Ships Illustrated BP's Early Large Tankers - Ships Nostalgia
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Ships Illustrated BP's Early Large Tankers

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  #1  
Old 20th December 2015, 09:31
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Ships Illustrated BP's Early Large Tankers

I've just read the above magazine special written by Ray Solly and the only problem I have with it is the statement that, "On all BP ships and every other British ship for that matter, every Radio Officer held a First Class PMG certificate ........ Not true as we all know and perhaps most RO's probably went to sea with a 2nd class certificate.
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  #2  
Old 20th December 2015, 10:04
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There were undoubtedly a lot of R/O's who went to sea with a 2nd class PMG. Many just had that ticket for their entire seagoing career, although a lot did return to get 1st class at a later date. When I trained in the mid 60's I am well aware of more than half of my class obtaining their 2nd class tickets and joining, in general, Marconi's and going to sea. I always felt that after 18 months of college the call of the sea was too great and more enticing that months more of study to get what was in reality a hard 1st Class ticket to obtain with a 70% theory pass mark. I personally stayed on to get my 1st class, but many did not.
In terms of employment it was pretty much horses for courses. This is a broad generalisation which I cannot back up but my feeling was if you went direct employed you had to have a 1st class ticket, unless the company was really short. You could certainly join Marconi with a 2nd class ticket, I am not sure about the other radio companies. I was directly employed by Brocklebank and P&O and do not know of any 2nd class tickets with them, but no doubt one or two were in there somewhere.
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  #3  
Old 20th December 2015, 10:57
david freeman david freeman is offline  
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decorum young man.

BP only sailed to my knowledge with a single radio officer? What ever certificate he was privy to the company codes, and ships/HQ messages and code books, was he not? A respected position.
In certain Shipping companies such as liners/cargo liner that were required to maintain a watch greater than 12/16 hours a day then they were required by the regs to carry 2 radio officers.
Most of the merchant fleet and deepsea fishing fleets of the red duster where only keeping a radio watch while at sea for a limited period, unless a distress call was being made or answered?
Question for you to consider? Your title was I believe as folklore would have it the only person to sign the articles as an officer? did you not have the micheal taken about 'Bums and stiffs' of who and who did not sign the articles as ships officers? answers on a post card please
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  #4  
Old 20th December 2015, 15:56
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I joined BP in the late 60's with a 2nd class PMG and radar certificate. There was no requirement to have a 1st class PMG or to return to get one. When I was at college the shipping companies that directly employed RO's and required a 1st class certificate were P&O and I think Blue Funnel - to the best of my knowledge. A friend of mine joined the RFA with a 2nd class certificate.

But I do not want to sully what was a good magazine with this one criticism and I mention it only as a matter of factual correction.
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  #5  
Old 20th December 2015, 17:22
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Further to Tony's statement in #2 above, when I applied to Brocklebanks in late 62/early 63 they not only insisted on a 1st Class PMG as a condition of employment but the MOT Radar Maintenance Certificate as well. Although there were loads of job opportunities at that time with Marconi and a range of direct employment shipping companies I guess I was enticed by the thought that they must be a fantastic company to work for (as they were) to insist on that level of qualification from a junior R/O. The more exclusive an organisation, the more you want to join. A bit like a golf club!
Regards
John
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  #6  
Old 20th December 2015, 18:33
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I have no great faith in shipping companies appreciating the difference or providing work fit for the qualification.

I am sure they eagerly took up AMEC just to get an R/O who didn't start drinking until after dinner. I must have disappointed, but only in that regard (I hope).
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  #7  
Old 20th December 2015, 19:07
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John, I joined Brock's a year after you and they had dropped the insistence on the Radar Ticket at that time. Perhaps they had a gap in the manning system and let me sneak in through the back door. They did send me to get the radar ticket though before promoting me to Senior R/O. To link to another thread about a video of Middlesbrough on the board, my reward for promotion and getting my radar ticket was to be posted to the bloody Lucigen, a perennial favourite on here as 'the worst ship I sailed on.' Mixed blessing that was.
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  #8  
Old 21st December 2015, 06:58
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This is an interesting thread. When I did my ticket there was only one class available, the MRGC. Does anyone know when the regs were changed and the MRGC came in? I did mine late (1979) compared to some of the old timers in SN.

