Freelance

R651400
9th November 2008, 04:48
In the fifties and sixties almost any foc Greek shipowner would employ freelance R/O's. There were a few exceptions, I never came across anyone who sailed the Greek liners. Scandinavian flags were popular also Vlasov, Saguenay Terminals, Universe Tankships, NBC to name a few.
Any of our members ex freelance?

offshore eddie
9th November 2008, 11:15
I went freelance late 60's and sailed with Zim Line of Israel, Star shipping which crewed a lot of canadian pacific ships. I varied jobs between ore carriers, tramps and tankers over the years and had a thoroughly good time.
Gave it all up eventually to go offshore mid 70's. Looking back it was a wonderful time while freelance and guess we'll never see the likes again.

R651400
9th November 2008, 11:57
Should have remembered Zim/4X who had a small gas tanker on the Brazilian coast, Galgas/5MAA, when I was on charter with Niarchos to Frota.

Baulkham Hills
14th November 2008, 13:59
I did my share of freelancing during the 1970's and 1980's. Firstly on Hong Kong ships and eventually with the Greeks, under the flag of Cyprus.
Eventually one ship I was on was arrested in France by the bank. I, being the only member of a union, called in the ITF because we were not being paid and after 6 weeks, we all got settled up and flew home. It was an experience, I was offered another job with the same company but I had enough, I applied to National Bulk Carriers in Rotterdam and it was the first and only time I was approached to bribe for a job. A practice which is still very common for the crews in India and Pakistan. Needless to say I was not offered a job.
All the R/O's I knew then,went freelancing at one time or another.

BobClay
14th November 2008, 14:43
Freelanced in 1974 via the REOU office. Ended up on a liberian flagged Burmah tanker, (still got the liberian ticket somewhere). The money was very good and the company I was freelanced to was ITT ! hardly a fly by night outfit. Even so I had some trouble getting relieved, and then a lot of trouble getting backpay they owed me. Fortunately the union were very good and sorted it all out.

R651400
15th November 2008, 07:57
The ROU as it was in my time was one source of finding free lance employment.
The ROU mag "Signal" had a list of ROU reps including free lance, Norman Yarrow who was firstly with Onassis and then Niarchos.
When with Blue Flue I built up a dossier of free lance companies and in another forum mentioned I was lucky to end up with Niarchos in 1960. The best payers from memory were Universe Tankships/National Bulk Carriers and among the many greeks Onassis who was a hard nut to crack with offices and business run from Monte Carlo.

Ivor Lloyd
15th November 2008, 08:23
I did a spell as freelance R/O with Jebsens (Norway)
Obtained the post through the ROU

Ivor

Baulkham Hills
15th November 2008, 11:16
The REOU office in Hull mused to do the freelance, from memory Hull had its own telephone company and it could be quite difficult to phone from abroad.
There was a lady in the office who was quite cranky if not handled in the correct manner, I got a greek ship from that source. Also MTM ship mexican flag Ro-ro, which was a really nice job on the west coast of South America with mexican crew and a few europeans.
There were some good freelance companies about, though they were usually semi permanent for example Tradex and Metrofin in Switzerland, Sanko and Uiterwyk in Rotterdam. Alcan used to run some bulkers in the West Indies and I heard they were ok as well.
Most freelance jobs were by word of mouth in my experience. The pay was certainly better and the life onboard could be good. No 2 hours on and 2 hours off.

R651400
15th November 2008, 11:25
Liberian flag in 1960, HX as opposed to H8 meant no 2 hours on and 2 hours off and no compulsory logbook entry every 10 or was it 5 minutes?
Apart from direct traffic I did feel obliged, though not duty-bound, to enter SPO.

trotterdotpom
15th November 2008, 12:14
I did a few freelance jobs on British ships in the early '70s when there was a big shortage of ROs. The pay was a high daily rate but there was no leave or any other benefits. Eventually the business was scuttled due to sour grapes by the MNOAA - they had it in their heads that ROs were earning more than a Mate but were ignoring the fact that the daily rate was the whole package.

John T.

