Sup. and Guaranteed Chief Engineers.

Bill Forster
5th February 2009, 11:25
I am not an engineer but am writing an account of my father's life at sea as a marine engineer:

FORTY YEARS AT SEA: A VOYAGE WTH MY FATHER

and am puzzled by entries in his Seaman's Discharge book for 1937 and am hoping somebody can explain them.

On the 3 April (his 37th birthday) he joined MS SOBO (Elder Dempster) at Liverpool for its maiden voyage as "Sup. Chief Engineer", sailing the same day, but left at the end of that voyage on the 24 June.

The next entry i his Certificate of Discharge is on the 14 September 1937 when he joined RFA ALDERSDALE at Birkenhead for its maiden voyage as "Guarantee Chief Engineer" in time for its sea trial. It left on its maiden voyage on the 18 September.

Can somebody please explain the difference between Sup. Chief Engineer, Guaranteed Chief Engineer and plain Chief Engineer?

Bill Forster

son of
WILLIAM REDVERS FORSTER (1900-75)

vincent simmonds
5th February 2009, 11:31
they never make the tea

K urgess
5th February 2009, 11:38
The first could be either Superintendent or Supervising Chief Engineer and the second could possibly mean he was employed by the engine manufacturer to ensure that all went well.
Our engine room staff will probably have a better idea.
Cheers
Kris

R58484956
5th February 2009, 11:47
Plain Chief Engineer means exactly what it is says, he is the number one man on board who is in complete charge of ALL machinery on board and runs the engine room with his fellow engineers. If he is on a steam ship he will have a"steam ticket" and if on a motor ship will have a "motor ticket" of competency, you can of course have a combined motor/steam ticket.

Bill Forster
5th February 2009, 11:55
I was thinking it might be something along those lines as he had previously been chief Engineer on MV SUTHERLAND, the first of the "Doxford Economy Ships" which had revived shipbuilding on the Wear when it was launched at Sunderland in December 1935.

The slow running Doxfod engine was the key to its success. MS SOBO and RFA ALDERSDALE were both fitted with Doxford Engines but the ships were not built by Doxford.

But I would very much welcome a response from the engineers.

Bill

R651400
5th February 2009, 12:02
Sup Chief Engineer could also be supernumary as an extra Chief for the maiden voyage .

Peter Fielding
5th February 2009, 12:07
I am not an engineer but am writing an account of my father's life at sea as a marine engineer:

FORTY YEARS AT SEA: A VOYAGE WTH MY FATHER

and am puzzled by entries in his Seaman's Discharge book for 1937 and am hoping somebody can explain them.

On the 3 April (his 37th birthday) he joined MS SOBO (Elder Dempster) at Liverpool for its maiden voyage as "Sup. Chief Engineer", sailing the same day, but left at the end of that voyage on the 24 June.

The next entry i his Certificate of Discharge is on the 14 September 1937 when he joined RFA ALDERSDALE at Birkenhead for its maiden voyage as "Guarantee Chief Engineer" in time for its sea trial. It left on its maiden voyage on the 18 September.

Can somebody please explain the difference between Sup. Chief Engineer, Guaranteed Chief Engineer and plain Chief Engineer?

Bill Forster

son of
WILLIAM REDVERS FORSTER (1900-75)

Bill,
It's possible that "Sup" could be an abbreviation of "Supernumary", but why the company would require a Supernumary Chief Engineer on board I couldn't say. If he had left the vessel at some port part-way through the voyage, it could be explained as a way of getting him there to join another ship, but from your account it sounds as though he did the round voyage.
As far as Guarantee Chief Engineer is concerned, my own experience of this is an engineer from the engine-builders, who has supervised the installation of the engine/s in the shipyard, conducted the engine trials, and sailed on, at least part of, the maiden voyage. During this time he would monitor the operation and performance of the engine, and answer any questions the ship's engineers may have. This again, though, doesn't sound as though it would apply in your father's case. Sorry I can't be more help.

Malky Glaister
5th February 2009, 12:10
Hi,

Sup could either mean supernumery or less likely superintendent. Guarentee would be either the shipyards rep or the engine builder.
His job would be to assist only and have notrhing to do with the day to day running this being the vessels Chief Engineers responsibility. The Guarentee man would be noting down defects as and when they occurred for the shipyard to arrange repairs. He would also be looking for any mods that can be made. They invariably got a lot of info from the ships staff,

Hope this helps,
Malky Glaister, retired Combined Chief Engineer

Fieldsy
5th February 2009, 12:57
Sup Chief Engineer could also be supernumary as an extra Chief for the maiden voyage .

I'd said that was about right. When Harrison Line first got container boats they often sailed with a supernumary chief - learning the ropes before they took over their own box boat.

lakercapt
5th February 2009, 14:51
Supp. chief engineer would mean that he was sailing on the ship as an extra
engineer, maybe to get his "sailing" time i.e. steam or motor for his certificate.
Guarantee ch engineer means that he was there to monitor the running of the ship/engineroom on behalf of the builders and employed by them not the ship.
ALL PERSONS ON A SHIP (EXCEPT PAYING PASSENGERS) MUST SIGN ON THE SHIPS AGREEMENT.

