Chow Relief - Ships Nostalgia
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Chow Relief

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  #1  
Old 13th May 2011, 07:54
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Chow Relief

Does anyone remember the "good old days" when the 3rd mate and the 4/E had to do chow relief for the C/O and 2/E at evening meal time.

The evening meal was 1730 to 1830, all the junior rabble would be first in the saloon at the trough bang on 1730 and then later the old man, chief eng, senior R/O, would appear around 1800.

When he had finished his chow the 3/0 had to zoom to the bridge to relieve the C/O so he could go and dine with the Capt and C/E in the saloon; the 4/E had to put on a nice clean romper suit and go down and stand on the plates while the 2/E went to the dirty mess for his meal.

I even sailed with a very senior C/O (who seemed to have been passed over for Master) who wanted and insisted on a chow relief in port on cargo watch. Not a popular chap!

I noticed that chow reliefs started to die a welcome death when it wasn't the C/O doing the 4-8 watch and when the C/O's were becoming younger; and of course the advent of microwaves.
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  #2  
Old 13th May 2011, 10:29
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I remember doing (and hating) the mates meal relief when I was 3rd mate in Ellermans. The 2nd and 3rd mates also had to relieve each other for breakfast and lunch which if taking sights wasn't too bad but still became a bit of a pain in the ****.
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  #3  
Old 13th May 2011, 16:55
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Loylobby - When I sailed with Shell (1967-1976) there were no dirty messes, but I did my share of chow relief for 2/E when I was a 4/E and for the 4/8 junior engineer when I was the same on the 8/12.
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  #4  
Old 13th May 2011, 17:24
Don Matheson Don Matheson is offline  
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As 4/E I had to do a lot of "meals" for the 2/E most of the time I just went down to the Plates, smoked my pipe and waited for him. Sometimes on a long river passage had to actually "standby" but usually that wasnt for very long. Duty mess's were a great help for meal reliefs.

Don
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  #5  
Old 13th May 2011, 17:36
Jgiagonia Jgiagonia is offline
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Had been relieving the C/O and at times 2/0 depending on the number of crew complement, I didnt mind this at all but when the mate had to spend an hour for dinner it can be annoying. Nice thing about my Captain an isolated one, he relieves the C/O instead of any of the mates he was a perfect Captain and a real gentleman. At times on a short run STS off the strait of Malacca and next port was Singapore, Captain took over the watch of the C/O that was something else.
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  #6  
Old 13th May 2011, 18:14
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When I went to sea in the 1960s-70s our watches were 12-4, 4-8, 8-12 while meals were served 0730-0830, 1130-1230, 1700-1800 so only the evening meal was relieved. The 12-4 3/O and 3/E did the relieving and were compensated one OT hour each time they did it.

I sailed cargo and tank ships and all officers ate in the saloon in their work clothes. Out of the engine room perhaps stop in your cabin to wash your hands and forearms and face, then on to the saloon.

Greg Hayden
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  #7  
Old 13th May 2011, 19:34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kewl dude View Post
When I went to sea in the 1960s-70s our watches were 12-4, 4-8, 8-12 while meals were served 0730-0830, 1130-1230, 1700-1800 so only the evening meal was relieved. The 12-4 3/O and 3/E did the relieving and were compensated one OT hour each time they did it.

I sailed cargo and tank ships and all officers ate in the saloon in their work clothes. Out of the engine room perhaps stop in your cabin to wash your hands and forearms and face, then on to the saloon.

Greg Hayden
The only things I can add to that is when there was a day third like on Lykes ships they would knock off at four and do the meal relief without additional compensation.

On a few ships I sailed on there were two engineers on the 4 - 8 watch and they would relieve themselves for the meal.

Joe
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  #8  
Old 14th May 2011, 00:55
Archie2009 Archie2009 is offline  
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Chow relief's are not allowed anymore with the new SMS
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Old 14th May 2011, 01:03
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Didn't have to do it much as I was not fourth Eng too long ; we went to UMS in Brocklebanks / Moss Tankers . When I did it was a pain in the butt ! 1/2 half hour a day lost never to be regained except when you were later 2Nd Engineer.

The working class can kiss my ar=se Im on the 4 to 8 at last !

Recon I about broke even . Derek
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  #10  
Old 14th May 2011, 05:05
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Derek Roger View Post
Didn't have to do it much as I was not fourth Eng too long ; we went to UMS in Brocklebanks / Moss Tankers . When I did it was a pain in the butt ! 1/2 half hour a day lost never to be regained except when you were later 2Nd Engineer.

The working class can kiss my ar=se Im on the 4 to 8 at last !

