Originally Posted by John Cassels
Then I must have run my operation differently, for example :-
Prestow was sent to the ship prior to arrival.
Ch.mate was given one of the terminal radios so he was in direct
contact with me , the duty ships planner and where circumstances
required , with the foreman and even the crane driver.
Having also been ch.mate on container ships I was fully aware of the
various shortcomings you mention so when coming ashore , knew
what was required.
The only UK container terminal I ever dealt with was Felixstowe, which was actually one of the better ones. Bremerhaven and the old port of Rotterdam (Pernis) were pretty good, too. However, in too many other instances, communications with the cargo office consisted of leaving the ship and walking to the marine office (often some considerable distance away) to find the person in charge. I saw a Chief Mate nearly killed while walking to the cargo office at Fos, France, when a passing truck turned a corner too sharply and toppled over right next to him!
In the case of a hatch cover or a container being improperly placed, too often the only communication recourse was to shout and wave one's arms at the crane operator high above. In some of the more modern ports, such as Europoort Rotterdam, the longshore gang leave the ship as soon as they've completed unlashing, and don't return until cargo has completed loading and they are ready to lash, so there isn't any foreman at the ship to talk to at all.
All in all, considering that these times are so often referred to as the "Information Age", it often seemed to me as though the "Information Age" had passed the container industry by. At least, it too often seemed that those of us on the ships were left completely "out of the loop".