John
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Old 21st December 2015, 08:56
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Did mine in 79 as well.

Mid 70's, I think.
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  #10  
Old 21st December 2015, 10:04
Bob Murdoch Bob Murdoch is offline  
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In the 1950s, NZ Shipping took guys with 2nd Class PMG. Brockelbank at that time insisted on a Radar ticket before promoting to CRO. They sent them to the Watt Memorial for that. Generally they arrived in pairs. We had two on my course January-March 1958. They were a source of great amusement during our tea break, telling nursery tales in Hindi (?) With Mancunian accents.
All the radio companies took 2nd Class tickets.
I knew several guys from my time, 1956-58, who went to both radio companies and NZ Shipping with 2nd Class. When I went back for my 1st Class, there were others on the course who were also from direct employ, but I cant at this time remember which ones.
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  #11  
Old 21st December 2015, 10:16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by J. Davies View Post
This is an interesting thread. When I did my ticket there was only one class available, the MRGC. Does anyone know when the regs were changed and the MRGC came in? I did mine late (1979) compared to some of the old timers in SN.

John
When I joined Colwyn Bay in 1969 we were the first their to 'do' MRGC the second year were still finishing 2nd Class and one (Warwick Hammerton) was completing 1st Class.
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  #12  
Old 21st December 2015, 12:25
Gordon L Smeaton Gordon L Smeaton is offline  
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I joined BP in 1966 with 2nd class and Radar maintenance, was never encouraged to go for 1st, did'nt stop the company from sending me on Marine Electronics course I did get my 2nd class upgraded to the MRGC later on, was looking for extended time at home so seemed a logical thig to do, and that was after being on the Marine electronics course.
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  #13  
Old 22nd December 2015, 18:54
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2nd Class & Radar did me OK for 20 years. There was hardly any advantage going for 1st Class with BP. I think the money was a bit more.
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  #14  
Old 23rd December 2015, 05:34
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No incentive in OZ for MRGC nor 1st class...
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  #15  
Old 25th December 2015, 14:33
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I wonder what the difference between 1st and 2nd Class PMG and MRGC was?

MRGC (the ticket I got) was heavy on theory but the Morse requirement was quite easy, "code groups at 16 words per minute, and plain language at 20 words per minute".

The electronics theory was a good grounding and I have met several movers and shakers in the marine electronics industry that hold an MRGC but no degree. It was a widely respected ticket.

Last edited by J. Davies; 25th December 2015 at 14:34.. Reason: Christmas
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  #16  
Old 26th December 2015, 09:10
Bob Murdoch Bob Murdoch is offline  
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2nd Class two papers;
1st.Electricity and Magnetism
2nd Radio Theory.
Prior to 1957, these were taken at the same time as the morse, practical and Regs.
After then you had to pass the two theory papers before taking morse etc
In both cases morse was 20 wpm PL, 16 groups pm code.

1st class was the same two papers but more advanced and morse 25 wpm PL, 20 gpm code.

