Especially worn wire, that was much like barbed wire... But it was the spring that was of wire, going forward from the bow and aft from the stern we used synthetic ropes. (In these pictures from the fifties though, it looks like all wire.) Something that stayed new because we had the tradition that the chief mate could sell what was written off of that stuff. A "fringe good" it was called, though some would of course call it theft... (==D)
As I remember it there was a combination for the springs though, small strips of jute or something in-between the steel, probably to make it more pliable. Pretty hard to coil in a neat coil anyway.
When I was young, with my brothers, we went to the shore on our bikes. The council were building a "barrier" to stop the sand dunes shifting onto the golf course. The material was rubble from demolished houses in Liverpool and there were gems to be found, like gas masks and a load of cast iron (sold on to Hector's!).
Anyway, they had a crane which mounted a "gondola" to collect and reposition the rubble on the barrier. Some yobs from the estate had climbed the jib and then thought it would be great fun to slide down the highly greased hoist cables to the beach. Yes, as Stein says, akin to barbed wire! An ambulance and fire engine were in attendance: As said yob slid down the cable, broken strands pierced his hands and he remained stuck on the cable! Then there were the yobs that tried to "vault" the school railings.................I saw several getting the railing cut off and stretchered to hospital with the railing tip still in their thigh/groin!
The wires that had a combination we called Dutch wire ****s of things to work also when using a drum end always came over the top I would think it was more awkward coming from below as seen in the photo.
You are right. They were Dutch wires. I don't think it was a 'normal' name for them. Can't find it anywhere about it. Had a couple of them on Naess Pioneer. Never saw them on any other ship. I think it would be a rather bad way to use the.... under the drum. One slip and your hand and gloves and are would be dragged under the drum.