Baulkham Hills
16th November 2008, 12:15
I never did understand the reason for the two on/two off, probably a very good reason at one time but when I went to sea it just made for poor time management and extra hours like the O/M walking in with an urgent message just when it was time to knock off , to say nothing of the social life, for example staring at 9am and finishing at 11pm, and the change over from 0800gmt to 0400gmt just east of Capetown. When I sailed again on British ships in the late eighties it was just 4 hours radio watch. Freelance was still 8 hours but pick your own time to suit the situation. I used to maintain a log but I don't thing it ever left the ships.
I seem to remember reading about the mates kicking up about the R/O daily rate and refusing to sail, sounds pretty mean because never heard any objections when the R/O was the lowest paid onboard.

CrazySparks
16th November 2008, 13:42
I had the pleasure of sailing on Italian vessels Almare Prima and Prima Rosa for David Dean'sOcean Marine Services. Also did stints with UASC, Dutch vessel PCLJ / Alhena, The NAndu Arrow (registered god knows where), and the 'Snow Boats' with Salen Shipping. I guess my whole time was freelance!
ANyone know where Dave is these days?

Gareth Jones
16th November 2008, 19:31
I did 16 years freelance in the 60's and 70's - always on Greek owned ships - sometimes FOC and sometimes under the Greek flag. The Greeks rated R/O's same as CH. Officers. No incremental pay scale - straight to the top which in my day was roughly the same as a British R/O would get after 20 years service. Also no big deductions apart from a tiny compulsory payment to the Greek seamens union.

I was always treated with the same respect as was shown to the Ch. off and 2nd Eng. by all onboard.

I worked for large company's (Niarchos), and small one ship companies and never had any problems getting paid.

I signed a 12 month contract for my first ship and indeed found it hard and a bit lonely to begin with, but I was determined to see it out. By the time I finished that contract I'd got used to the conditions and made friends onboard and it was all very much easier.

Although I must confess, occasionally on shore leave I might meet up with some British Seamen, and, enjoying their company would feel a twinge of unhappiness at being a sole Briton on my ship. But you pays your money and takes your choice - I was on top dollar!.

I stayed on one ship for 3 years, they sent me home while she was in drydock/annual repairs at Piraeus and kept me on full pay ! When I rejoined the whole old crew had come back. So you can see how happy a ship she was.

Anybody remember Silver Marine Services Liverpool ? It was an employment agency for freelance R/O's.

Dave McGouldrick
10th January 2009, 01:09
I got a couple of jobs through Silver Marine in early/Mid 70s, one of which was with Lemos Maritime (the "small Lemos"), and more than 15 years later met up again with the owner Costas Lemos when I was working on ss Rotterdam and he was a passenger, and being the gentlemen he was (although an absolute bandit busines wise), he kindly got me very drunk on his account in the Ocean Bar.

I went freelance after 3 years in the UK fleet when I discovered that the peggy after his overtime earned a few shillings more than me......

Anybody around who worked for Sanko? I did 5 years or so with them.
Europride , Asia Alliance , Eternal Light, Manahttan Baron. Palmstar Cherry etc.

holland25
10th January 2009, 03:24
In 1967 I was looking to return to sea. I went to the Shipping Federation in Liverpool, who gave me the address of an agency in Liverpool. I cant remember the name of it. It seemed to be run by a fierce lady, I never met her, since all the business was conducted by phone. I was offered a job on the "Theofilis J Vatis", it was a tanker running between Rotterdam and Haifa. I got cold feet and reneged, upon which I was informed I would never get another job at sea. She must have had second thoughts because about 18 months later, she offered me a job on a Hong Kong based tramp. Luckily I had managed to join the RFA, which provided me with some pretty good training.

Gareth Jones
11th January 2009, 04:27
In 1967 I was looking to return to sea. I went to the Shipping Federation in Liverpool, who gave me the address of an agency in Liverpool. I cant remember the name of it. It seemed to be run by a fierce lady, I never met her, since all the business was conducted by phone. I was offered a job on the "Theofilis J Vatis", it was a tanker running between Rotterdam and Haifa. I got cold feet and reneged, upon which I was informed I would never get another job at sea. She must have had second thoughts because about 18 months later, she offered me a job on a Hong Kong based tramp. Luckily I had managed to join the RFA, which provided me with some pretty good training.

