Useless Chief Engineers - Ships Nostalgia
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Useless Chief Engineers

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  #1  
Old 23rd October 2008, 14:08
Hillview Hillview is offline  
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Useless Chief Engineers

Does anybody have stories about useless chief engineers who were as like proverbial chocolate tea pots.
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  #2  
Old 23rd October 2008, 14:41
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NO I dont..... and I don't think this sort of thread is desirable!
The moderators may want to remove this.
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  #3  
Old 23rd October 2008, 14:52
K urgess K urgess is offline
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A reasonable subject for discussion but probably dominated by sour grapes.
The minute it is possible to identify anyone involved it WILL be moderated.
No oil and water, please.
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  #4  
Old 23rd October 2008, 15:14
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Never came across one, to be a chief you came up through the ranks and you also had to get a ticket from the BOT, so no idiots got through.
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  #5  
Old 23rd October 2008, 15:25
Chouan Chouan is offline  
 
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I sailed with one when I was a Cadet on the City of Wellington, I won't mention the year. His idea of being Chief was to do office work in the morning, then sunbathe in the afternoon. When there was an emergency and the Second called upon him for help, his response was to shout "What do you want me to do, wave my f***ing ticket at it?!" before going back to his sunlounger.

I would assume that he had served his time from Junior upwards, but that once he'd reached the lofty pinnacle, his working days were through.
"The working class can kiss my ar$e, I've got my Chief's job at last", (to the tune of the International, otherwise known as the Red Flag)
as it were.
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  #6  
Old 23rd October 2008, 15:51
Steve Woodward Steve Woodward is offline  
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I hope this does'nt turn into an all out warfare thread.
Hanging on my cabin bulkhead at home is a miniature steering wheel picture frame , turned up out of scrap wood on the engine room lathe by a Chief Engineer, it is well made and a reminder of a great trip on the Pacific Wave.
Sadly I cannot remember the Chiefs name but he was a gentleman and an excellent Engineer
Steve
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  #7  
Old 23rd October 2008, 16:06
cmakin cmakin is offline  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hillview View Post
Does anybody have stories about useless chief engineers who were as like proverbial chocolate tea pots.
About as many stories that I have of useless Captains. . . .
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  #8  
Old 23rd October 2008, 16:10
Pat Hughes Pat Hughes is offline  
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Woodward View Post
I hope this does'nt turn into an all out warfare thread.
Steve
agree with quote
I sailed with one or two who must have made life very unpleasant for the Second. The general principle being that calling for assistance from the Chief was almost like tendering your resignation. Not a nice regime to work under.
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  #9  
Old 23rd October 2008, 16:10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chouan View Post
I sailed with one when I was a Cadet on the City of Wellington, I won't mention the year. His idea of being Chief was to do office work in the morning, then sunbathe in the afternoon. When there was an emergency and the Second called upon him for help, his response was to shout "What do you want me to do, wave my f***ing ticket at it?!" before going back to his sunlounger.

I would assume that he had served his time from Junior upwards, but that once he'd reached the lofty pinnacle, his working days were through.
"The working class can kiss my ar$e, I've got my Chief's job at last", (to the tune of the International, otherwise known as the Red Flag)
as it were.
You mean that kind of behaviour from ones seniors wasn't regarded as normal?

LOL

The above could apply to just about any senior rank on the ship, whither they be Deck, Engine, Radio or Catering. It usually meant peace and quiet for the rest of us in that there wasn't a 4 Striper breathing down your neck or interfering, and indeed I'm sure most of us would prefer that to some of these so called 'pro-active' 4 stripers. Still, we seemed to all survive.
Best one I had was an Old Man who would fall out of his bunk at 0730, brekkie in his Cabin, then wander into his little office for 0800. Paperwork till 1000, then the rest of the day bronzing/reading/boozing etc. His mantra was that if you couldn't finish your paperwork by smoko you were either doing something wrong or you were milking it so as to look busy. A great old Bloke and very laid back, however he was always there and ready when you needed him, and never there when you didn't, something I tended to find from most of the Old Boys (of all Departments) who spent most of their trip relaxing. Can say I never sailed with someone who refused to help their juniors when asked.
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Last edited by James_C; 23rd October 2008 at 16:15..
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  #10  
Old 23rd October 2008, 16:41
Tam Broon Tam Broon is offline  
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Like others, I could name those in every rank (from Deck Boy to Master) who would meet this criteria. It is interesting that the only one so far who points the finger at a particular person is from a member who was a Cadet at the time.

