The Bank Line Fleet. Ship Type.

Charlie Stitt
10th May 2010, 10:13
Can someone explain to me, why many newbuild ships, were completed by the yard, and delivered to the Company as closed shelterdeckers, and how long did they remain like that? I can only remember sailing on Bankboats while they were open shelterdeck,although the Teakbank, for example, was completed as a closed shelterdecker. I remember the boards which slotted into channels on the bulkhead openings, was this the only way to close off the tween decks? Can't say I ever give this much thought while actually serving on the ships, but a photo of the Birchbank, posted recently by a chap called Angus, started me thinking. :confused:

Alistair Macnab
10th May 2010, 16:31
As I remember it, Charlie, you are quite correct that the open shelter deck type of ship needed to have portable and temporary wooden covers in all bulkhead openings from the collision bulkhead to the tonnage hatch (if it was right aft) and that was fulfilled by having stout storm boards slid into steel channels at each opening which were usually located in any steel fire-prevention bulkhead between adjacent tweendecks (e.g. between No.1 and 2 UTDs in the "Beaverbank" Class of 1953) and down the side of the engineroom casing at each end. On the "Beaverbank" Class, the poop hatch was included in the 'open' configuration so the tonnage hatch which was forward of that space also had tonnage openings to port and starboard. The tonnage hatch which was on the main deck was closed by wooden hatch covers with no battening and wedging but with tarpaulins held down by wire and bottlescrews, the hatch boards having a unique 'handle grip' on their underside at half-length which could be used to secure the boards downwards by means of wires of ropes.

Do you remeber that hatch coamings in the shelterdeck were raised and had battening down cleats and bars? This was because technically, the tween deck was the 'main deck'. The existence of raised coamings gave cause to no end of cargo stowing problems as large items could not be slid under the upperdeck girders and the raised coaming even although the head room in the tween deck was sufficient! For example: one pallet of carbon black could be passed from sling to forklift for stowing in the tween deck space but two pallets (one on top of the other) could not. This meant loading each pallet one at a time then stacking them in the space. Stevedores in Oz were not happy about this stow as initial breaking out was a bugger!

The 'new' ships of the "Cloverbank" and "Firbank" Classes (1957) were first built this way up to the "Carronbank" from Harland's and the "Firbank" and "Riverbank" from Doxford. After that the ships were built to a new configuration called the "tonnage mark" which gave each ship 'open status' of gross tonnage as long as the tonnage mark (a triangle with apex downwards on a short horizontal line next to the Plimsoll marks) remained unsubmerged and to 'closed status' as far as the gross tons were concerned when the tonnage mark was submerged

This is why the excellent photograph of the "Birchbank" that I am sure raised the question was quoted as having two different gross tonnages. The lower one was the 'tonnage mark unsubmerged' and the greater one 'tonnage mark submerged' condition.

After the change in the rules, open/closed shelterdeckers as a ship description went out of fashion.

By the way, the mention of the steel fire bulkhead between No.1 and 2 upper tween decks was possibly something you don't remember depending on when you were last aboard any of the "Beaverbank" class because they originally came out from the yard as completely open from the forward engineroom bulkhead to the collision bulkhead in the shelter deck except for the reefer machinery block between hatches 2 and 2A. The steel fire bulkheads were retro-fitted between Nos 1 and 2 and 5 and 6 UTDs in the case of the "Fleetbank" in Calcutta in 1954 and I suspect the other ships of the class somewhere around this time. As time went on, wooden 'contamination-free' bulkheads appeared adjactent to the reefer machinery room and between the after deeptank hatch and No.3 Hold in the shelter deck as cargo separations for coffee and cocoa beans giving each type of cargo a 'separate compartment' to avoid odor and bug contamination.

Alan Rawlinson
10th May 2010, 17:54
As I remember it, Charlie, you are quite correct that the open shelter deck type of ship needed to have portable and temporary wooden covers in all bulkhead openings from the collision bulkhead to the tonnage hatch (if it was right aft) and that was fulfilled by having stout storm boards slid into steel channels at each opening which were usually located in any steel fire-prevention bulkhead between adjacent tweendecks (e.g. between No.1 and 2 UTDs in the "Beaverbank" Class of 1953) and down the side of the engineroom casing at each end. On the "Beaverbank" Class, the poop hatch was included in the 'open' configuration so the tonnage hatch which was forward of that space also had tonnage openings to port and starboard. The tonnage hatch which was on the main deck was closed by wooden hatch covers with no battening and wedging but with tarpaulins held down by wire and bottlescrews, the hatch boards having a unique 'handle grip' on their underside at half-length which could be used to secure the boards downwards by means of wires of ropes.

Do you remeber that hatch coamings in the shelterdeck were raised and had battening down cleats and bars? This was because technically, the tween deck was the 'main deck'. The existence of raised coamings gave cause to no end of cargo stowing problems as large items could not be slid under the upperdeck girders and the raised coaming even although the head room in the tween deck was sufficient! For example: one pallet of carbon black could be passed from sling to forklift for stowing in the tween deck space but two pallets (one on top of the other) could not. This meant loading each pallet one at a time then stacking them in the space. Stevedores in Oz were not happy about this stow as initial breaking out was a bugger!