Thats Silver marine services, she was indeed fierce, and easily upset- she chain smoked and had yellow teeth - I got my first freelance ship through her - I completed my contract ok - and when I was ready to go back she would have nothing to do with me - ignored letters and never available on the phone or returned any calls - I don't know what I did but she was certainly pizzed off with me ! but by then I had learned the ropes and had a few addresses and did it on my own from there on.

hawkey01
11th January 2009, 14:00
Holland25,

there is a photo of the Theofilos J Vatis in my gallery. She was a very good looking ship.

Hawkey01

holland25
11th January 2009, 20:31
Thanks for that, I have often wondered what she looked like.Certainly much newer than the OWS Weather Reporter, which is what I eventually began my second stint of seagoing on.

I suppose Silver Marine also supplied other specialisations as well as R/Os, and from your experience, Gareth, not nice people to deal with. In my case she was justified in giving me a bad time. However from my personal viewpoint, the path I took of working for the MOD (Air) WX ships, and MOD (Navy) RFA, improved my later career prospects substantially, and kept my marriage intact.

Baulkham Hills
14th January 2009, 19:48
Hi there,

Miss Silver, the only dealings I had with her was after a few years working ashore I wanted to go back to sea, I must have filled out a C.V. and sent it to her. I remember phoning here to up to check if there was anything going, she said there was a new built and there was a vacancy for an R/O, she asked me to stand by while she looked up my C.V. then came back and said a nice 20 year old ship would suit me better. Gee thanks!
I never contacted her again and found my own jobs direct. She was probably the first of the agencies and I have met some mates and engineers who worked through her in the seventies and later. Some one told me she worked previously for the shipping federation and that was how she had the contacts.
I did work for an agency later and I discovered nothing had been paid into my bank for months, the ship I sailed on was Hong Kong registered and was due for a change of articles in Hong Kong. I demanded cash on signing off articles, which really embarrassed the shipowner, they took care of the back pay and I worked directly for them after that.

R651400
15th January 2009, 11:38
I was employed through Marchessini's London office by a gentleman called L E Pockett who looked after me extremely well. When I left he suggested I start an agency for free lance R/O's. I never did but wonder what the outcome would have been had I done so. When I was at GND he contacted me to see if I was interested in rejoining my old ship Eurylochus/SWBF. My wife of one year politely refused!

Bill Davies
25th January 2009, 15:12
I did 16 years freelance in the 60's and 70's - always on Greek owned ships - sometimes FOC and sometimes under the Greek flag. The Greeks rated R/O's same as CH. Officers. No incremental pay scale - straight to the top which in my day was roughly the same as a British R/O would get after 20 years service. Also no big deductions apart from a tiny compulsory payment to the Greek seamens union.

I was always treated with the same respect as was shown to the Ch. off and 2nd Eng. by all onboard.

I worked for large company's (Niarchos), and small one ship companies and never had any problems getting paid.

I signed a 12 month contract for my first ship and indeed found it hard and a bit lonely to begin with, but I was determined to see it out. By the time I finished that contract I'd got used to the conditions and made friends onboard and it was all very much easier.

Although I must confess, occasionally on shore leave I might meet up with some British Seamen, and, enjoying their company would feel a twinge of unhappiness at being a sole Briton on my ship. But you pays your money and takes your choice - I was on top dollar!.

I stayed on one ship for 3 years, they sent me home while she was in drydock/annual repairs at Piraeus and kept me on full pay ! When I rejoined the whole old crew had come back. So you can see how happy a ship she was.

Anybody remember Silver Marine Services Liverpool ? It was an employment agency for freelance R/O's.


It was an agency for all ranks (excluding ratings) and not just for Sparkies

Naytikos
2nd February 2009, 06:36
Have to agree with the general sentiment of the foregoing posts, particularly Gareth's re Niarchos; however I never dealt with any agency or the ROU.
I pulled a few names out of Lloyd's list, sent off CVs and the phone began ringing the next day. Had two greek and one norwegian company begging me to drop everything and head for Heathrow (was living in UK at the time). I plumped for Niarchos, mainly because they had a posh address in Mayfair and, without an interview they sent me off on a MIMCo course on the Crusader for two weeks, then to Japan via Athens, for a new-building bulk-carrier. Equal salary to the Mate and 2/E as has been said already, and great respect from the company officials. After 15 months my wife joined and we never looked back; made good contacts and moved on to even better things.
My only regret is, it took 18 months and six British ships (including a trawler) before I saw the light!

