific. One large satcom equipment can sell for the same price as a whole suite of GMDSS kit, significantly distorting the figures.

EPIRB SART's and Navtex predated the full introduction of GMDSS, but I am unaware of existing conventional equipment being upgraded to GMDSS,

Since the new IMO carriage requirements were known by the early 1980s and the GMDSS did not become fully mandatory until 1996, there was plenty of time for manufacturers to produce kit that met both requirements. That is what Marconi sold to newbuildings from about 1984/5. Owners of existing vessels had the option of waiting until 1996 and adding just the essential new components (as they were phased in), or being an 'early adopter' and replacing the lot. This latter approach offered substantial savings to the owner of ships with a fairly long foreseeable life, since a new GMDSS station involved a one-off cost of around GBP 24,000 whilst the annual cost of supplying an R/O for the ship was at least GBP 40,000, depending on nationality. Something of a no-brainer. For older ships, they mostly chose the former option, delaying any action in case the ship went to scrap before the new requirements became mandatory.

Baulkham Hills
5th September 2008, 08:40
The maintenance agreement is part of the GMDSS system, if it's effective
or not is the question for another time, it's the system we sail with.

Radio manufacturers were represented on the FGMDSS committee as CRM and certainly had an input. The transition time was largely dictated by them for the obvious reasons of manufacture and supply.

I am surprised Ron considers the replacement of radio equipment on the world's fleet as not a consideration. It's a point of view but not one I agree with. Though it might have been the attitude of traditional radio companies who took their markets for granted and suffered the consequences.

It's an interesting subject from an historical point of view,
but the days of the R/O was numbered it was only the timing that was in question.

Cheers

Ron Stringer
5th September 2008, 12:59
Radio manufacturers were represented on the FGMDSS committee as CRM and certainly had an input. The transition time was largely dictated by them for the obvious reasons of manufacture and supply.

Your first sentence is right, I attended all of the very many FGMDSS and GMDSS meetings as a CIRM representative, which is why I know so much about it. Regrettably (for the radio suppliers) the latter statement is very wide of the mark. We had all the necessary products available and ready to go almost a decade before they were in demand by the shipowners and the GMDSS transition requirements. The shipowners and especially those of the many nations where the cost of an R/O was not a significant factor in the running of their fleets (USSR and their satellite countries, China, India and a lot of other less developed countries) fought tooth and nail to delay the introduction of GMDSS. They did not worry about the cost of their R/Os and wanted to wait long enough for their own electronics industries to catch up. Since their number was greater than the total of those few Western European countries plus the USA (don't forget that each country has only one vote at IMO regardless of how many ships sail under its flag - or even of they have no ships at all), they were very successful, moving the proposed full implementation date from 1987 to its actual date of 1996. Almost the lifetime of a ship these days.

I am surprised Ron considers the replacement of radio equipment on the world's fleet as not a consideration. It's a point of view but not one I agree with. Though it might have been the attitude of traditional radio companies who took their markets for granted and suffered the consequences.

In response to that, you should appreciate that the GMDSS affected a total of some 45,000 ships world-wide. Over the 10 years that separated the adoption of the equipment specifications and the implementation, that is an average of only 4,500 installations a year. Not much different than occurred before (and since) GMDSS came about. The 'churn' of shipping, new ships being built and old ships being scrapped or lost, is only slightly higher than 10% per year. So there was no massive 'jump' in market size and no shipowner had to wait in a delivery queue to get their equipment, it was on the shelves waiting for reluctant purchasers. The only matter of concern to manufacturers was IMO's original plan that called for a 2-year introduction and implementation period. To produce 45,000 stations in 2 years would have caused a surge requiring investment in new factory space that would have no further use, once all ships were fitted, since the implementation date would have been followed by a 'drought' of orders. For the next 10/20 years, only newbuildings would have needed GMDSS equipment. To some extent that is what happened after 1996 and why today the number of suppliers is much reduced.

It's an interesting subject from an historical point of view, but the days of the R/O was numbered it was only the timing that was in question.

That is very true. When I started work at Marconi's Chelmsford HQ in 1967, I started a somewhat heated discussion with my then boss, George Gardiner, by claiming that developments in the comms world meant that the R/O would be gone from ships by 1980. He, with vastly more wisdom and experience of the world of marine telecoms and shipowners than I, told me I was talking through my rear end. In the shipping world, people were so resistant to change and the vested interests were so great that it would take 40 or 50 years to come about. We were both wrong, but George's prediction was much nearer the eventual truth than mine. Regards

Baulkham Hills
6th September 2008, 08:45
Hi there,

Since Ron was on the committee on fgmdss, I accept his view.
As regards the market for GMDSS equipment, from my experience GMDSS was fitted to a number of ships which were destined to be scrapped before full implementation of the system. I can't say how wide spread this was.
The chance to remove an expensive body (from the owners point of view)
for a comparatively low capital cost was very tempting.
So in the life of a ship in these instances and ships with conventional equipment that were not scrapped and continued trading there was two complete fittings in the life of a ship which must have been reflected in the bottom line of the manufacturers somewhere.
Incidentally I never knew there was a myth about this, it was my observations on the gmdss installations I seen on the ships I sailed on. It's nice to know I am not alone in my opinion.