Recon I about broke even . Derek
well said thats why I quit sailing hahahha
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  #11  
Old 14th May 2011, 06:28
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In the Union Co NZ the 4/E stayed below while the 3/E had lunch noon to 1230 Hrs and the 3/E came off the 1200 to 1600 watch replaced by the 2/E but returned to the engine room to allow the 2/E a dinner break but it was all courtesy time without compensation, the lower the rank the longer the watch.
All deck and engineer officers ate in the dining saloon and overalls were prohibited so the 2/E had to come up and change to dine which made it a hurried meal.
I recall my time on a collier that was the dirtiest of ships with coal grime creeping into all parts of the accommodation but the skipper, Des Champion last NZ master of the Pamir, insisted on jackets and tie which made meals formal occasions that had engineers on the hop with clothing changes.

Bob
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  #12  
Old 14th May 2011, 06:40
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While on this subject of more or less time below I recall the clock changes as the ship crossed the time zones.
I seem to remember it being haphazard sometimes as we crossed the Tasman and you sometimes copped an extra hour on watch but did not always gain it back on the return journey.

Bob
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  #13  
Old 14th May 2011, 08:06
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Skipper on Blueys Ixion would only allow duty mess to be used by mates in port.

What an *rse!

As someone said, engineers had to be quick change artistes!
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  #14  
Old 14th May 2011, 16:27
Nova Scotian Nova Scotian is offline  
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Meal Relief

Sailed on the City of Eastbourne as third officer. The two other watchkeeping mates were the chief officer (4-8) and first officer (12-4). The latter had just acquired his masters certificate and was given senior officer status. As a result he sat on the old man's table at meal times even though his responsibilities were the same as those of a second mate. A strange situation which meant I had to do two meal reliefs...one for the C/O at 1730 hrs and one for the 1/0 at 1300 hrs. I must confess that this really ticked me off especially when the afternoon meal relief would run 45-60 minutes because the 1/0 felt uncomfortable excusing himself before all the head table people had finished their meal.
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  #15  
Old 14th May 2011, 17:33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Archie2009 View Post
Chow relief's are not allowed anymore with the new SMS
"SMS" is Ship Management System which is only a individual companies statement of its policies. While each company and ship has it's own SMS onboard the policies they are not industry wide.

Chow reliefs tradition is still the norm at least on US Flag Vessels but the only meal it is required is the evening meal. There is a whole section in the Officers Union Agreement that covers the subject. All the other meals overlap the 8-12 and 12-4 watches. While the evening meal is set at 1700 -1800. The mate on the 4 - 8 watch is only one that has a Chow Relief, for the most part the engineers are day workers with UMS the norm for Motor Vessels.

Meal reliefs only occur during maneuvering and when the engines are on standby for the engineer and oilers. The only other time there is a relief is when the duty engineer informs one of the other engineers that they will be taking a shower or will be otherwise occupied for a short period of time so some could take care of answering the alarms.

Joe
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  #16  
Old 14th May 2011, 19:41
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Ah but can you remember the stewards magic box.
If it was a hard working trip most 2nd's and 3rd's did not insist on a relief and got the stewards to "plate" them up something . Nearly everyone got a small sandwich box for late evenings anyway and sometimes the two were combined. There were the occasional cock ups with an "all same plate sahib" mentality and you returned to your cabin to find a wide variety of comestibles forced into a small plastic box and vaguely resembling food which might be edible.There was a quite humorous incident on some ship when we were alerted to an IRA threat to blow up the QE2 in New York and all "company" ships had to take "appropriate " action. Middle of the night in Bay of Bengal and everyone turned too with a bomb search and a final muster on the boat deck with life boats all swung out ready to go. No trace of the fiver or the 2nd lecky. Eventually found in the old mans cabin with all the sandwich boxes having raided his booze locker and deciding they were going to go happy. Not so happy the next day. The old man calmed down after they replaced the lost rations.
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  #17  
Old 14th May 2011, 19:48
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Question: "take care of answering the alarms."

Are these alarms frequent or occasional?

Generally what are the alarms telling you?

Thanx,

Greg Hayden
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  #18  
Old 14th May 2011, 19:56
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Thanks for the varied replies.

Movie nights and chow sometimes caused problems if it was a long film. The movie started at about 1630 to allow 12-4 engineers to get showered; stopped at 1730 for chow and hopefully restarts at 1830 so as to be finished in plenty time for the 2000 watch and so the 12-4 could get off to bed.

On movie nights there was a sort of unwritten rule that the 3/O would relieve the C/O slightly earlier for his chow and the C/O would then get back to the bridge smartish so the movie could get restarted promptly. Simple eh?