Bill Davies
2nd February 2009, 08:44
Equal salary to the Mate and 2/E as has been said already, and great respect from the company officials. After 15 months my wife joined and we never looked back; made good contacts and moved on to even better things.
My only regret is, it took 18 months and six British ships (including a trawler) before I saw the light!

Equal pay in the companies you sailed in maybe???? and I would concede that some of the Greeks did overpay the Sparks.
However, in all my time FOC the Sparks was parity with the Second Mate.

R651400
2nd February 2009, 08:55
As an earlier foc and Greek Flag R/O than in #22, my pay was on par with the Mate. Only the C/E and Captain were paid more. This was the norm with all Greek freelance employers in the '60s, that's why we sailed with them.

trotterdotpom
2nd February 2009, 12:22
As an earlier foc and Greek Flag R/O than in #22, my pay was on par with the Mate. Only the C/E and Captain were paid more. This was the norm with all Greek freelance employers in the '60s, that's why we sailed with them.

Wish I'd known that when I was spending hours on end relaying messages to SVA and elsewhere!

John T.

R651400
2nd February 2009, 12:30
Never had any problems with SVA worldwide t.p. Are you talking QSP from a British reg to SVA? Maybe insisting on RM would've lessened your burden!

trotterdotpom
2nd February 2009, 13:51
I'm talking QSP from British and others in response to "RQ QSP SVA". I did it as a brotherly gesture towards ships claiming to have broken down transmitters and I did it a LOT.

John T.

R651400
2nd February 2009, 16:58
My guess as a brotherly gesture you mean "philhellene" in the shape of a Greek RO chancing his arm?
Freelance I never had the necessity to ask anyone to QSP but I did with Glen Line, London/Far East/London MF only as were all Blue Flue Sam boats.

Naytikos
3rd February 2009, 07:16
I agree with the last post, never needed to rq QSP, although Niarchos had an excellent company sked so there would always be an 'LNR' ship well-positioned to assist if necessary. In fact some R/Os, when at anchor in Elefsis Bay awaiting a berth in Niarchos' own yard at Skaramanga, would announce their QTH on the sked and take traffic from the rest of the fleet, then QSP it on MF!
In my own experience, and as observed when visiting other ships, most 'foreign' companies provided Txs with a decent power output; no Oceanspans!

trotterdotpom
3rd February 2009, 12:03
Really? We must have sailed in different oceans! Didn't you ever here SVVV de xxxx QSP xxx?

John T.

Ron Stringer
3rd February 2009, 12:54
Really? We must have sailed in different oceans! Didn't you ever here SVVV de xxxx QSP xxx?

John T.

All the time, all the time.

R651400
3rd February 2009, 16:05
SVVV is the collective call for all Greek flag ships who normally carry Greek R/O's.
Never had reason to send SVVV or answer to same though I have to say the GTZM bleat could be heard at least once on each 2 hr watch period after passing Suez for the Far East.

K urgess
3rd February 2009, 17:23
I can't remember ever sending GTZM for any reason on 500.

Did a few QSPs but normally for Norwegians to Rogaland Radio (LGx). I've still got copies somewhere. For some reason there were a few small Norwegian ships knocking around South America without H/F W/T.

RO Vintage
5th February 2009, 17:13
Spent Over 25 years With Marconi Until The Bad Times Came. Went Freelance
With Indo China Steamship In The 1980s, It was Do The "Leckies" Job Also
And If You Did Not Like That It Was Pay Off Time.

Ended My Days With Blue Star , Flaged Out "Southland Star" And "Napier Star
Good Pay And Conditions. Ashore Now On Small MNOPF Pension. Where Did It
All Go Wrong?

George S.