Tom
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  #11  
Old 23rd October 2008, 17:03
Andrew Price Andrew Price is offline  
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Perhaps the term ' USELESS' is the wrong term.
Perhaps it should be UNFIT or BAD, which could apply equally to all departments, the Deck (Captain), Engineering (C/E) and Catering (C/Steward) and usually is the result of alcohol abuse, lack of experience or fear / anger (Psychological problems) or some combination.
Just because you have a Chiefs or Masters Ticket does not mean you can do the job effectively and efficiently.
A phrase I used to hear a lot from more elderly Captains & C/Eng. on UK Ships that used to insense me, was, refering to their respective deputy's that " they had only been up for 24 hours and so were only just waking up".
Just because it used to be done decades or generations ago does not make it right now.
Like Chouan, I've sailed with some unfit senior officers, both UK and Foreign Flag, but must say that in the main, regardless of nationality, they were competant.
It should also be remembered but often forgot that one of the duties of a senior officer is to develope and train junior officers, and that especially includes developing their experience and self confidence.
Without the latter, all academic training counts for nothing.
Its counter-productive, especially when the C/E goes hurtling down the E/R, for every minor fault.
Who has ever wanted the Chief or Captain hanging round and interfering with the routine opertation your Engine Room or Bridge, 24/7.
Not I, but at times, on their infrequent visits, many of them would impart some of their experiences and knowledgeto me, which in some cases was later found to be useful.

Andy PRICE
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  #12  
Old 23rd October 2008, 17:15
ROBERT HENDERSON ROBERT HENDERSON is offline  
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In fifty years at sea I cannot recall a C/E that I could actually describe as useless. All of my officer time was spent on coasters, I would have resented it very much as Mate if the Master was breathing down my neck all the time, I can imagine the Second Engineneer would fell the same is his competence is called into question by the C/E interfering all the time. In all professions some senior people are better than others, but to use the term useless is too harsh a word.

Regards Robert
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  #13  
Old 23rd October 2008, 17:38
jimmys jimmys is offline  
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Chief Engineers

I sailed with an elderly Chief Engineer on a VLCC. When the lift was out he could not make the engine room. With the lift he made the control room no further. He had been torpedoed three times during the war and had spent a month as Senior Officer in an open boat in the Atlantic. There was a Senior Second (me), a Junior Second and six watchkeepers. He was entitled to see his time out. The old man Reggie White made sure he was not short of a bevvy or two.
He was not useless just finished. I would never have bothered him.

regards
jimmy
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  #14  
Old 23rd October 2008, 17:52
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Ron Stringer Ron Stringer is offline
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Isn't it a fact of life that every man doing a job is convinced that he could do his boss's job much better than the boss? Most people that I sailed with, and worked with ashore, seemed tohave the view that the boss was an old-stick-in-the-mud who just wouldn't take the trouble to learn new ways.

Sort of variation on the generation gap. My view was (both as a worker and a boss) that the best boss was always there when required and never around when he wasn't. Met a few like that, but not many.
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  #15  
Old 23rd October 2008, 17:55
A.J.McMahon A.J.McMahon is offline  
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Ch. Engineer

Quote:
Originally Posted by jimmys View Post
I sailed with an elderly Chief Engineer on a VLCC. When the lift was out he could not make the engine room. With the lift he made the control room no further. He had been torpedoed three times during the war and had spent a month as Senior Officer in an open boat in the Atlantic. There was a Senior Second (me), a Junior Second and six watchkeepers. He was entitled to see his time out. The old man Reggie White made sure he was not short of a bevvy or two.
He was not useless just finished. I would never have bothered him.

regards
jimmy
Well done Jimmy, I'll drink to that. Regards AJM.
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  #16  
Old 23rd October 2008, 20:46
Chouan Chouan is offline  
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tam Broon View Post
Like others, I could name those in every rank (from Deck Boy to Master) who would meet this criteria. It is interesting that the only one so far who points the finger at a particular person is from a member who was a Cadet at the time.