On one occassion there was a very long 5 reeler film so I wolfed my chow down and was on the bridge for 1740; was able to watch the C/O and his wife walk aft to the saloon at 1745; great I thought; even greater I thought when I saw them walking back towards midships at 1750 (used to spend most of chow relief keeping a lookout and taking the evening air on the bridge wing). I was in the starting blocks ready for his return...1805 no sign of the C/O....1815 still no sign of the C/O....oh sugar.....1830 and still no C/O. When he eventually showed at the chartroom door at about 1835, he waddled in patting his stomach and uttering yum, yum. I quickly asked him what he had for his chow; I can still remember his exact words after 38 years, he said "Oh we didn't bother, Angie and I didn't fancy anything on the menu so we came back to the cabin, had cheese and biscuits and a glass of wine".

I can assure you my handover was curt to say the least; and my innermost thoughts are unprintable for fear of being barred from SN. I will let you use your imaginations though.
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Old 14th May 2011, 22:58
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kewl dude View Post
Question: "take care of answering the alarms."

Are these alarms frequent or occasional?

Generally what are the alarms telling you?

Thanx,

Greg Hayden
The alarm frequency depends on the amount of care that the duty engineer completed the setup and inspection of the machinery spaces. I have seen the same Third Engineer set up the plant for the First Assistant Engineer charging the potable water hydro tank, draining the air compressor receivers, checking the oil levels and topping them up if needed, etc. and the First would not get any alarms from 1700 till 0600. But when the same Third had the duty watch he would continually get alarms. Part of the Duty watch is to make a round around midnight and again at 0600 and correct any thing that is not normal.

The alarms are set up so if the Duty Engineer fails to silence the alarm in the engine room in at least 5 minutes the alarm will sound off in all of the public spaces plus all of the engineers rooms. Waking up the sleeping beauties is cause of lot of verbal abuse. The young Third Engineer was so paranoid that he would not get to the engine room before the alarms went off in the other engineers rooms that he took to sleeping in the Control Room, but he still managed to sleep through the alarms.

I forgot the type of alarms were mostly on levels either high or low levels depending on the sea conditions, an occasional lugging alarm due to bad weather or when the mate on watch put to much wheel for a course change that maxed out the engine horse power which also give a cascade of high jacket temperature alarms. A quick check of the rudder angle indicator will determine what action you would take. Using the fuel limiter or wait til the rudder returns to midship.

Joe

Last edited by surfaceblow : 14th May 2011 at 23:24.
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  #20  
Old 14th May 2011, 23:14
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On all the ships that I sailed on, there was always a 7-bells meal arrangement that allowed those on the 8-12 and 12-4 watches time to eat (in the saloon or wherever) before going on watch. As stated elsewhere, only the 4-8 needed a relief for the evening meal.

Was never on a ship with UMS with people at sea on daywatch only (and on call at night), so can't say what happened there.
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  #21  
Old 14th May 2011, 23:30
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Never understood the practice of 2nd Mates being granted a meal relief at 1200.
I can't recall a single ship I sailed on where this was the case - the 12-4 watchkeepers always had lunch at 1130 - aka 'seven bells lunch'.

EDIT: Spent so long posting this that Ron got there before me!
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Old 15th May 2011, 19:42
Jgiagonia Jgiagonia is offline
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Never understood the practice of 2nd Mates being granted a meal relief at 1200.
I can't recall a single ship I sailed on where this was the case - the 12-4 watchkeepers always had lunch at 1130 - aka 'seven bells lunch'.

EDIT: Spent so long posting this that Ron got there before me!
so true
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  #23  
Old 4th October 2012, 18:00
Jim Glover Jim Glover is offline  
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Chow reliefs were abused by some 2/E's,on the 12/4 it was even worse as some of them never appeared for there watch until 0430 and then a 10min hand over ,crazy to think that they had only been away from the engine room for 8hrs
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Old 4th October 2012, 23:05
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On Canadian ships there was a system in place because of overtime payments.
Third mate had seven bells breakfast.
Second mate had seven bells lunch.
Mate relieved second mate at 1530 hrs and second mate relieved the mate for supper at 1700 hrs and had a late meal at 1730.
That system had no one doing extra time or O/T being paid out.
It worked.
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  #25  
Old 5th October 2012, 01:32
oldman 80 oldman 80 is offline  
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3 mate ships I served in:-
3/0 - seven bells breakfast.
2/0 - seven bells lunch
3/0 relieved 4-8 chief mate 1730 - 1800 for dinner, then had his own 1800 - 1830.
If twilight intervened then 3/0 would eat 1730 - 1800 then relieve Chief Mate 1800 to 1830.

That System never failed, should be easier now with GPS and little if any regard for twilight.
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