Rgds

Troppo
19th February 2010, 11:02
I signed off my last ship Kelvin/VNGH in 1991.

By this stage, 500 was dead as a dodo.

All our traffic went by SITOR anyway.

Graham P Powell
20th February 2010, 12:25
When I started at GKA in 1975 the boss, Don Mulholland, had us in his office and told us that morse was on the way out. I can remember a meeting we went to with another boss Ernie Croskell who more or less told us to find other jobs. That would be in the early 80's. It still kept going finally finishing for me in 1996. GKA shutting in 1998.
One thing I do remember just before I left is started work one day at 1pm
and being allocated a rx and tx to work a distress. This was a ship called the Christinaki. This poor vessel had hatches stove in and taking on water. I seem to remember she 300 miles SW of Ireland. The initial call was received by GLD but she was out of their range and was working us on 4mhz. All I was doing was passing on messages from Falmouth CG. Then I called her and got no reply . Repeated calls no answer. Tuned down to the Nimrod aircraft frequency which had been called out and could here them reporting bodies in the water. Ship went down with all hands but once again 500khz and played a vital part in trying to save lives. It must have been one of the last major distresses on there. By the way the R/O who was I believe Filippino was excellent. Very sad and I still think about it even now.

roythwa
7th February 2011, 16:27
Well so much for going on I had warnings when sailing with AWA in the 1960's as they changed the loading habits firstly with the coal turnarounds. Not much shore leave for a married bloke. Off I went into an electronics job ashore, bit sad really but I had sailed around the world as a youngster. Later I rang up and found AWA in the process of changing to the new no radio officer system I was assured that retraining was available in Mebourne so many miles....so that was it. Now I have left work I typed in the name of my best ship and ships nostalgia gave me an emotional ride I have found an old shipmate and lots of news.

Thanks to all

Do it again sure

Roy Thwaites

david.hopcroft
7th February 2011, 20:25
I was at a Coast Station 'at the end' of WT on 500. Well, nearly. It went from my station, and was remotely controlled from others. This process carried on for a few more years until only two were left controlling the UK 500 watch. The same was also true of the RT 2182 watch and QRJ traffic. The area covered stayed the same, the gear was still at the same places, but the people 'doing' it grew less and less. Finally a couple of years after I had 'taken my money and ran' I did go back in and together with one other colleague, I did actually switch off the whole lot. Quite a moving experience.

This all started happening a little over 20 years ago. Tonight on my local BBC news was a piece about reducing the local area Coastguard watch to day time only and controlling the rest from two super stations - Aberdeen and Lee on Solent I believe.

It was called DOC then - Distributed Operator Control.

So.......................... HAVE WE HEARD ALL THIS BEFORE THEN ??

David
+

Troppo
12th February 2011, 01:14
One thing that has really fascinated me is the complete decline in coast station standards in many parts of the world.

In the UK, for example, professional BT coast stations, with big vertical antennas and 1 kW tx'ers were replaced by 400w Skantis (lovely radios, but ship equipment, when it is said and done), operating into small whip antennas on the coastguard building....

In Australia, Telstra coast stations (VIS, VIM, et al) with similar antennas and tx'ers were replaced by 100w radios, operating into 20' whips....

BobDixon
12th February 2011, 22:04
That's exactly what I thought Dave, when I first heard of these plans. BT made the system work but I wonder if the powers behind the CG will put in the necessary systems to ensure its resiliance?

The list message which follows your's, points to the reduced technical standards provided in the CG system (and, by the way, the UK also had 4kW tx's at GKR and GLD while all stations had good earth mat ground systems). From all I've heard about the current CG system there seems to be occasions of significant outage at some stations. You can hide outage situations when there are plenty of flank stations but it will be much more difficult with only a handful of manned stations.


I was at a Coast Station 'at the end' of WT on 500. Well, nearly. It went from my station, and was remotely controlled from others. This process carried on for a few more years until only two were left controlling the UK 500 watch. The same was also true of the RT 2182 watch and QRJ traffic. The area covered stayed the same, the gear was still at the same places, but the people 'doing' it grew less and less. Finally a couple of years after I had 'taken my money and ran' I did go back in and together with one other colleague, I did actually switch off the whole lot. Quite a moving experience.

