Drinking on Merchant ships - Ships Nostalgia
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Drinking on Merchant ships

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  #1  
Old 16th December 2012, 11:53
graymay graymay is offline
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Drinking on Merchant ships

Is it allowed to drink alcohol on merchant ships these days (with the obvious exception of ferries / passy boats etc.

I personally have some of the fondest of memories from my deep sea days from the crew bar.

Ive actually heard that Maersk ships have been know to have breathelysed crew prior to boarding, surely this can't be accurate?

G
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  #2  
Old 16th December 2012, 11:55
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Having seen some recent Bond Orders I doubt if the whole of the Merchant Fleet run 'U.S. Dry'.............

geoff
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  #3  
Old 16th December 2012, 13:57
Klaatu83 Klaatu83 is offline  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Erimus View Post
Having seen some recent Bond Orders I doubt if the whole of the Merchant Fleet run 'U.S. Dry'.............

geoff
I once sailed on a U.S.-flag merchant ship that had been re-flagged from Germany (she had originally belonged to the now-defunct Hansa Line). The very first alteration they made after they took her over was to remove the wet bar.

I've rarely encountered any British seamen on American merchant ships. The story goes that they will not sail on American ships because they are known to be dry, but I couldn't say how much truth there is in that.

Actually, not all the U.S. ships I sailed on actually were dry. People often brought their own stuff with them, which nobody bothered about so long as they were discrete. In addition, I also used to sail on Lykes Lines' old general cargo ships, which always carried twelve paying passengers. Lykes not only provided drinks for the passengers, but the captain insisted upon the officers joining the passengers at "cocktail parties".

Last edited by Klaatu83; 16th December 2012 at 13:59..
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  #4  
Old 16th December 2012, 14:07
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Originally Posted by Erimus View Post
Having seen some recent Bond Orders I doubt if the whole of the Merchant Fleet run 'U.S. Dry'.............

geoff
geoff, must have something for entertaining port health, boatmen, stevedores, customs and oops nearly forgot ship s agents, oh and maybe a small taster for the pilot
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  #5  
Old 16th December 2012, 15:26
tom roberts tom roberts is offline  
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Sailed with some miserable skippers who kept to two cans a man per day and one or two who took delight in stopping it altogether,a Palm line one who was the most miserable of them all, a log mad tyrant I had the misfortune to sail under.Any one else had the misfortune to suffer a similar experience?.
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  #6  
Old 16th December 2012, 16:00
oldseamerchant oldseamerchant is offline  
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Originally Posted by joebuckham View Post
geoff, must have something for entertaining port health, boatmen, stevedores, customs and oops nearly forgot ship s agents, oh and maybe a small taster for the pilot
A bottle 'at least' or I'll modify you bow on berthing
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  #7  
Old 16th December 2012, 16:12
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A bottle 'at least' or I'll modify you bow on berthing
you must'nt tell everbody our secrets
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  #8  
Old 16th December 2012, 17:14
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Sections 78 and 79 of the Railways and Transport Safety Act 2003 imposes strict limits on going on the p1ss while at sea these days. Prosecutions under this act are not uncommon.


http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2003/20/part/4
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  #9  
Old 16th December 2012, 17:17
slick slick is offline  
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For Tom Roberts,
I thought Palm Line among the more enlightened Companies that I sailed with.
Properly organised Bars and no trouble that I can recall, one certainly needed a draught after 'logging' in the creeks. it was the almost obligatory fluid replacement.

Yours aye,

slick
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  #10  
Old 16th December 2012, 17:28
Mark McShane Mark McShane is offline  
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Present company went four beers, then reduced to two then this year went dry. What limited social scene there was given the multinational demographic, it has virtually disappeared now. Our non-alcoholic beer and soft drinks are free, but thats little compensation. Happy feckin christmas!
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  #11  
Old 16th December 2012, 17:39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joebuckham View Post
geoff, must have something for entertaining port health, boatmen, stevedores, customs and oops nearly forgot ship s agents, oh and maybe a small taster for the pilot
I sailed on one US Flagged Vessel were the agent in Germany provided me and the Captain a case each of white and red wines and ten cases of beer. So there was never a problem at least half the time.

One Captain would dump the gift after leaving port while the other would move his alcoholic beverages to my office so he could socialize and drink with the RO, First Assistant Engineer and myself. The Captain was afraid that the Deck Department Officers would turn him in if they knew of the gifts.

My office closet was not big enough to hold all of the beverages so I would redistribute the beer and wine given to me to the Engineer's leaving a case of beer and a couple bottles of wine.

While ashore in Korea the Captain and myself found us walking behind the Second Mate and Second Assistant Engineer. The Second Engineer was carrying a case of beer which he handed to the Second Mate while he went into another store. Has the Captain and I got closer the Second Mate turned around to state the beer was not his just has the Second Engineer took the case of beer from the Mate. We just walked pass the two.