Ron Stringer
5th February 2009, 19:09
When I was at sea in the early 1960s there were still a lot of ships sailing deepsea without HF transmitters. Fortunately I never sailed on one. I did QSP a few messages for people that called me up, having heard me working, but really it was not all that common to be asked to do so. I never heard anyone call GTZM on 500kHz requesting QSP, it was mainly CQ that was called. However I did hear a lot of ships calling SVVV asking for QSP SVA, the only national/group callsign I ever heard called for this purpose.

Naytikos
7th February 2009, 07:32
My first ship 'on my tod' was Shelldrake, 1600 GRT from London to Italy with a Reliance as main Tx, so no HF. Never asked anyone for QSP because there were never any QTCs to send or receive. For the whole round trip I actually passed more traffic on the aldis lamp (with Lloyds Gib., and Genova harbour-master) than on the radio!

R651400
8th February 2009, 08:09
I never heard anyone call GTZM on 500kHz requesting QSPI didn't say the GTZM calls were requesting QSP.
It was generally followed by RQ and a reference to GTZM business.
A regular GTZM on one BF voyage across the Indian Ocean must have been the world's worst time-keeper always with RQ for the area tfc list.

BobClay
15th February 2009, 14:18
Were any of you who freelanced required to get a Liberian Ticket?

When I freelanced in 1974 on a Liberian registered tanker, I was told I had to have one. Fortunately the company did all the necessary paperwork, and paid the $20 (I think) and it came in the post. Only lasts 5 years though, so presumably you have to cough up for another one after that time.

Got to be easier than all that sweating in college .....(?HUH)

Have attached a scan of it.

jimg0nxx
15th February 2009, 14:43
Although not freelancing, I was required to obtain a Liberian Ticket in 1973. I was still working for Marconi and they did all the arranging. Had to make a declaration in front of a Notary. A photo copy of my British Ticket was sent with the application to the Liberian Autorities in I think New York. The ship was Danish owned but under the Liberian flag.

Jim

BobClay
15th February 2009, 15:00
Yeah Jim I've been thinking about this. I joined the ship in Curacao, and had been told it had a different name and was under the british flag. But the name and flag had changed in that port. I signed on anyway (a ship is a ship) and was told a month or so into the trip that I would require the ticket. They bought on a photographer somewhere, and he took pictures of all of us. Then I was told I would have to send my ticket off (it was a PMG2 at the time) and I refused to allow that, so they got it photo-copied (in Capetown I think). I don't remember having to make any statement to anybody, but by then I'd been on the ship a while anyway.

It seemed a bit Mickey Mouse to me .... but that just might be perspective.

(?HUH)

jimg0nxx
15th February 2009, 15:17
Hi Bob,
I also did not have the Liberian Ticket when I signed on in Rotterdam, it arrived by post some time later. I do not remember what the declaration was, probablly just swearing as to who I actually was. The Notary's office was only round the corner from Marconi's East Ham Depot and I remember the charge was 50p, and took about 20 seconds to do.

Jim

trotterdotpom
16th February 2009, 01:48
I had to get a Liberian Licence and applied at the Liberian Consulate in Antwerp - had to produce my UK ticket for it to be verified.

The shipping company (Oldendorff) paid the fee and the ticket, issued in New York, arrived some time later. All the ships' officers licences were supposed to be displayed on a notice board in a public place on the ship, but I don't recall them doing that.

The licence was very similar to Bob's but it was first class and had better photo.

John T.

R651400
16th February 2009, 08:43
I let Niarchos handle the paper-work and handed over my ticket with a bit of reluctance.
It was done by the Liberian Maritime Commissioner in New York and cost $10.
I signed Liberian articles something like a month at sea and all I remember specifically I was forbidden to carry any dangerous weapon such as a knife.

BobClay
16th February 2009, 10:56
had better photo.

That was before I entered my 'Brad Pitt' look ......


(Gleam)

Naytikos
20th February 2009, 07:13
On one of my Niarchos ships a new messman, straight from the farm, joined and was observed to spend a long time staring at the large frame containing all of the officers' Liberian licences on the wall in the alley outside the Capt's cabin. After a few days of this the Capt. got the Chief Steward to ask him why he was so fascinated:
"So many wanted people"!