Wet & Dry Ships

Arthur Jenner
22nd January 2009, 05:39
Wet & Dry Ships
by AJ

I noticed the other day that someone had posted a thread about dry ships. When I was at sea all ships were dry as far as we were concerned; only officers and engineers were allowed alcohol. Although I must admit that by the time I left it did improve a little. We were allowed a couple of beers occasionally on one ship and on my last deep-sea voyage, where I was deck storekeeper, the captain sent a bottle of single malt to the PO’s mess (for xmas of course).
On the whole though, going to sea was a thirsty occupation. But of course we made up for it at every opportunity.
I will tell you a story
Once upon a time there was a tanker belonging to one of the major oil companies. In case anyone thought that it was only cargo ships that tramped the oceans blue I can assure them that tankers sometimes play a similar role. This particular vessel, although it carried only cargo for it’s owners, did manage to wander about the globe somewhat.
One day this tanker managed to find itself on the west coast of South America. It had started by taking a cargo from Curacao to San Antonio in Chile and stayed on the coast for a while calling at various ports in Peru and Columbia. While on the coast, the customs had sealed the bond locker, which as all you tanker men know is under the centre castle – stewards lockers on the port side and deck stores on the starboard.
It seems that when the customs had pasted their seal on the steel door of the bond locker someone had forgotten to lock it, with the result that when the ship rolled a little the door swung wide open.
An AB on the middle watch who was returning aft from lookout on the forecastle head spotted this.
‘Well’, he thought, ‘This is an opportunity too good to miss.’
So entering the locker he gathered every alcoholic bottle he could find and removed them to his own room aft. He then jammed the door so that it couldn’t swing open again and re-stuck the paper seal.
He shared his loot with the rest of the deck crowd and by the time the locker was officially unsealed the grog had all been consumed and the empty bottles transferred to the bottom of the Pacific Ocean.

John Briggs
22nd January 2009, 10:56
Good one Arthur!

doric
22nd January 2009, 11:42
What's this " Officers & Engineers?", it's either Mates & Engineers, or Deck & Engineer Officers?!. By the way Arthur, there is only one person who signs on as an Officer, that's the Radio Officer.

Regards, Terence Williams.R538301.(A)

Arthur Jenner
22nd January 2009, 12:14
What's this " Officers & Engineers?", it's either Mates & Engineers, or Deck & Engineer Officers?!. By the way Arthur, there is only one person who signs on as an Officer, that's the Radio Officer.

Regards, Terence Williams.R538301.(A)

Terence.
It's what we called them in my day. I've no idea what they called themselves then or what they call themselves today, sorry. Anyway you have contradicted yourself. You said they were Deck & Engineer Officers and then said that 'sparks' is the only officer.
regards
Arthur Jenner

K urgess
22nd January 2009, 12:31
If this was a TV show bells and whistles would go off and Stephen Fry would announce another urban myth. Everyone would lose 10 points.
For our viewers not domiciled in the British Isles who may have no idea what I'm talking about - http://www.qi.com/tv/
Just about all my crew lists have deck and engine as officers.
All the NMB, DTI and BOT publications talk of them as officers. As far as I can make out it was purely down to the shipping office clerk who started off the articles process as to who was called what.
Some of my discharges just say R/O which could just as easily be Radio Operator. [=P]

A nice story, Arthur. (Thumb)

R58484956
22nd January 2009, 14:28
Arthur as already said, another good story, its your story tell it how you like.

Klaatu83
26th March 2009, 19:49
All American ships are dry, but I have always been under the impression that European seamen wouldn't leave the dock unless their ship had a "Pig-And -Whistle". I once sailed on the Lykes Lines' M/V "Cygnus", which had formerly been the German Hansa Line ship "Rabenfels". The very first thing Lykes did after they took the ship over was to remove the wet bar from the lounge.

However, Lykes was also the last company we had whose freighters still carried twelve paying passengers. Naturally the passengers had access to all the liquor they could drink, and the captains often required their officers to assist them in entertaining the passengers at "cocktail parties". I recall one occasion when our ship had just finished working Cartegena, Colon, transiting the Panama Canal, and then working Panama. The Old Man then decided to throw a party for the passengers to celebrate our entrance into the Pacific. By that time not one of the Mates or Engineers had sufficient energy left to attend. The Old Man was furious with his officers because they had left him to booze it up with the passengers all by himself!

A couple of years later the Exxon Valdez ran aground on Bligh Reef. After that the question of requiring officers to carouse with the passengers was never again raised.

Old Janner
31st March 2009, 13:31
Arthur as already said, another good story, its your story tell it how you like.

My early days with BP Tankers, if beer was available, crew were allowed two cans on a Wednesday and Three on a Saturday, some Captains instructed the Ch/stwd to open the tins or bottles so that they could not be saved up for a big P--up.
We took on quart bottles of Swan in Freemantle, the first beer issue at sea, ch/stwd issued two quarts on the Wednesday, nice one! but only the one time.
Take me hat off to the Ch/Stwds though, they always chilled the beer in the Veg room before issue and served it cold from the handling room.

Spence.