The 'new' ships of the "Cloverbank" and "Firbank" Classes (1957) were first built this way up to the "Carronbank" from Harland's and the "Firbank" and "Riverbank" from Doxford. After that the ships were built to a new configuration called the "tonnage mark" which gave each ship 'open status' of gross tonnage as long as the tonnage mark (a triangle with apex downwards on a short horizontal line next to the Plimsoll marks) remained unsubmerged and to 'closed status' as far as the gross tons were concerned when the tonnage mark was submerged

This is why the excellent photograph of the "Birchbank" that I am sure raised the question was quoted as having two different gross tonnages. The lower one was the 'tonnage mark unsubmerged' and the greater one 'tonnage mark submerged' condition.

After the change in the rules, open/closed shelterdeckers as a ship description went out of fashion.

By the way, the mention of the steel fire bulkhead between No.1 and 2 upper tween decks was possibly something you don't remember depending on when you were last aboard any of the "Beaverbank" class because they originally came out from the yard as completely open from the forward engineroom bulkhead to the collision bulkhead in the shelter deck except for the reefer machinery block between hatches 2 and 2A. The steel fire bulkheads were retro-fitted between Nos 1 and 2 and 5 and 6 UTDs in the case of the "Fleetbank" in Calcutta in 1954 and I suspect the other ships of the class somewhere around this time. As time went on, wooden 'contamination-free' bulkheads appeared adjactent to the reefer machinery room and between the after deeptank hatch and No.3 Hold in the shelter deck as cargo separations for coffee and cocoa beans giving each type of cargo a 'separate compartment' to avoid odor and bug contamination.

I always regarded the ' shelterdeck' configuration with a tonnage hatch as an aberration, dreamed up by shore based academics, and potentially dangerous to mariners.

The ' Slieve ' class of Irish sea ferries, carrying general cargo one way to Ireland, and returning with cattle back, were an example. Built as shelterdeckers, the Slieve Bearnagh had a ' hinged ' tonnage hatch cover, which on really bad nights could flap open and allow seawater to flood down below. On one of the worst nights I can remember, this flap ( unsecured by laziness, it must be said) kept flying open and closed as the ship rolled, and at the change of the watch I went down to the tween deck which was badly flooded and with cornflake packets and boxes of sanitary towels etc etc destined for Belfast, floating around in a few feet of water.

As I understood it, under the existing tonnage rules for open shelter deckers, , the normal sealing of the tonnage hatch with battens and wedges was not permitted - hence the handles below the boards as mentioned in Alistair's piece above. It also accounted for the ' flap ' I have referred to. It was not meant to be fixed in the closed position, but in bad weather, I can't see why common sense could not prevail. Unfortunately, the masters on that service had been brain washed into the necessity of allowing the opening to operate freely.

Charlie Stitt
10th May 2010, 21:38
I can understand why Bank Line, or any other Company for that matter, would want to keep their ships as open shelterdeckers, smaller tonnage, so smaller port dues etc. What I can not savy, is why did Bank Line accept so many of their new builds as closed shelterdeckers,with the higher tonnage. Why were all new Bankboats not completed as open sheterdeckers ?.Alistair, in all the years you were with Weirs, did you ever sail on a vessel with a closed shelterdeck ? From a list of ships built at Doxfords,1957 to 1964, I note, eleven were completed as open shelterdeck, around 6300 g, and ten as closed shelterdeck, around 8500 g. There must have been a good reason for this, someone please put me out of my misery, tell me. :confused:

jimthehat
10th May 2010, 22:09
As I remember it, Charlie, you are quite correct that the open shelter deck type of ship needed to have portable and temporary wooden covers in all bulkhead openings from the collision bulkhead to the tonnage hatch (if it was right aft) and that was fulfilled by having stout storm boards slid into steel channels at each opening which were usually located in any steel fire-prevention bulkhead between adjacent tweendecks (e.g. between No.1 and 2 UTDs in the "Beaverbank" Class of 1953) and down the side of the engineroom casing at each end. On the "Beaverbank" Class, the poop hatch was included in the 'open' configuration so the tonnage hatch which was forward of that space also had tonnage openings to port and starboard. The tonnage hatch which was on the main deck was closed by wooden hatch covers with no battening and wedging but with tarpaulins held down by wire and bottlescrews, the hatch boards having a unique 'handle grip' on their underside at half-length which could be used to secure the boards downwards by means of wires of ropes.

Do you remeber that hatch coamings in the shelterdeck were raised and had battening down cleats and bars? This was because technically, the tween deck was the 'main deck'. The existence of raised coamings gave cause to no end of cargo stowing problems as large items could not be slid under the upperdeck girders and the raised coaming even although the head room in the tween deck was sufficient! For example: one pallet of carbon black could be passed from sling to forklift for stowing in the tween deck space but two pallets (one on top of the other) could not. This meant loading each pallet one at a time then stacking them in the space. Stevedores in Oz were not happy about this stow as initial breaking out was a bugger!