Tom
Does that disqualify me from commenting?

It was the fact that he didn't help, when that help was requested, that made him useless. If he was of no use in an emergency, what was he for?
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  #17  
Old 23rd October 2008, 21:28
JoK JoK is offline  
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Yes, as a matter of fact I have a number of them that I have run into.Since it is common consensus from more then a few, it is not merely sour grapes on my part. If I had the power, I'd have fired them years ago.
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  #18  
Old 23rd October 2008, 21:45
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Don't want to say "I told you so" but this thread should not have started!
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  #19  
Old 23rd October 2008, 22:30
Philthechill Philthechill is offline  
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Thumbs down Must agree!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Isaac View Post
Don't want to say "I told you so" but this thread should not have started!
Chris! I've got to agree with you. I vote it's given "the deep six". Salaams, Phil
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  #20  
Old 23rd October 2008, 22:37
randcmackenzie randcmackenzie is offline  
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Me too. I prefer to remember with great affection and respect the fine Chief Engineers I did sail with.
There was never any way they weren't going to fix it.
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  #21  
Old 23rd October 2008, 22:39
K urgess K urgess is offline
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Thank you for your sage advice gentlemen.
As stated in post number three there's not an awful lot wrong with it.
If the subject is so distasteful to you all then the simple solution is not to read or participate.
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  #22  
Old 23rd October 2008, 23:42
Chouan Chouan is offline  
 
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As has been pointed out, there were people of all ranks who I'm sure we all sailed with, from 4 stripes to none, of all departments, who could have been considered useless. This thread, however, is about Chiefs. Perhaps a member could start a thread about each rank to balance things out so that ex-Chiefs don't feel picked on, especially if they feel that people of their lofty status are being picked on by a member of insufficient seniority.
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  #23  
Old 23rd October 2008, 23:55
benjidog benjidog is offline
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In all walks of life there are the good, the bad and the indifferent.

If you are stuck with "the bad" it sours your views on life unfortunately. Most of them get their come uppance eventually, but it can take years before it happens - sometimes it never does! Sometimes you can give matters a helping hand if you put your mind to it.
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  #24  
Old 23rd October 2008, 23:58
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I don't think this thread is in the spirit of SN and think it should be scrubbed.
It's only a matter of time until someone lets slip something which can be used to identify the "Useless Chief", and the alarming thing is, it could be ME!!

Derek
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  #25  
Old 24th October 2008, 00:04
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This is a very sad forum. Many of us who sailed with certain Mates, Engineers, Deck, Engine and Catering staff in the 70's probably failed to appreciate that as young men they were faced with the constant threat of U Boat attack. Yes we have all sailed with those with problems, on their last chance. I learned a lot from many of them. I will name one of them. ****** ****** , could hardly walk, tried to stay of the drink but what a wonderful mate. "Peter my boy, leap along the deck with the agility of a young gazelle and summon the bosun. Barry fought his alcoholism, I can't imagine the pain he must have felt. I walked into his cabin one early morning and saw him sitting on his daybed tears running down his face. Years later in the Fed office I saw his discharge book sitting in an out tray. I had to hold back the tears. One trip as cadet, the third mate was 60, severe drink problem, died in Brazil. He had been AB during the war. Made third mate and continued with the companies support until the drink killed him. A very sad little funeral in an obscure Brazilian Port. The only family he had was his old mother and his shipmates. I will name him as well. ***** ***** . Both had drink problems but served well in circumstances most of us could not imagine.

I and I think most of us feel that such a forum is inappropriate. There but the grace of god go I.

Peter

Last edited by benjidog; 24th October 2008 at 00:14.. Reason: Personal names removed
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