Bill Forster
5th February 2009, 14:57
There was a six week gap between leaving MV SUTHERLAND / PRINCE (it was sold & changed its name) before joining MS SOBO as Sup. Chief Engineer on the day it sailed, his 37th birthday.

Perhaps he was at the shipyard, Scotts of Grenock, for the fitting of the Doxford engine? And only signed on with Elder Dempster when his work there for Doxford / Scotts was finished?

There was a further three month gap after leaving MS SOBO and before joining RFA ALDERSDALE as Guarantee Chief Engineer so, perhaps, once again he was as some of you have suggested working for Doxford at Cammel Laird, Birkenhead.

At this stage in his career he was, I believe, at the top of his form.

It would make my account more interesting by having Doxford as a link between these three ships but at present it is really just speculation.

Has anybody any further thoughts?

Bill

Bill Forster
5th February 2009, 15:01
I should add that he had his Chief's ticket endorsed for motor as well as steamships since 1931 and had already served as Chief on both steam and motor vessels with the tramp ship owner, BJ Sutherland of Newcastle.

Bill

vincent simmonds
5th February 2009, 16:08
I was right!! there not one word of them making the TEA

chadburn
5th February 2009, 18:09
Bill, I would say that your Father's case he may have worked for Doxford's/Shipyard and the two "titles" are the same it's just a matter of the way it was worded when he was signed on. H&W who built B&W's alway's sent their Guarantee Chief on Trial's and possibly the maiden voyage's depending on if there were some unresolved issues, in our case it was sticking exhaust valves due to a design problem with the lubrication system. He was as a previous contributer has said "at the top of his game" and would be a man worth listening to on any aspect's of Marine Engineering not only "His" main engine if asked for advice. (we can all learn from other's). Some Shipyard's also sent their own Guarantee Chief along as most main engine's were re-constructed when new by Shipyard Employees. He also looked after other aspect's of the shipbuild.

Bill Forster
5th February 2009, 21:12
That's an interesting idea, Geordie Chief.

He was "Chief" on the first of the Doxford Economy Ships. And when other shipyards began to instal Doxford engines in their own ships they might have found him useful.

I have just found details of MS SOBO on the "Clydebuilt Database" at: http://www.clydesite.co.uk/clydebuilt/viewship.asp?id=19215

It was launched by Scotts at Greenock on the 1 February 1937 and my father left MV SUTHERLAND / BRITISH PRINCE on the 15 February. MS SOBO was handed over to Elder Dempster on the 20 March 1937, my father signed on with ED as "Sup Chief Eng" on the 3 April and it left for West Africa the same day.

Am not sure what conclusions to draw from this! But at least he would have been available to either Doxford or Scotts or Elder Dempster to supervise the final testing and acceptance of MS SOBO before its handover.

Bill

Derek Roger
5th February 2009, 21:32
I had 3 Supernumery Chief Engineers sail with me on Brocklebanks Mahsud . The purpose was for them to become familiar with the UMS ( unmanned machinery space ) vessels and then take over and I would return on leave until the next coastal and deep sea training trip .
It suited me fine as I signed off in the Seyshelles ; Aquaba and Capetown respectivley and was able to spend a couple of days in Aqaba and Capetown and a full week waiting for a plane in Victoria all at company expense Happy Days .

The reason for the supernumery title was I believe due to legal reasons ( only one could be held responsible for the operations ) They were however always called Extra Chief as opposed to supernumery .

Derek

chadburn
6th February 2009, 12:00
As your Dad had previous seagoing experience as a Chief with the Doxford engine it sounds about right that he would be "cherry picked" by another Company like Doxford's/ E.D./ Shipbuilder to oversee newbuild's. As D.R. indicated his titles will be for legal reason's and to protect his status as he is not classed as a Passenger although his advice may be more technical than hands on but that would have depended on your Dad's approach to any problem's that may happen and with the agreement of the Chief who has the responsibilty for all engineering matters on board the ship. A Super is normally employed by the Shipping Company who own the Vessel and a Guarantee Chief by either the Shipbuilder or Enginebuilder or both if the engine has been "rebuilt" by the shipyard worker's.

Bill Forster
7th February 2009, 17:20
Geordie Chief, I have just been speaking to a retired naval architect who spent his life working for Doxford, mostly dealing with client shipping companies round the world, and he thinks your explanation is probably correct. He is not on the Internet but has a large collection of material on the company, its ships & their engines & will be looking into this further.

It may also be significant that MS SOBO (Elder Dempster) was the first of five ships in the SOBO class and that his next ship RFA ALDERSALE was the first of six ships in the Dale Class (a further ten 'Dales' were ordered later).

So it looks increasingly likely that in both cases he was employed by either the engine builder or the shipbuilder prior to joining the ships on their maiden voyage as "Sup Chief Engineer" (SOBO) and "Guarantee Chief Engineer (Aldersdale). The Crew List would presumably confirm that there were two "Chiefs" aboard - but they are in Newfoundland & expensive to get!

I am very grateful to all of you who took the trouble to reply to this mail.

Bill

Ian J. Huckin
27th March 2009, 06:25
I reckon Supernumary C/E. This could be because the Co. was building several ships of the same class. The Sup. C/E would do a trip on one prior to going back to the yard to take his one out. Make sense???