This all started happening a little over 20 years ago. Tonight on my local BBC news was a piece about reducing the local area Coastguard watch to day time only and controlling the rest from two super stations - Aberdeen and Lee on Solent I believe.

It was called DOC then - Distributed Operator Control.

So.......................... HAVE WE HEARD ALL THIS BEFORE THEN ??

David
+

ernhelenbarrett
13th February 2011, 06:07
Did my last trip as R/O on the M/T Seakap/VNNM only cos the Sat :A: went on the blink and BHP wanted it fixed but had to break out the "steam radio" till I fixed it on the voyage up as far as Dalian in North China, was working 500Kcs with the Japanese/Korean/Chinese Coast stations then but when we got back to Newcastle NSW, AWA told me it was my last trip and I signed off the Seakap on 17th Feb 1992, sent my last TR to VIS on 500Kcs even tho the Sat "A" was working then, I believe some Chinese CRS still use CW on M/F but am not sure.
Ern Barrett

david.hopcroft
14th February 2011, 20:23
I quite agree with what Bob says. A typical example occurred during the trialling of GMDSS. At GKZ we used our H1000 1kw Tx running in to a perfectly matched mast radiator. The trials went very well indeed with very good results. The outcome ? - it was installed at CG stations running lower power Tx's into whip aerials.............

C'est la vie as they say.

David
+

Klaatu83
14th February 2011, 21:25
I recall sailing with a very senior MREO (Master Radio Electronics Officer) who retired about the time GMDSS came in (1999). He used to complain about how, for the past few years, he had been doing more and more electronics and computer maintenance, and less and less radio work. I remember him declaring with disgust, "the reason I got into this business in the first place was because I was interested in radio, not @%#&* computers!"

david.hopcroft
21st February 2011, 20:10
Digressing a little, the BBC Local News here this evening covered the reduction of HMCG Bridlington to a day watch. The MCGA 'Regional Director' - no uniform in sight - was featured prior to a public meeting at Brid. He quite clearly said that the TECHNOLOGY WAS NOT NEW. IT WAS ALREADY PROVEN AND HAS BEEN DEVELOPED FURTHER.

So there you go..........We have been there before haven't we Bob & Mimcoman ??

David
+

goan2
15th March 2011, 13:51
Take heart gents, the Shipping Corpn. of India, Mumbai. still employs Radio Officers on their ships ( yes, with the R/O rank) though the job is now reduced to sending out e-mails and attending to purser's and ch. steward's jobs. But officially one is still an R/O. They will do this till the old crop of R/Os reach retirement age.
Some consolation, that!

trotterdotpom
15th March 2011, 14:38
Thanks Goan2. It's heartening to know that we've become an icon - like the Morris Oxford. I wonder if they can stick us back together in Grant Road?

John T.

Mimcoman
12th April 2011, 00:32
Digressing a little, the BBC Local News here this evening covered the reduction of HMCG Bridlington to a day watch. The MCGA 'Regional Director' - no uniform in sight - was featured prior to a public meeting at Brid. He quite clearly said that the TECHNOLOGY WAS NOT NEW. IT WAS ALREADY PROVEN AND HAS BEEN DEVELOPED FURTHER.

So there you go..........We have been there before haven't we Bob & Mimcoman ??

David
+

Hi, Dave:

Been off this site for some time, for various age-related reasons. When MCA management put forward the new improved HMCG format, I had to go and look to make sure that no-one had stolen from the old Distributed Operational Control manuals from Barts Close!

Rgds/Bill

Naytikos
14th April 2011, 05:30
I was NOT there at 'the end', but came ashore in 1982 having, by then, partially migrated to the bridge. The discussion of FGMDSS/GMDSS raises some questions in my mind; I do, however rationalise these by reminding myself that my experience was overwhelmingly with non-UK/Commonwealth companies/flags.

The tenor of the comments turns around the Distress & Safety aspects of the equipment and it's operation before and after implementation of the new system. My thoughts are more in line with the approach of the owners on whose ships I sailed: their consideration of communication equipment and/or systems was predominantly operational. Voyage orders/stores/spares/repairs and maintenance were definite priorities and, in my experience, whatever equipment could best serve these requirements was what was installed. Obviously the prevailing technology was such that by ensuring these aims were met, the distress and safety requirements of SOLAS were also covered.

The problem of FGMDSS/GMDSS from this perspective is that an owner is forced to install purpose-built equipment which cannot easily be made to pay for itself by also being used for commercial communications. In the instance of HF/MF GMDSS equipment, it cannot even be expected to reliably perform the intended purpose anyway.

An owner is therefore forced to purchase one or more satellite systems. I bought Inmarsat shares right after making the decision to stay ashore for this very reason!