The 'new' ships of the "Cloverbank" and "Firbank" Classes (1957) were first built this way up to the "Carronbank" from Harland's and the "Firbank" and "Riverbank" from Doxford. After that the ships were built to a new configuration called the "tonnage mark" which gave each ship 'open status' of gross tonnage as long as the tonnage mark (a triangle with apex downwards on a short horizontal line next to the Plimsoll marks) remained unsubmerged and to 'closed status' as far as the gross tons were concerned when the tonnage mark was submerged

This is why the excellent photograph of the "Birchbank" that I am sure raised the question was quoted as having two different gross tonnages. The lower one was the 'tonnage mark unsubmerged' and the greater one 'tonnage mark submerged' condition.

After the change in the rules, open/closed shelterdeckers as a ship description went out of fashion.

By the way, the mention of the steel fire bulkhead between No.1 and 2 upper tween decks was possibly something you don't remember depending on when you were last aboard any of the "Beaverbank" class because they originally came out from the yard as completely open from the forward engineroom bulkhead to the collision bulkhead in the shelter deck except for the reefer machinery block between hatches 2 and 2A. The steel fire bulkheads were retro-fitted between Nos 1 and 2 and 5 and 6 UTDs in the case of the "Fleetbank" in Calcutta in 1954 and I suspect the other ships of the class somewhere around this time. As time went on, wooden 'contamination-free' bulkheads appeared adjactent to the reefer machinery room and between the after deeptank hatch and No.3 Hold in the shelter deck as cargo separations for coffee and cocoa beans giving each type of cargo a 'separate compartment' to avoid odor and bug contamination.
Alistair,
i have learned a lot today,but I always thought that the tonnage hatches had wedges to secure the tarp,memory plays tricks this far on.

jim

Alistair Macnab
10th May 2010, 22:10
Let me put you out of your misery, Charlie! With the tonnage mark vessels were AUTOMATICALLY assigned the lower gross tonnage when the mark was unsubmerged and the higher gross tonnage when the TM was submerged. Ship could then be built to full scantlings with the dual gross tonnage applying dependent upon the draft.
But seaports and terminals quickly caught on to the new trick and assessed port dues and dockage to the higher number when a ship was dual or to the net tons which was constant in either condition!

Charlie Stitt
11th May 2010, 11:21
Alistair, David J Eyres, in his book, Ship Construction 2007, I quote. ''Finally tonnage regulations introduced in 1966 provided for assignment of a tonnage mark.'' newbuilds I referred to above,were pre 1966. I am starting to bore myself on this subject so shall pursue it no further, I just found it a bit odd,identical newbuilds being completed, some open, some closed shelterdeck. All my info comes from Ships In Focus, Record 17 and 18. Also Bank Line 1885 - 1985 by H S Appleyard. I find these books to be of much interest and recommend them to all you ex Bank Liners.

Charlie Stitt
26th May 2010, 12:29
While standing by the new build ''Inverbank'' 1n 1962, I could not understand why Bank Line did not employ steel hatchcovers instead of the slab wood ones.When Capt Gale come to see us off, I put the question direct to. him, his reply,slab hatcovers with two single boards per section, was the ideal arrangement to allow bleeding bags of copra etc, I could'nt argue with that I suppose. As a young'' Company Man '',I felt our new ships were very old fashioned compared to other Company's ships, with their modern looking steel hatchcovers, but in hindsight, having experienced the pitfalls of some steel hatchcovers, give me the slab boards any day. (Thumb)

jimthehat
26th May 2010, 14:49
While standing by the new build ''Inverbank'' 1n 1962, I could not understand why Bank Line did not employ steel hatchcovers instead of the slab wood ones.When Capt Gale come to see us off, I put the question direct to. him, his reply,slab hatcovers with two single boards per section, was the ideal arrangement to allow bleeding bags of copra etc, I could'nt argue with that I suppose. As a young'' Company Man '',I felt our new ships were very old fashioned compared to other Company's ships, with their modern looking steel hatchcovers, but in hindsight, having experienced the pitfalls of some steel hatchcovers, give me the slab boards any day. (Thumb)

Charlie,I stood by the forresbank in 62,and i am sure she had steel covers ,if not it was the taybank in 64,i can remember swing off a crowbar in order to lift the covers onto the wheels ,or the reverse,always thought it was a dangerous op ,could get your jaw broken.

just as aaddition charlie were you in ASn when a docker was killed in preston,I was lowering the stern ramp and all the dockers were waiting at the door to come on board,the tugmasters were left unmanned at the top of the ramp when one tug took off and belted down the ramp squashing one man up against the stern door.
At the inquest i was slated for not reversing the controls and raising the ramp,can you remember how slow it was lowering the ramps on the doric/bardic/ionoc.

jim

Charlie Stitt
26th May 2010, 17:04
I don't recall that accident in Preston Jim. A bit of a joke saying you, reversing the ramp control, would have made a difference, as you say, the ramps had two speeds, dead slow and stop. The Greer hydraulic hatchcovers we had on the small container ships, chartered to ASN, had the same sort of speed, tested ones patience to the limit, and the hinges, from new, gave no end of trouble. My last year of employment with Shamrock Shipping, who owned the ships, was spent in their office, most of that time was taken up dealing with Greer hatch lid problems which threatened a possible sailing delay, and loss of charter hire earnings. To be given a task of getting hatch covers to work, when they had a design fault which prevented that ever happening, was very frustrating.A very anxious Company MD, breathing down my neck, did'nt help, but, like my time in Bank Line, it was a good experience.