Joe
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  #12  
Old 16th December 2012, 18:54
tom roberts tom roberts is offline  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slick View Post
For Tom Roberts,
I thought Palm Line among the more enlightened Companies that I sailed with.
Properly organised Bars and no trouble that I can recall, one certainly needed a draught after 'logging' in the creeks. it was the almost obligatory fluid replacement.

Yours aye,

slick
Hi Slick when I sailed in two Palm boats it was in the mid 50s and I was on deck as an a.b. and believe me on the Opobo you certainly needed a decent drink after cleaning tanks,it wasnt the skipper on her that was a right*******.
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  #13  
Old 16th December 2012, 20:26
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Agree that both Palm boats I sailed on in 60s were well supplied with Dutch lagers. No trouble from deck crowd at all.
Crew bar was a hatch from the officers' bar.

I started a similar thread when I joined SN - stirred things up a bit though!

[click for link] Drinking at sea - an observation

Last edited by Bridie; 16th December 2012 at 20:36..
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  #14  
Old 17th December 2012, 01:52
lakercapt lakercapt is offline  
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On the "Lakes Boats" it was taboo to have a drink and they were supposed to be dry. As mentioned in an earlier post when we had passengers they had lots of drink but were advised to be discreet and only in the passenger quarters. I had to remind some of this rule when they went on deck with a cold beer. Not good for the moral of the crew to see the forbidden fruit so to speak.
Now they even have spot checks for drug use and if there is any incident the coast guard check you out for drug/alcohol use.
Not a good way to be sailing now a days with all the other B.S. I am certainly glad I worked in a more enlightened era.
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  #15  
Old 17th December 2012, 10:38
tom roberts tom roberts is offline  
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Ah Slick I should amend what I said re Palm boats at least I should have mentioned the daily tot of rum,had this on the Rose of Lancaster also when down the coast ,but I dont remember getting it when on the skin boats doing the same run to the Cameroons,but I assure you there were no crew bars in the mid 50s.
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  #16  
Old 17th December 2012, 13:12
lakercapt lakercapt is offline  
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Certainly the Opobo Palm did not have any sort of bar.
It was only on the later builds that there were bars i.e. after Kano Palm, Akassa Palm as they did not have bars when I was on them in the late 50's.
Creature comforts on the Opobo Palm , I don't remember any and the smell of palm oil was everywhere!
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  #17  
Old 17th December 2012, 15:25
graymay graymay is offline
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I could not imagine the Kiwi Coast without a bar, especially when the bars onshore closed so early in the evenings!

Can anyone remember the British Bar in Lyttleton or Chicks bar in Port Chalmers?
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  #18  
Old 17th December 2012, 15:26
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Sailed on one ship which had 10000 tons of Carlsberg on board, entrance to hold via a tunnel inspection plate. No shortage of drink that trip. We kept the wine tab going not to give game away, well the 12- 4 did.
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  #19  
Old 17th December 2012, 16:27
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In my time in the late nineteen fifties and sixties, officers were allowed to buy all the booze they wanted from the bond. The crew, however, were limited to two can of beer a day and a tot of rum on Sunday morning -- when I was S2/E the engine room crew would line up outside my cabin and I would dispense Four bells. I tended to give generous measures of a full tumbler each, since I felt that it was only fair. I had only one issue as a result--a double DR who wouldn't go down on his watch, but a firm talking to in the crew accommodation at midnight, combined with a gentle threat of a hard kicking, solved the problem! I assume that the chief mate did the same, although we never discussed it.

There was unlimited drink in the saloon, and it was customary to order Tennants by the case for drinking with colleagues in ones cabin. One could get as p***ed as one liked, but there was the one arbitrary rule: "The Job." That meant that you had to be down below fifteen minutes before your watch to do a quick check round and then take over. If you felt sick then get over it and fast. Check the control panel blackboard and see what the previous watch had done, and what was left to do, then bloody do it! There was nothing like a steam ship's engine room to produce immediate sobriety.

So why did we manage to go all over the place without hitting anything too often, and without some sort of drink-driving laws? Perhaps because we were trained at sea by our superiors that it didn't matter if you were sick or dying on your feet. It didn't matter if you were injured or genuinely ill. Get your **** down below. You have a watch to keep. Your god is "The Job."

So, what's changed? Well, in my time we had things called "Crews." There were many more of them than officers aboard than there are nowadays. The officers didn't outnumber the ratings by several orders of magnitude. There was no political correctness and no female officers, hence no distractions. It was possible to walk bollock naked down the engineer's accommodation to get one's Ganamool boiler suit from Bombay out of the engineer's washing machine room without offending anyone.

We didn't do three months on and a month off. When I first went to sea I signed articles for two years, and did twelve months before a fortnights leave. We lived in an autocracy where the master was God, and the chief engineer was as close as it got to God. In the engine room hierarchy the senior second engineer was the one who would give you field days if you didn't do your job one-hundred percent -- "Press that engineers alarm on the panel and I'll have yer bloody life. Run the Job!"

