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  #1  
Old 28th October 2016, 11:58
hillbilly hillbilly is offline  
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Your Longest Trip

Not many company's did "trips" (if thats the correct word) longer than the Bank Line. Two year articles were the norm and on it wasn't un-common to do such a stint! Whether married with a family or not one accepted such a condition of employment hoping above hope that a short little "copra run" of around 5-7 months might be the order of the day rather than several times round the world and back. If you was lucky enough and I say lucky because it was such a great run, to get on one of the Africa -Oriental runs on the likes of the Garybank, then you knew from the off it was going to be a minimum of 15 months. As for myself well after 15 months on the Rowanbank I was transferred to the Garybank where I did another very enjoyable couple of months before being flown home from Hong Kong. All in all a trip of around 17 months or so. These days I guess guys are lucky to be away much more than 6 months.
So what was your longest trip and are there any of you 2 year guys out there?
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  #2  
Old 28th October 2016, 14:30
Engine Serang Engine Serang is offline  
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Did 5 months once to get seatime for Seconds Ticket. What a bummer.
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  #3  
Old 28th October 2016, 14:50
P.Arnold P.Arnold is offline
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14 months. Did New York, West Indies, up the Amazon to Iquitos in Peru, back to New York. Each trip was to have been 3 months, did Four "round trips".
At the age of 19, what an adventure. After that most trips 4 to 5 months
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  #4  
Old 28th October 2016, 14:54
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When I signed on to the Weybank in 1970 it was stated up front that we would do 15 months. After 13 months we entered Liverpool and they kindly relieved the entire crowd two months early.

I visited the Marconi Depot in Liverpool before going home and they asked me if I could make do with two weeks leave as they were very short staffed. I replied that I didn't think much of that idea (only not quite in those words.)
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  #5  
Old 28th October 2016, 15:36
stehogg stehogg is offline  
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Longest trip

July 1967 to April 1969,got both the sea time in and the income tax back!!
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  #6  
Old 28th October 2016, 15:56
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Two Year Trips...

Did 23 months and 5 days on the maiden voyage of the "Fleetbank" on 1953-1955. So much for short trips on the Copra Boat! Next trip after a two-week leave was the combination of the "Laganbank" and "Ettrickbank" with transfer in Durban and a full two years was the answer. At least the "Ettrick" was on the Oriental African Line with a Chinese crew so no tears were shed.

Need less to say, I had done my sea time for Second Mate's in two trips away from home aged 17 to 20! Even after all that, I was on "Inchanga" for two years, then on "Carronbank" (Oriental African Line again ... who's lucky?) for two years, so do I hold the record for FOUR back-to-back two year trips (1953 to 1963) in post-WWII Bank Line?
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  #7  
Old 28th October 2016, 16:24
hillbilly hillbilly is offline  
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WOW!!!
Thats the way to do it Alistair.

Mmmmmm the Inchanga and the 15 months on the Africa/Oriental though sounds pretty dam good to me though. I don't think Id have even bothered with coming home.

I did use to hear of guys doing "double
headers" on the far east run. Maybe they had girlfriends in Singapore and Nagoya amongst other places!! Young and single who'd want to. Thank you Bank Line
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  #8  
Old 28th October 2016, 16:32
Hamish Mackintosh Hamish Mackintosh is offline  
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19 months on the Ivybank circa 49/52, no copra run tho, just up and down the Pacific running phosphate to NZ and south Oz
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Old 28th October 2016, 17:35
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Joined the RFA Cherryleaf 8 Dec 1963 and sailed from Rosyth. Paid off the RFA Tidespring 26 July 1965 and flew home a week later. Never set foot back in UK after leaving Rosyth. Income tax man very kind man!
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  #10  
Old 28th October 2016, 18:45
Engine Serang Engine Serang is offline  
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#2. I think I've strayed into a Bank Line thread. Sorry.
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  #11  
Old 28th October 2016, 19:18
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This one.
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  #12  
Old 28th October 2016, 19:32
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'Clydebank'.
2 years, 1 month & 6 days (Apr '55 to May '57).
Mike.
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  #13  
Old 28th October 2016, 20:03
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My first trip was eighteen months, visiting East Africa, the Gulf states, India and Pakistan, the Philippines and Australia, then to Sweden for a guarantee refit via Hamburg to discharge a cargo, before returning to the Far East via the Suez Canal. I loved every minute of it and couldn't wait to get back when my leave was up!
In my chauvinistic young eyes it was a man's life, exciting, sometimes dangerous, always hard work, with political correctness and "human rights" nowhere in sight -- "Sign here and forget your prissy shore side habits. Work 'till you drop if necessary because 'The Job" is more important than you are!"
No women on board, and certainly no such thing as female officers. One could walk from one's cabin to the laundry for a fresh boiler suit completely naked, and no-one would bat an eyelid. Women were those exciting and exotic creatures that one found on trips ashore, not always to one's benefit!
The master was God, and his archangel was the chief engineer who should, for an insignificant junior engineer, be avoided at all costs. The senior second ("Sec") was the mentor who made one follow every bloody pipe and identify every valve throughout the whole ship until one knew what every one did and what to do with it in an emergency. There was the junior second engineer who was the senior watch keeper and responsible for all of the engine room watches and also, mysteriously, called 'Sec", which meant in the event of transgressions one or other of the 'Secs' would get you. That at least was better than being summoned to the chief's cabin.
There was the element of professional pride. On my arrival at my first ship I was assigned as the junior engineer to the fourth engineer on the eight to twelve watch. He didn't seem to be particularly impressed by me, but with a sigh he said "Got a notebook and a pencil? Right, get your ass round the job and feel the bearings on anything you can find, look for leaks from anything, and note all of the pipes and valves and what they do." Then, after a pause, a finger pointed menacingly at the control panel "That red button there is the engineer's alarm. We never, ever, touch that on my watch!" That remark from one who was the most junior watch keeping engineer stuck with me throughout my time at sea because it was an expression of professional pride.