Charlie Stitt
26th May 2010, 17:06
By the way Jim, the Forresbank had Slab covers, all same Inverbank. She was my last ship as Mate with the Company in 1966.

jimthehat
26th May 2010, 18:32
By the way Jim, the Forresbank had Slab covers, all same Inverbank. She was my last ship as Mate with the Company in 1966.

thanks for the clarification Charlie,the memory does dim,so it must have been the taybank,I payed off the Forresbank in Birkenhead on the 19/12/63.
i definitely sailed with steel hatches,only other semi modern ship was a short run home in the fleetbank.

jim

China hand
26th May 2010, 19:44
I think the TAYBANK and the TWEEDBANK were the first all over Doxford Bank Line steel covers. I know we had teething troubles on the TWEEDBANK maiden voyage with them, or rather their coamings (No.4 hatch stbd side, methinks?).
Loads of additional stiffening done during that trip.

Joe C
26th May 2010, 20:28
While standing by the new build ''Inverbank'' 1n 1962, I could not understand why Bank Line did not employ steel hatchcovers instead of the slab wood ones.When Capt Gale come to see us off, I put the question direct to. him, his reply,slab hatcovers with two single boards per section, was the ideal arrangement to allow bleeding bags of copra etc, I could'nt argue with that I suppose. As a young'' Company Man '',I felt our new ships were very old fashioned compared to other Company's ships, with their modern looking steel hatchcovers, but in hindsight, having experienced the pitfalls of some steel hatchcovers, give me the slab boards any day. (Thumb)

One of the best apprentice jobs on the Moraybank was "assistant chippy"when he was making hatchboards.I was always in awe of his skills,he never seemed to measure anything but could drill horizontally across the two boards with a brace and bit style drill to make a hole to take the steel rods that held them together and never missed.I seem to remember that his skills were put to making a greenhouse when we were on our way home!

Alistair Macnab
26th May 2010, 20:49
The "Birchbank" and "Streambank" of 1958 from Doxford's were the first Bank Boats to have all-over steel rolling hatch covers. After that, all ships went back to slabs and tarpaulins until the "Taybank" also from Doxford's in 1963. Altogether, 26 ships followed the "Streambank" from Doxford, Swan Hunter and Harland's before the "Taybank" but they were all the 12,000 dwt vessels. The "Taybank" was the first of the 15,000 tonners and subsequent to her, all Bank Line ships had steel covers, usually of the Macgregor rolling slab variety but I have seen a photograph of newer Bank Boats with the roll-up Erman on spindles on the upper deck. Perhaps somebody will enlighten us about this?

John Dryden
26th May 2010, 21:04
When I was app. according to my journal I spent four days helping the chippy on the Olivebank renewing and overhauling damaged hatch boards.I wrote down that the metal end brackets were called cox's ends,if that could be confirmed maybe the term could go in the directory list of nautical terms.
JD.

jimthehat
26th May 2010, 22:59
thanks to those who advised me that it was on the taybank that i encountered and struggled with the crowbar lifting and dropping the wheels on the steel hatches.

jim

Charlie Stitt
26th May 2010, 23:13
Sorry John, but I remember referring to those as hatchstraps, Or was it hatchbands? ( Memory or Imagination?)

Charlie Stitt
26th May 2010, 23:18
Did any of you guys who sailed on Bankboats with steel hatchcovers, ever load copra, bleeding the bags on top ???

Charlie Stitt
26th May 2010, 23:44
Alistair, do you know if the Birch and Streambank, with their steel hatchcovers, had six deeptanks, as the norm on copra boats ??

Ron Stringer
27th May 2010, 00:09
When Capt Gale come to see us off, I put the question direct to. him, his reply,slab hatcovers with two single boards per section, was the ideal arrangement to allow bleeding bags of copra etc,

When on a Newcastle tramp (not a Bank boat I hasten to add), loading sugar in Durban for Liverpool, the sugar arrived bagged in rail wagons and was then slung aboard in the normal way. Two/three hatchboards were removed on each hatch and an iron grating, rather like a set of park railings, was placed over the gap and the sling of bags was landed on the grating. Stevedores with pangas slashed each bag in the sling and the sugar dropped through the grating into the hold. The empty bags went back ashore with the sling. It was amazingly quick and the guys with the pangas were aided by teams of trimmers down the hold.

Mind you it still took 7 days to load 12,000 tons. Don't know how long it took to discharge at Tate & Lyle's in Huskisson Dock because I left the ship there.

I suppose the same technique would have worked with MacGregor hatches, partially opened, with a grating across the gap but I never saw it in action.

