28th August 2005, 19:37
While Kapitain's are the subject of the day I was just wondering what was the most foolish thing you have witnessed a captain do.
Some years ago I was ordered to a coaster moored at Newcastle Qauy, we used to park them there if they arrived on the flood tide when bound for Dunston Staiths to load coal (You could only go through the swing bridge stemming the tide) Anyway I arrived onboard and the Captain and Chief were in the pub, the mate ran along the quay to get them. Later, on the bridge I asked the captain for his air draught (Needed to avoid hitting the High level bridge with the mast.) He wasnt sure but assured me it was less than the hight of the bridge. So off we set, as we approached the bridges with the mate on the wheel the captain disappeared. I didn't notice at first being preocupied with other things. When I did notice I asked the mate were he had got to. The Monkey Island I was told, we were just passing through the swing bridge with the High level approaching fast when I ran to the bridge wing to find the Captain at the top of the mast, seems he wasnt too sure if we would clear, thankfully for his sake we did clear with a good 3 feet to spare otherwise we would have had one dead Captain to explain away. I won't name the ship, he may be a member of SN.
28th August 2005, 21:10
This could be an interesting thread, but I agree that names should not
be named so as to protect the innocent as well as the guilty!!
On one Brock's ship the Skipper always sent one, and one only, arrival
telegram. We were due into Trinidad for bunkers and fresh water having last
seen dry land at Capetown. He worked out that the ship would be 1-1/2 hour
early, so he turned the ship around and steamed back the way we had just
come; for an hour and a half! Subsequently we got a letter of protest due to
us being an hour and a half late. We also received a further letter of protest from
the water people 'cause they parked their barge under the overboard discharge for
the crew's toilet and received some nasty packages on their nice clean deck.
Oh well, who's to argue with the boss?
28th August 2005, 22:45
A story similar to Jeff's happened on the Tees many moons ago. A small coaster in the night was bound upriver to Stockton which involved having a bridge raised.The bridge operator was supposedly informed that the ship was expected and should raise the bridge on the ships whistle signal. The ship approached, whistled and whistled but nothing happened. The pilot "Put a line on" the nearest wharf and walked along to the bridge and found the operator asleep in the control room.
"Sorry Pilot" was the reply and before he could get back to the ship the bridge started to lift with the Pilot still on it!!
29th August 2005, 11:55
North Easterners will be familiar with the tale of the Ferry Captain who got it wrong.
To set the scene it was a foggy day on the north east coast and before noon. One of the Ferries (again I won't name her) was bound for the Tyne and as was normal requested the Pilot to board inside the piers, this requaest was queried due to the visibility, but the ship insisted. (They had scedules to keep and slowing down and making a lee for the Pilot was just not on) Anyway the Pilot ran down the harbour in the cutter and lay just inside the north pier ready to board the ship. The ship reported being two miles from the piers and all was well, soon the ship reported entering the piers and requested the cutter to come alongside. Warning bells were now starting to ring in the Pilots head, no sign of the ship. Grey hulls in thick fog are sometimes difficult to pick out so all eyes strained for first sight on her, but no sign as no engine noise. The captian asked where the cutter was. Just inside the north pier he was told. Well I can not see you was the reply. Well captain I dont know were you are but you have not just entered the Tyne piers he was told. Silence the radio went dead. Twenty or so minutes later the ship sent an ETA for 30 minutes time still insisting he boarded his Pilot inside the piers. How the Captain who ran into the Tyne Two or three times every week mistook Sunderland piers for the Tyne piers no one knows, the Racon beacon on Souter Point lighthouse should have told him he was south of Souter not north and should have given him a clue. The Sunderland Pilots on duty at the time were amazed he got away with it, bearing in mind these ships entered the Tyne on full ahead and had nearly two miles straight run to get the way off her. Sunderland is a different kettle of fish altogether. The red faced Captain had a hoard of reporters waiting for him on his (Delayed) arrival at the berth.
29th August 2005, 15:40
On a similar thread? What about the delivery lorry that had spare crane parts for RFA ARGUS at Smiths Dock on the Tyne. He only took them to the Metro Centre for ARGOS!! That made quite a few headlines around the country.
29th August 2005, 16:23
Thinking about deliveries, I joined a ship in Middlesboro once. During the taxi ride from the train station to the ship we had to circumnavigate a lorry which had shed it's load. Said load looked suspiciously like a brand new generator to me, which was now lying on it's side and looking like a write-off.
Having arrived at the ship and found my cabin, I headed (as one does) to the ship's bar. I was greeted by several officer's that I knew, and after lubricating the throat
a little, I started saying "You will never guess what I saw on the way here from town...
hey- why is the Chief Engineer crying into his beer?"
Someone else replied "Well, we were due to have a brand new generator delivered to
us this afternoon, and......."
I kept pretty quiet the rest of the evening.
29th August 2005, 19:05
We had an incident quite a few years ago in similar vein. After a nights dense fog when it appeared to be clearing upriver the Pilots went off to the ships that were anchored waiting for a clearance. One of the ships to enter was a Russian tanker where there was often a language problem and of course the ships names were painted with cyrillic lettering. Using the cutters radar the ships were found in turn and looming out of the fog they found a Russian with a pilot ladder over. The Pilot went aboard, told them to heave up as it was clearing inside the river,told the Port control and the tugs that he was on the Russian and heaving up.(On the VHF we often used the words "Russian" rather than a long complicated name). He entered the Port, made the tugs fast, got up the River, swung round and was approaching the berth when someone realised that it was the wrong ship.
When the fog cleared it became apparent that there had been 2 Russians anchored!!
29th August 2005, 19:16
Did he get paid
30th August 2005, 21:59
Did he get paid
I think he was about to take it back to sea when someone in the installation decided that it was cheaper to keep that one on the berth rather than pay double tug fees, so they kept it alongside. (This was in the 1970's when things were much more "Relaxed").
The Pilot concerned however was subject to much leg pulling from everyone in the Port for a long time afterwards.
31st August 2005, 12:30
Quite a few years ago I had the privilege (?) to pilot a coaster from a well known company which I won't name. The captain was a right pain, seemingly he was given a monthly allowance from the owners to run the ship, food, pilotage, mooring men etc. He had his wife with him and she spent much of her time in port trawling round supermarkets buying reduced price food for the crew from items just on thier sell by dates. Anyway he was at pains to tell me he usually did his own pilotage so he could pocket the money, he only had me onboard as he had never been to this berth before (The Tyne was a non compulsory port up to 1988) He told me it cost him £400 each way in pilotage on the Thames and was itching to know what my fees would be. After we tied up he gave in and asked me outright, like most pilots I expect, I didn't know the answer exactly so I told him I would get about 1.50p for piloting his ship, he was made up untill I told him, of course there's the boarding fee on top plus an administration charge and oh yes there were 56 pilots at the time and as all money was pooled the other 55 would get £1.50 each as well. He found his own way to sea.