Years later, having to my surprise obtained my tickets and assumed exalted rank, I started my last trip with my new wife with me. There seemed to be wives all over the bloody ship, and the days of bronzie in the buff were long gone. The trip was four months, and at the end of it I told my new wife that I was leaving the service. "Why?" She asked. "It's the life you love, and I can manage until you come home again."

"No. It's not the same. The adventure has gone. It's not a man's world any longer. I am now just a bloody bus driver!"

I sometimes, in my advancing years, wonder if that is where the industry went wrong. All the rules and regulations, dry ships, short trips where one never ever really got to know the job inside and out and never formed a relationship with the other seafarers, officers or ratings. Never, as an officer, had the time to really think about one's crew (if with crew cuts enforced by the bean counters any remained)-- who needed support, who needed a kick up the ass. The adventure was gone as was the man management.

One last paragraph of this diatribe: On that last trip, in the middle of the night, the engineer's alarm went off. I leaped out of bed, told my new wife not to worry, and hit the engine room sliding down the ladder handrails on my palms as I had always done. The problem? The watch had lost the water level in both boilers and had panicked. Some years before that would have been a minor routine issue for even a fourth engineer, yet the response had been to close the the turbine throttles as fast as possible, only making the whole problem worse! No-one seemed to have any idea what to do when actually the the earlier forth engineer would simply have withdrawn a couple of burners in the boilers for a minute and checked the feed pump to make sure that it was up to pressure. My first fourth engineer watch keeper those years ago would sure as hell never have touched the engineer's alarm, and would have been ribbed to blazes if he ever did so.
So I was glad to leave while being sad to do so, but there was no longer any challenge, no adventure, no pride in being regarded among one's peers, no real discipline. And in later years no bloody booze when the PC activists gained control -- so how can a ships engine room possibly continue to drive the ship without the essential lubricant of Tennant's? How can they be expected to work 24/7 in an attempt to secure the ship in an Indian Ocean typhoon when the s**t has hit the fan and there is not a single bean counter to advise? A single old-time marine engineer could be pissed out of his mind one minute and be firmly on control of the job the next.

Oh well, end of rant folks. I just wonder if the endless encroachment of the PC brigade and the HR departments in shipping companies might have just restricted the one thing that those companies needed -- crews of professional seamen and engineers, young men who needed adventure.

I drink to you my out of date friends, and I am glad to have had the privilege of serving with you, but soon all of this won't matter because autonomous ships will sail the oceans and we will all be relics.