In later years, when the fashion started for brown rice and other 'healthy', unrefined, 'natural', foods, people (especially women) would lecture me on the hazards of using white, refined, sugar, telling me that the brown stuff was far more healthy and I should change my ways.

I would explain about the gangs of trimmers levelling the sugar cargo as it was loaded in Durban and then add that during the 7 days we were loading, I never saw any one of them take a toilet break. The looks on their faces as the meaning of that dawned on them was priceless. Quite what was in their 'healthy' unrefined sugar we will never know for sure, but we can guess.

Alistair Macnab
27th May 2010, 01:40
The "Birchbank" and "Streambank" were not designed for any particular trade being only of regular, five hatch one tween deck throughout, configuration. Two deeptanks (port and starboard) were located immediately abaft the accommodation. I would describe them as typically 'general cargo ships' certainly not handy for the copra run.
Oddly enough, I do not recall seeing either ship in the U.S. Gulf on the A-NZ liner berths so I suppose London found them more useful in the bulk and neo-bulk trades.

Charlie Stitt
27th May 2010, 12:42
Why oh why did the vast majority of Doxford built Bankboats not have a poop?, not only did it give the ship a better balanced appearance, but must surely have increased the vessels seaworthiness. Did someone in Doxfords, convince Mr Bank Line that the weight saved in not having a poop, extra posts, derricks etc, would allow the ship to carry a bigger payload ? who cares about the guy struggling aft in a big following sea breaking over the stern. I look at a photo of a poopless Bankboat, and it reminds me of a Samboat. (Sad)

Alistair Macnab
27th May 2010, 15:54
Having sailed on several non-poop Bank Boats, I was only pooped once and that was on the "Ettrickbank" in the South China Sea right in the heart of a typhoon.
Other ships were not noticibly at pooping risk.
But the question "Why the Poop?" has puzzled me for years. I cannot remember, and its not a matter of revealing what secret NATO information was contained in the Master's safe, but I have often asked the question: does anyone have the definitive word on this? Just as the Harland-built "Cloverbank" class had poops and the corresponding Doxford-built "Firbank" had not (except for the "Northbank"!) then the "Corabank" and "Roachbank" Classes had poops and they were not Harland ships, then I surmise that the reason is one of two guesses on my part:
1, It was necessary for trim purposes in the homogeneous cargo calculation, or
2. It was something that 'defense' measures called for in the event that the ship was to be fitted with a gun, magazine and carry gunners.
Of course, I could be entirely wrong on both accounts!

jimthehat
27th May 2010, 16:14
Alistair,
one little quote in your last rings a bell,many moons ago I did a defence course on HMS President which entailed nuclear warfare and operating the code machine carried in all masters safes,it was quite interesting and the chap in charge of the coding part of the course said when you go to your next ship tell the master that you must be allowed to practice with the code machine,well if it was not sad it was hilarious,when i asked the old man to be allowed access he nearly had a heart attack and went purple.
needless to say i never saw the books and machine.

jim

Charlie Stitt
27th May 2010, 16:25
I sailed on the Inverbank, built Doxford 1962, no poop. and the Forresbank, built Doxford 1962, with poop. I can say, without a shadow of doubt, fully loaded, with a rough sea abaft the beam, the after deck on the Forresbank was much more comfortable than the Inverbank. Would I be right, or close, in thinking that ships built for Port Line, BI, Clan Line, Stricks, etc around that time, all had Poops. If for no other reason, Bankboats should all have had poops for the more comfortable accommodation they provided for the crew. Big kind hearted me.

Charlie Stitt
3rd June 2010, 11:53
I would love to hear more about the Corabank and Fish class ships. And what was this small winch on the masttop all about .(?HUH)

jimthehat
3rd June 2010, 13:21
yes charlie,the Forresbank was a good sea ship,tho she very nearly never made it past her maiden voyage.
As I remember it we were somewhere off cuba steaming east,we had news that another bank boat on her maiden voyage as well would be passing close,it was about 1400 hours and the old man decided to let the other ship do the close thing and we just stood on ,still in automatic of course,the old man and myself were on the bridge wing with binocs when all of a sudden it appeared that the other ship was heading straight for us.
i dashed into the wheelouse and saw that it was US that had altered,I slammed the controls into manual and shoved the wheel hard to stb.missed it by the skin of our teeth,but the old man would never go close to anything in the next 17 months.

jim

Charlie Stitt
3rd June 2010, 13:48
Jim, you have brought back memories of meeting another one of the fleet, really seems a bit over the top now, but the excitement, wow. The first thing to appear of course was the white bridge front, and if I remember right, it was the ship with the more junior Master, that altered course. Happy Days indeed.

RayL
10th June 2010, 23:29
The only occasion the Speybank encountered another Bank Line ship during my trip aboard her was on 20 Feb 1967 as we headed for the Red Sea and the canal after loading tapioca in Bangkok. It was the Dartbank and she was bound for Djibouti and then directly for Port Moresby. We had been in radio communication earlier that day so the event wasn't a surprise.

The very next day I heard transmissions from my old ship the Naess Sovereign but was unable to raise her.

