Tanker/Bulker Apprentices/Cadets

15th January 2009, 12:27
Did any of you who sailed as Apprentices/Cadets on tankers or bulk carriers feel disadvantaged during their Mate's Exams compared with those who sailed on general cargo ships? For example, in cargo handling techniques etc. Or was your specific experience taken into account?

Bill Davies
16th January 2009, 08:20
I have to say at the outset that I was never an apprentice/cadet or middy but all the same in a position to answer your question. What happened in the exam/orals is anyone’s guess but during college, it was very clear that tanker /bulk carrier men were disadvantaged. But then, it is all relative as I had an advantage over the middy's from the company I worked in practical deck experience. I would add that the transition from General Cargo ships to Tankers/Bulk Carriers was somewhat easier than vv.

16th January 2009, 12:03
Thanks Bill, as I never had that experience, I just felt the need to know. :)

Pilot mac
16th January 2009, 13:05
When I took Mates orals the examiner said 'I see that you have only been on general cargo ships', 'and some reefers Sir' I replied, 'mmmmmmm, can you describe to me the tank cleaning system on an OBO', Oh **** thought I, had'nt got a clue . Must have caught him on a good day as he ended up describing to me the tank cleaning of an OBO and I passed.


16th January 2009, 17:07
I served my time as a Deck Apprentice on tankers, mostly wartime built T2's. Before going to sea I was never at any of the pre-sea establishments having got 'the bug' from an RN section of the CCF at a NW London school. So basically, I had no practical experience of dry cargo work at all.
I did the usual Apprentice's Correspondence Course (run by KE7 or Jack's Palace). It did not seem a big problem, initially my 'knowledge' was all of the text book variety which was probably a help for the annual examinations for all MN Apprentices. I was unsullied by useful practice and just trotted out the text book answer. It wasn't raised by the examiner for 2nd Mate's (the ferocious Capt Wallace) and I passed first time. Thereafter I sailed in a mix of cargoships, passenger ships and oil tankers. The first few weeks in my first 'dry' cargo ship was a steep learning curve, but so was the transition from Caltex's casual American ways to P&O's formal traditional ways.

Bill Davies
16th January 2009, 18:31
I can well imagine it was Ian. I moved into tankers after First Mate (FG) 1963 and yes it was different I really took to the life and more or less stayed in tankers and bulk carriers for the rest of my career. You would have needed a white stick not to be able to see where the General Cargo Liner Companies were heading.

16th January 2009, 20:05
Thanks all for the replies, much appreciated :)