I would drink to you with a can of Tennant's, or even Tiger Beer if necessary, but my nursing home has a no-alcohol policy.
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  #14  
Old 28th October 2016, 21:32
Les Gibson Les Gibson is offline  
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Great stuff ART6
Couldn't agree more. Live long and prosper.
Regards.
Les
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  #15  
Old 28th October 2016, 22:19
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Yep....well put ART6.
I guess life at sea only followed the pattern set by others.
Regress & not progress! (for some of us, anyway!).
Mike.
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  #16  
Old 28th October 2016, 22:58
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First trip to sea on the maple bank was 18 months,then a 13 month trip on the etivebank,then it was 2 years to the day as senior ap on the Clydebank.(African/oriental
First trip as 3rd mate was 2 years as third mate on the Isipingo,then 2 years as second mate on the Ettrickbank(africa/oriental
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  #17  
Old 29th October 2016, 00:50
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Hey Jim....hope you're keeping well!
Can remember joining Clydebank in Kiel with yourself & several others.
Where did you leave her? Were you there when we did Montevideo, BA, Rosario & Necochea? Did you leave in Antwerp? It all seems so long ago now!
Kind Regards!
Mike. (now age 80 & with 5 grandkids & 2 'greats').
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  #18  
Old 29th October 2016, 01:46
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Stephen J. Card Stephen J. Card is offline  
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From June 1970 to February 1974 I was able to make just about two 'leave periods' totalling 3 months. Funny, back then I was after sea time and that was all that it mattered.
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  #19  
Old 29th October 2016, 08:58
DURANGO DURANGO is offline  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ART6 View Post
My first trip was eighteen months, visiting East Africa, the Gulf states, India and Pakistan, the Philippines and Australia, then to Sweden for a guarantee refit via Hamburg to discharge a cargo, before returning to the Far East via the Suez Canal. I loved every minute of it and couldn't wait to get back when my leave was up!
In my chauvinistic young eyes it was a man's life, exciting, sometimes dangerous, always hard work, with political correctness and "human rights" nowhere in sight -- "Sign here and forget your prissy shore side habits. Work 'till you drop if necessary because 'The Job" is more important than you are!"
No women on board, and certainly no such thing as female officers. One could walk from one's cabin to the laundry for a fresh boiler suit completely naked, and no-one would bat an eyelid. Women were those exciting and exotic creatures that one found on trips ashore, not always to one's benefit!
The master was God, and his archangel was the chief engineer who should, for an insignificant junior engineer, be avoided at all costs. The senior second ("Sec") was the mentor who made one follow every bloody pipe and identify every valve throughout the whole ship until one knew what every one did and what to do with it in an emergency. There was the junior second engineer who was the senior watch keeper and responsible for all of the engine room watches and also, mysteriously, called 'Sec", which meant in the event of transgressions one or other of the 'Secs' would get you. That at least was better than being summoned to the chief's cabin.
There was the element of professional pride. On my arrival at my first ship I was assigned as the junior engineer to the fourth engineer on the eight to twelve watch. He didn't seem to be particularly impressed by me, but with a sigh he said "Got a notebook and a pencil? Right, get your ass round the job and feel the bearings on anything you can find, look for leaks from anything, and note all of the pipes and valves and what they do." Then, after a pause, a finger pointed menacingly at the control panel "That red button there is the engineer's alarm. We never, ever, touch that on my watch!" That remark from one who was the most junior watch keeping engineer stuck with me throughout my time at sea because it was an expression of professional pride.

Years later, having to my surprise obtained my tickets and assumed exalted rank, I started my last trip with my new wife with me. There seemed to be wives all over the bloody ship, and the days of bronzie in the buff were long gone. The trip was four months, and at the end of it I told my new wife that I was leaving the service. "Why?" She asked. "It's the life you love, and I can manage until you come home again."

"No. It's not the same. The adventure has gone. It's not a man's world any longer. I am now just a bloody bus driver!"

I sometimes, in my advancing years, wonder if that is where the industry went wrong. All the rules and regulations, dry ships, short trips where one never ever really got to know the job inside and out and never formed a relationship with the other seafarers, officers or ratings. Never, as an officer, had the time to really think about one's crew (if with crew cuts enforced by the bean counters any remained)-- who needed support, who needed a kick up the ass. The adventure was gone as was the man management.

One last paragraph of this diatribe: On that last trip, in the middle of the night, the engineer's alarm went off. I leaped out of bed, told my new wife not to worry, and hit the engine room sliding down the ladder handrails on my palms as I had always done. The problem? The watch had lost the water level in both boilers and had panicked. Some years before that would have been a minor routine issue for even a fourth engineer, yet the response had been to close the the turbine throttles as fast as possible, only making the whole problem worse! No-one seemed to have any idea what to do when actually the the earlier forth engineer would simply have withdrawn a couple of burners in the boilers for a minute and checked the feed pump to make sure that it was up to pressure. My first fourth engineer watch keeper those years ago would sure as hell never have touched the engineer's alarm, and would have been ribbed to blazes if he ever did so.
So I was glad to leave while being sad to do so, but there was no longer any challenge, no adventure, no pride in being regarded among one's peers, no real discipline. And in later years no bloody booze when the PC activists gained control -- so how can a ships engine room possibly continue to drive the ship without the essential lubricant of Tennant's? How can they be expected to work 24/7 in an attempt to secure the ship in an Indian Ocean typhoon when the s**t has hit the fan and there is not a single bean counter to advise? A single old-time marine engineer could be pissed out of his mind one minute and be firmly on control of the job the next.