Charlie Stitt
11th June 2010, 12:42
Yes RayL, Sparky always had that very important crew list of the ship we were about to encounter. I remember on one occasion, we could have altered course a little to pass close to another Bankboat, but her Master was one of the few B's we had in the Company, if anything, we altered course away from her. (==D)

Alan Rawlinson
11th June 2010, 17:47
Charlie,

There were quite a few B's - and C's. come to that. Don't know why the company kept them on.

Was discussing this with another Bankline stalwart the other day, and he thought it was because they needed everyone they could get as the fleet expanded in the 60's and 70's. Better the devil you know, etc

Johnnietwocoats
17th June 2010, 06:40
Charlie,

There were quite a few B's - and C's. come to that. Don't know why the company kept them on.

Was discussing this with another Bankline stalwart the other day, and he thought it was because they needed everyone they could get as the fleet expanded in the 60's and 70's. Better the devil you know, etc

Definately not good odds......(Whaaa)

If certain B and C's had be fired for being incompetant I wouldn't have left. Neither would a few others....(Smoke)(Smoke)

Alan Rawlinson
17th June 2010, 09:55
Definately not good odds......(Whaaa)

If certain B and C's had be fired for being incompetant I wouldn't have left. Neither would a few others....(Smoke)(Smoke)

Guess this is right, which set me thinking.....

Although I never stayed long enough to make Master, (this also says something about time serving) I later had the privilige to run several marine organisations, and you inevitably get judged on your performance.

The best Master would likely be '' firm and fair '' - definitely respected, AND (as a bonus,) might also be popular. There were some like that in the Bankline, as we have commented in these threads.

Ashore, you get to keep your job if your superiors - board - or whatever, have full confidence in your performance AND results. Here is a difference, because some of the old time Masters could get the ship from A to B ( sometimes with a little help from the rest) and there was no performance factor in the equation. Providing they could make the right paper returns, keep off the rocks, and appear sober in the Head Office, their job was secure. How they treated the Officers and crew was way down the list of priorities...

Only the sailing ship Masters had a hand in cargo procurement etc, and crucial voyage decisions, which reflected in his (or her) performance.

Alistair Macnab
17th June 2010, 16:14
Alan has raised a good point.

Latterly, Masters and Mates had often little to do with cargo operations especially when Marine Superintendents seemed to take away most of the ship's involvement.

Looking back, I think this was a wrong way to go about looking after cargo shippers who were, after all, the very reason for the voyage and the basis for why we all got paid.

A lot more should have been done to incorporate the ship's staff in the procurement, handling, stowing and carrying of the cargoes. Pre-stow plans should have been done with closer involvement with the Master and Mate and not delivered as a fait accomplit on arrival.

Supers or kerani babus will tell you that it was all a matter of time and that loading had to commence immediately upon arrival in port. Walks-through the cargo shed or barges to inspect cargo before loading and to hold stevedores responsible for pre-loading damages would also have been a good thing.

Lastly, visits by senior officers when in port to major shippers or forwarders at their premises or more curry lunches on board would also have promoted more buy-in by the sea staff.

None of this would have staved off containerization but at least, many more deck officers would have had a better understanding of their job and that it was not just 'ship driving'.

Of course, there were some Masters and Mates, senior and junior, who made it their business to be integrated into what was transpiring during cargo loading and discharging and their efforts were most welcome to the overall success of the Company. ("I have a little list...."!)

This is not meant to be a moan. This 'best practices' scenario has grown with me over the years by observation! John Mackenzie's T-shirts said it all: "Bank Line do it Worldwide and do it Better".

Alan Rawlinson
18th June 2010, 08:24
Alan has raised a good point.

Latterly, Masters and Mates had often little to do with cargo operations especially when Marine Superintendents seemed to take away most of the ship's involvement.

Looking back, I think this was a wrong way to go about looking after cargo shippers who were, after all, the very reason for the voyage and the basis for why we all got paid.

A lot more should have been done to incorporate the ship's staff in the procurement, handling, stowing and carrying of the cargoes. Pre-stow plans should have been done with closer involvement with the Master and Mate and not delivered as a fait accomplit on arrival.

Supers or kerani babus will tell you that it was all a matter of time and that loading had to commence immediately upon arrival in port. Walks-through the cargo shed or barges to inspect cargo before loading and to hold stevedores responsible for pre-loading damages would also have been a good thing.

Lastly, visits by senior officers when in port to major shippers or forwarders at their premises or more curry lunches on board would also have promoted more buy-in by the sea staff.

None of this would have staved off containerization but at least, many more deck officers would have had a better understanding of their job and that it was not just 'ship driving'.

Of course, there were some Masters and Mates, senior and junior, who made it their business to be integrated into what was transpiring during cargo loading and discharging and their efforts were most welcome to the overall success of the Company. ("I have a little list...."!)

This is not meant to be a moan. This 'best practices' scenario has grown with me over the years by observation! John Mackenzie's T-shirts said it all: "Bank Line do it Worldwide and do it Better".

On the same subject, and looking back, how naive we all were about the real world of shipping and commerce in general. It was very much part of the magic - to be on a vessel, going to far flung places and only concerned about the engines or navigation, not to mention the night time sandwiches!