If the 1st class was taken within 2 years of 2nd class, only Radio Theory paper to be taken and no Regs.
This was good as it meant you could take 2nd. Class, go to sea and make some money and then go back to School for the 1st Class and miss the damned Q code!
Cheers Bob
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  #17  
Old 26th December 2015, 12:11
Bob Murdoch Bob Murdoch is offline  
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I took my 2nd Dec 1957, I think we were the first to take the new 2 part exam. Obviously, I cant dispute what you took in 1956, but even when I started at Watt Memorial in 1956 we had two different classes for the two papers with two different instructers. Maybe they knew of the upcoming change in exams and started preparing early. We did not do a lot of mixing with the classes ahead of us except for those who dropped back a class.
In New Zealand where I actually took my 1st Class, the set up was as you describe it. I actually passed my 1st class first part in Scotland in March, 1959 but was lured back to Marconi for a quick 6 week trip before I had the result....build up some more money etc before I had the result. When I got back to Scotland in December 1959, I had a couple of weeks to take my 2nd part in 12/13 Jan 1960. I failed.
The Union SS Co started to give study leave to R O s in 1963 and I was one of the first couple to get it. When talking to the Radio Inspectors in Auckland, I was lured ashore to join them.
We were lucky in those days!,
Cheers Bob
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  #18  
Old 27th December 2015, 00:56
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Quote:
Originally Posted by J. Davies View Post
This is an interesting thread. When I did my ticket there was only one class available, the MRGC. Does anyone know when the regs were changed and the MRGC came in? I did mine late (1979) compared to some of the old timers in SN.

John

Like Dave Varley I started MRGC at Colwyn Bay in 1979 and finished it at Riversdale in 1971. I believe we were the first throughput. My 'ticket' is number M/54

Regards

Peter
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  #19  
Old 27th December 2015, 01:34
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Peter, A life spent at C rather than at sea?
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  #20  
Old 27th December 2015, 13:46
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Eccleson View Post
Like Dave Varley I started MRGC at Colwyn Bay in 1979 and finished it at Riversdale in 1971. I believe we were the first throughput. My 'ticket' is number M/54

Regards

Peter
I believe that the first MRGC issued were to the three, maybe four lecturers at NCRS, Preston. The issued numbers being 11 to 14. The first 1 to 10 being issued to the Radio Examiners.
My MRGC is M/389 from 1973 issued at NCRS.

Jmac.
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  #21  
Old 27th December 2015, 15:57
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Direct employ

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Originally Posted by R651400 View Post
The only direct employ company in the 50's to take RO's with a 2nd Class PMG was Blue Funnel which was the pass I and my contemporaries had when taking up our first appointment.
I don't recall anyone in this era ever taking their 1st Class before the 2nd and think by PMG regs wasn't allowed though there may have been some who stayed on at college to do so.
Bibby Line direct employ took 2nd class , I joined in 1950. Then after 4 trips took the 1st. Several of the older ROs still had 2nd and never bothered with the 1st before leaving. Cheers, Roger
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Old 29th December 2015, 20:57
holland25 holland25 is offline  
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Didn't there used to be some requirements for ships with more than 12 passengers requiring a 1st Class PMG to be in charge? I seem to have been under the impression that the P and H boats would have needed a 1st Class for one of the R/Os.
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Old 30th December 2015, 08:53
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The shipping companies I sailed with were almost exclusively manned with Marconi R/O's. I don't know if they had 1st or 2nd class certificates but they all had Irish Passports. Was there a small Marconi factory somewhere in Eire manufacturing R/O's designed to work strange hours, run the officers bar and always ready for a run ashore with the lads?
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Old 30th December 2015, 09:57
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The small Marconi factories were in fact a couple of colleges in Ireland producing R/O's to exactly the same standard as mainland UK. A very high percentage of these R/O's did in fact join Marconi although I am not particularly sure why. I have always felt there was some private arrangement between the colleges and Marconi and very soon after qualification they were on the ferry bound for Liverpool and a visit to the GTZM office. We have a lot of Irish R/O's within the ROA and I am open to correction on this but I think they all joined Marconi's, at least at the start of their career. Again from memory I think there were a mixture of tickets though, don't think they were all 2nd class by any means.
At the peak there were a lot of Irish R/O's in the British Merchant Navy.
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  #25  
Old 30th December 2015, 11:02
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Any requirement for a 1st class certificate was at the behest of the shipping company. Naturally companies operating passenger liners would want to give every reassurance to the passengers that they had the best qualified officers. Hence having third officers with masters tickets whereas I sailed on BP tankers where the chief officer didn't have a masters ticket. Horses for courses as they say.
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