Oh well, end of rant folks. I just wonder if the endless encroachment of the PC brigade and the HR departments in shipping companies might have just restricted the one thing that those companies needed -- crews of professional seamen and engineers, young men who needed adventure.

I drink to you my out of date friends, and I am glad to have had the privilege of serving with you, but soon all of this won't matter because autonomous ships will sail the oceans and we will all be relics.

I would drink to you with a can of Tennant's, or even Tiger Beer if necessary, but my nursing home has a no-alcohol policy.
But we where there Art when it was worth being there and I,m still there every day in my mind's eye I still yarn and believe it or not I still have an audience best regards
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  #20  
Old 29th October 2016, 10:29
Aberdonian Aberdonian is offline  
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1957/’58, 17 months duration:

Foylebank; Bromborough – Hamburg – Coatzacoalcos – Houston – Baton Rouge – New Orleans – Lake Charles – Port Arthur – Cristobal – Panama – Brisbane – Adelaide – Melbourne – Sydney – Newcastle – Honiara – Guadalcanal – Yandina – Gizo – Rabaul – Colombo – (Transferred to Tielbank) – Madras – Calcutta – Bassein – Rangoon – Colombo – Mombasa – Zanzibar – Dar-es-Salaam – Mtwara – Beira – Lourenco Marques – Durban – Bathurst – Dakar – Rio de Janeiro – Durban – Singapore – Dairen – Nagasaki – Nauru Island – New Plymouth – Montevideo – Port of Spain – Galveston – Houston.

All a bit relative since a year in a tanker can seem as longsome!

Keith

Last edited by Aberdonian; 29th October 2016 at 10:33..
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  #21  
Old 29th October 2016, 13:09
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Hugh Ferguson Hugh Ferguson is offline  
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This one.
You'd need a book to record the events of this, seemingly, never ending voyage but I have no intention of doing that.

The port and event which comes most to mind took place in the Italian Port of Ancona.
We had arrived there jam packed, on deck and in every hold, full of a typical war-time cargo. Berthed on a finger jetty; the only berth available for a 7,000 ton ship and the entire cargo to be landed there and all to be handled by British Army labour.

We had only been there a matter of hours to see we were going to have company on the other side: it was a small German hospital ship flying a Swastika!!! The Navy had brought her in for "inspection" and that "inspection" lasted the whole 4 days that it took to discharge our cargo.
We went to action stations one night and heard aircraft being fired at but we were evidently under orders not to open fire. All's fair in love and war I guess.

(Ancona, a once beautiful resort, was in ruins at that time, having been re-taken, for the second time, by British and Canadian forces).

Last edited by Hugh Ferguson; 29th October 2016 at 16:38..
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  #22  
Old 29th October 2016, 13:28
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But we where there Art when it was worth being there and I,m still there every day in my mind's eye I still yarn and believe it or not I still have an audience best regards
Yes I too seem to acquire an audience when with friends and family. They all seem genuinely fascinated by stories of what it was like in an all-aft engine room in the middle of the Indian ocean when it was blowing a hooligan and the bloody ship kept dropping out from under one's feet. Or the guys on the bridge when the ship rolled massively each way and tried to become a submarine, chucking green seas over the bows and hammering the bridge windows trying to get in. The quiet hours on watch down below, standing at the log desk and imagining things that could go wrong and what one would do about it -- total concentration on the job all of the time!

Oddly, sometimes my yarns serve a purpose: My son runs a graphic design company, and recently was called in by the local port authority to offer them ideas and a quote for a new web site. One of the questions they asked him was if he was familiar with shipping and port activities. He replied "I'm not, but my dad was an officer in the Merchant Navy, so he will know. I'll rope him in!"

He got the contract -- although he did neglect to tell them that I was an engineer rather than a deck officer!
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  #23  
Old 29th October 2016, 16:34
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'Clydebank'.
2 years, 1 month & 6 days (Apr '55 to May '57).
Mike.
Did you get to Aden anytime 1955[56?
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  #24  
Old 29th October 2016, 17:03
lakercapt lakercapt is offline  
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  #25  
Old 29th October 2016, 19:14
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Did you get to Aden anytime 1955[56?
No, but we went past Aden in early part of the trip, en route Point Fortin to Karachi!
Mike.
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