A truly wonderful life, where going to anchor for 3 weeks was a pain, but not the financial disaster that someone ashore had to live with and worry about.

There is a lot in what Alistair is saying about whipping up a bit more interest in the cargo and the shippers, but the two worlds are a million miles apart. Canvassers and Agents faced with ' allocations ' to fill, come what may, have to resort to all sorts of tricks to meet targets, and the principal tool is rate cutting and/or some flexibility in pricing, augmented by grovelling, expensive dinners, ingratiation, marrying the daughter, etc etc .. I guess its called salesmanship. Nowhere does this come into play more than with a ' start up ' line where the challenge is to crash in and steal someone else's trade. Great fun.

Where the Bankline scored heavily, and I suspect what kept them going for so much longer than the majority of other lines, was Andrew Weir's almost unique network of long standing worldwide contacts, so valuable, and providing base cargoes on which to build. Loyalty has always run deep in the shipping world as evidenced by the buckets of tears shed when having to change long standing agents, perhaps due to a consortia committement.

Joe C
18th June 2010, 14:54
On the same subject, and looking back, how naive we all were about the real world of shipping and commerce in general. It was very much part of the magic - to be on a vessel, going to far flung places and only concerned about the engines or navigation, not to mention the night time sandwiches!

A truly wonderful life, where going to anchor for 3 weeks was a pain, but not the financial disaster that someone ashore had to live with and worry about.

There is a lot in what Alistair is saying about whipping up a bit more interest in the cargo and the shippers, but the two worlds are a million miles apart. Canvassers and Agents faced with ' allocations ' to fill, come what may, have to resort to all sorts of tricks to meet targets, and the principal tool is rate cutting and/or some flexibility in pricing, augmented by grovelling, expensive dinners, ingratiation, marrying the daughter, etc etc .. I guess its called salesmanship. Nowhere does this come into play more than with a ' start up ' line where the challenge is to crash in and steal someone else's trade. Great fun.

Where the Bankline scored heavily, and I suspect what kept them going for so much longer than the majority of other lines, was Andrew Weir's almost unique network of long standing worldwide contacts, so valuable, and providing base cargoes on which to build. Loyalty has always run deep in the shipping world as evidenced by the buckets of tears shed when having to change long standing agents, perhaps due to a consortia committement.

Now then Alan,as an ex used car salesman I must defend the integrity of the salesman,fancy you doubting their integrity,I must have misunderstood you.
Such a fine profession!!
Remember that age old cliche,"nothing happens until something's sold",whatever that means!

Alan Rawlinson
18th June 2010, 18:20
Now then Alan,as an ex used car salesman I must defend the integrity of the salesman,fancy you doubting their integrity,I must have misunderstood you.
Such a fine profession!!
Remember that age old cliche,"nothing happens until something's sold",whatever that means!


Joe, Never questioned the integrity of sales for a moment! Had a spell selling conservatories, amongst other things ( but never cars) and it was a rapid learning curve, to say the least. One of the cardinal rules I learned was never to trust anything the folk in Head Office said.

In the shipping world, I thoroughly enjoyed the challenge of selling (space and services - containers and leasing contracts, - offshore platform contracts etc ) all over the place, from Egypt to China and Russia and Iran. Could write a book about the subject, and one chapter would be devoted to all the things one had to do to secure a contract. It would include the obvious ( bribery, oops, sorry, I meant local taxes) eating some really c..p food in the Far East, like deep fried worms in China, and taking part in tortured Kareoke sessions. - just to get that signature - often in a glorious alcoholic haze!!!

chadburn
18th June 2010, 18:47
Alan, so you are/were the "Champagne Charlie" of the shipping world.(Jester)

Joe C
18th June 2010, 19:46
Joe, Never questioned the integrity of sales for a moment! Had a spell selling conservatories, amongst other things ( but never cars) and it was a rapid learning curve, to say the least. One of the cardinal rules I learned was never to trust anything the folk in Head Office said.

In the shipping world, I thoroughly enjoyed the challenge of selling (space and services - containers and leasing contracts, - offshore platform contracts etc ) all over the place, from Egypt to China and Russia and Iran. Could write a book about the subject, and one chapter would be devoted to all the things one had to do to secure a contract. It would include the obvious ( bribery, oops, sorry, I meant local taxes) eating some really c..p food in the Far East, like deep fried worms in China, and taking part in tortured Kareoke sessions. - just to get that signature - often in a glorious alcoholic haze!!!

How about this for a motor trade/Bank Line coincidence.
Around 1995 when I was based in Cambridge we took an order for a new MGF from a newly retired insurance exec.who had bought it as a pressy for his wife and to our amazement he didn't want delivery yesterday.
I thanked him for the order and his patience.He told me that they were going on a world cruise with a difference,on a cargo ship called the
Moraybank!
Oh you must be going to the States then through the Panama Canal to Australia etc.,etc.
I told him that I had joined a ship of the same name in Rotterdam in 1954 which was how I knew a little about his adventure.
I'm sure to this day ,that he,( in the insurance game and me in the motor trade,)didn't believe a word I said.
He had very little to say about his cruise and seemed extremely underwhelmed!