I left the sea many years ago now, so I probably am romanticising, but in my days going to sea was much like joining the army or navy. You did it because of the challenge. That, I suspect, has been lost in the morass of container ship and bulk tanker milk runs. It has been lost in the demand for "qualifications" when the best possible qualification for a ships engineer came from the shipyards on the Tyne and Glasgow, even if he had to learn to stop eating Cornflakes with a fork in the saloon. The one thing he did learn on his first trip was to be a man, and that was an education beyond price.
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  #20  
Old 17th December 2012, 16:29
trotterdotpom trotterdotpom is offline  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by graymay View Post
I could not imagine the Kiwi Coast without a bar, especially when the bars onshore closed so early in the evenings!

Can anyone remember the British Bar in Lyttleton or Chicks bar in Port Chalmers?
Just about everyone can - lots on the site and in the gallery about the British during the earthquake. Now demolished I think.

John T
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  #21  
Old 17th December 2012, 18:35
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ART6

Nail on the head, but a lot of pen pushers will be sticking pins into the little wax doll they have called "Seaman". Ho Hum
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  #22  
Old 17th December 2012, 21:21
harryredvers harryredvers is offline  
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I had an experience sailing in a suction dredger owned by Costain-Blankevoorts in 1967. The ship, 'Tees Bay' was British registered (Costain) but managed and staffed from Holland (Blankevoort). I joined her at Kinderdijk near Rotterdam where she was being readied to travel to Sydney NSW. Prior to this she had been working on a job in the River Tees cutting a turning circle in the river bed, somewhere near Eston Jetty, I believe. The officers were all Dutch and while in the Tees they had had a locally engaged crew. Now the job had been completed, the local men paid off and the ship had returned to Holland before setting out for Sydney 'on spec'. Because she was British flag however in order to proceed 'deep sea' she had to have certain British certificated officers on board viz; master, mate, chief engineer and R/O. The Dutch officers (called schiffers) reverted to crewmen for duration of the passage and also, by the time we sailed for Oz, she also had a cook on board with some sort of British credentials, his name was Gillies D Meyer and he too was Dutch but had previously sailed on Radio Caroline. It's possible that 'doc' might also have had a British ticket but his standard of catering was spectacular and smacked more of the Netherlands than BoT. In Sydney the 'schiffers' would revert to command and a new crew would be hired from locals, as had happened in Teesside.
So what is it that draws this reminiscence? #5 and #16 set me resonating since after the Tees Bay I sailed in the Akassa Palm but I have no recollection of bars from that vessel.
When the Tees Bay victualled at Kinderdijk there was so vast provision that all unoccupied cabin space was packed tight with grub and booze. The trip was expected to take about two months (and almost did) with a refurbishing stop at Cape Town. However it wasn't just the ship that was going out on 'spec'. I think, apart from me, the three 'British certificates' were as well - freelancers they'd be called today I suppose. The capt. was a gruff Scot and the mate was ex-Andrew (commissioned) and P & O. The chief was a Belgian who lived in Staines.
In Sydney at least one of them was offered a job.
Here we have a situation. A company generous to overflowing. A crew of familiars used to working round the clock in an abundance of grime on a vessel with three temporary overlords. Ps and Qs come to mind. The company had decided that each man could have a case of beer per day, free gratis, till the job was done. The old man said 'No!'. Later he did other things which were probably not dredger pc. He did make a concession on the beer and we got a can of beer each day, free-gratis (that's 6 more per week than I got sailing for Shell now I come to think of it.
So we got to Sydney. I don't know what happened with the Chief, I seem to remember he was going home all along. The company offered a permanent job to the mate. The old-man? Last I saw of him he was searching for the local Lodge to practise his hand-shake and find another ship. 'Krape-fruit' the schiffers called him.
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  #23  
Old 17th December 2012, 21:54
BOB.WHITTAKER BOB.WHITTAKER is offline  
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Spent some thirty odd years both deepsea and offshore (General Cargo,Bulkers,Gas Tankers, OBO's,Dive Support Ships,Rigs and Platforms)and saw both sides of the situation both drink and dry, my preference in both spheres is dry. Even when rationed there will always be the risk of either physical aggravation or dereliction of duty.There are that many well publicised incidents that I don't need to list them. If dry not only do you know what state the next man is going to be in if called upon you stand a chance of being in a fit state yourself if needed. I could add there is nothing worse than a reformed character and my comments are made on reflection of situations I have been in myself. Bob Whittaker

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  #24  
Old 23rd December 2012, 01:20
BOB.WHITTAKER BOB.WHITTAKER is offline  
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Witness the incident reported in the media 21 December,fishing boat taking on water.All on board rescued and breathalysed, all over the drink drive drive limit.Fishing boats or merchant ships,whats the difference ! ! !
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  #25  
Old 23rd December 2012, 06:05
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ART6 You are right on the money the job comes first, not the political correct mob. Who have no balls but need an excusse to save thier ****.
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