Alan Rawlinson
19th June 2010, 07:32
Alan, so you are/were the "Champagne Charlie" of the shipping world.(Jester)


Geordie Chief,

Guess you are right - well, a Charlie of some sort, anyway!

Many of us seem to have had a fantastic ride through life, and in my case gratefully kicking off with a Bankline Apprenticeship. I tried but didn't always succeed to keep out of '' houses of ill repute '' along the way, though.

Probably the rather ancient wording of apprentices indentures was passed on down from the sailing ship era without many amendments. If a modern draughtsman was given the task of preparing indentures for the 21st Century it would probably include '' He shall not twitter ''. or '' He shall not download Porn during watchkeeping hours!

Cheers

Ben Masey
19th June 2010, 08:53
Geordie Chief,

Guess you are right - well, a Charlie of some sort, anyway!

Many of us seem to have had a fantastic ride through life, and in my case gratefully kicking off with a Bankline Apprenticeship. I tried but didn't always succeed to keep out of '' houses of ill repute '' along the way, though.

Probably the rather ancient wording of apprentices indentures was passed on down from the sailing ship era without many amendments. If a modern draughtsman was given the task of preparing indentures for the 21st Century it would probably include '' He shall not twitter ''. or '' He shall not download Porn during watchkeeping hours!

Cheers Hi All,
I remember visiting the "Cutty Sark" when it first opened to the public.One of the displays was an apprentices indentures.
Word for word the same as my own from Bank Line 1957.
The same Taverns,Alehouses and Houses of ill repute,whilst not playing unlawful games except on the Masters Orders.
Incidentally those of you who remember Capt. John Ray in the Sydney office may know his father served part of his time on the "Cutty Sark".
Regards,
Ben Masey

China hand
19th June 2010, 19:41
I must have been favoured: not a word about Houses of Ill Repute in mine. Just a wimpish "nor frequent Taverns or Alehouses, unless upon his or their business; nor play at unlawful games: IN CONSIDERATION WHEREOF..... etc etc etc " So when I met Capt...... coming out of that place in M....... It was OK and within the terms of my indentures.
My indentures (framed in double side) hanging in my study, still raise a few smiles when other saddies see them.(A)

chadburn
19th June 2010, 21:18
Both Land and Sea Indenture's were most probably worded the same I suppose, fortunatly the "Nelson Eye" was turned on most occasion's unless you got into trouble with the police or even worse a bad timekeeper and/or missed Day/Night School which most Companies could not abide. My Indentures are locked away for the Grandchildren to peruse at some point in the future..

Alan Rawlinson
20th June 2010, 08:08
Both Land and Sea Indenture's were most probably worded the same I suppose, fortunatly the "Nelson Eye" was turned on most occasion's unless you got into trouble with the police or even worse a bad timekeeper and/or missed Day/Night School which most Companies could not abide. My Indentures are locked away for the Grandchildren to peruse at some point in the future..

Would be nice to see a set of Bankline Indentures from the old days posted here. Anyone able to oblige?


P.S. We have ' dragged ' a bit from the thread title ..........

Joe C
20th June 2010, 12:40
My "cooking scanner"can't cope with the complete indenture but this extract sheds a light on my father's sense of humour,particularly relating to the "taverns and alehouse" clause.
Signed on a pub bar and witnessed by the publican!

Charlie Stitt
19th September 2010, 20:26
The Ernebank 1, like many Bankboats at that time, was a Motorship with steam auxiliaries. When I sailed on this ship we had a German 4th Engineer who said he was there to get ''steamtime''for his certificate, I did'nt give this a second thought at the time. Engineers, would this have counted as seatime for a steam ticket in the UK? after all,she had the boiler,two or three steam genny's, ten or twelve steam winches, steam windlass and capstan, and yes, ok, a steam whistle, or was that air? Is'nt it wonderful,after all these years, just what we start thinking about and asking ourselves when sitting down the garden with a cuppa char and a tabnab.

Duncan112
21st September 2010, 00:15
In the UK, no, the main propulsion machinery has to be steam for sea time to count, tanker companies have, at various times, made representations for time on tankers with turbine pumps and W/T boilers to count (perhaps at reduced rate) but to no avail.

The nearest the UK has come to an understanding on this was with the Scott Still engine which was a double acting engine, with steam on the lower side of the piston and diesel on the upper. The DTI were unwilling initially to allow motor time on this type of engine as she manoeuvred on steam alone but eventually relented.

China hand
21st September 2010, 19:34
When I talked to one of my old Chief Engineer buddies about "Dolius" and Scott-Still top n bottom engines, he told me I was full of the stuff that comes out of the back end of man cows. I'm deckside, fr Gawdsake!!(K)

Andy Lavies
21st September 2010, 20:47
I, too, saw the Indentures in "Cutty Sark" may years ago. I believe they be;onged to her last Master. On another visit a few years back they were not on display and the duty 'Attendants' had never heard of them.
My 1956 Bank Line Indentures do not mention 'Houses of Ill Repute' - presumably I was allowed to frquent them
Andy.