Sailing Day Procedure - Page 3 - Ships Nostalgia
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  #51  
Old 3rd June 2007, 10:41
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HENNEGANOL HENNEGANOL is offline  
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I sailed with two Chief Engineers in BP Tankers who were both ex. Blue Flue and who were adamant that they were better off in BP rather than staying with BF. As most of the posts on this thread are from the deck department, I'm wondering if the engineering side was/is of the same opinion.

I don't recall an air of superiority whilst at sea, friendly rivalry yes, between what were well established companies, you made your choice and took your chance as to who you sailed with. If you were not happy you moved on.

If all those Mariners who deserted the Red Ensign to sail with FOC, had stayed with the Red ensign would the British Shipping industry still be in the same mess?

Gerry
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  #52  
Old 3rd June 2007, 11:07
Hague Hague is offline
 
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Gerry,
Were they ex Blue Funnel Chief Engineers ?.... I doubt it. They were probably 2/Eng and moved for promotion and a little more money. Tankers were always considered a 'quick route' for promotion.
You may be confusing superiority with confidence.
As for deserting the Red Ensign. I went to what I considered the best possible place for training in1959/60. At that time Blue Funnel offered that. On passing Second Mates (FG) promotion prospects were abysmal. I moved to tankers and Bulk Carriers until in 72 when old Blue Funnel friend who was Marine Superintendant in LA, Calif offered me a position in FOC. My life. prospects and financial security changed and I never looked back. Ironic that the Red Ensign that people 'clung to' is now nothing more than a FOC. My sympathies for those who did not see the 'writing on the wall'.
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  #53  
Old 3rd June 2007, 11:43
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Hague,

In hindsight I'm sure you are right, that promotion was the incentive to change companies.

I transferred from Shipping to Exploration for the same reasons as you changing flags, as I outlined in an earlier post. Fortunately I remained with the same parent Company and retained the benefits that continous employment brings.

Gerry
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  #54  
Old 3rd June 2007, 14:36
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Hugh Ferguson Hugh Ferguson is offline  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Geoff Garrett View Post
This is rapidly becoming the saddest thread on the Site. With all these fine chaps running what was one of the most reputable shipping companys' in Europe, tell me this, what was it that caused its rapid exit down the gurgler of shipping history?
That must rank as the easiest question ever, to answer. Somebody could do it cheaper!
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  #55  
Old 3rd June 2007, 15:40
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The demise of British Shipping.

The Thatcher Government's inability to grasp the situation regarding foreign flag ships utilising subsidized fuel oil.......their answer to British shipowners was 'learn to stand on your own two feet'!
Containerisation replacing conventional cargo liners.
The BIG WHITE ELEPHANTS Nestor and Gastor. A big Ocean management faux pas.
Say no more.
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  #56  
Old 3rd June 2007, 15:56
cheddarnibbles cheddarnibbles is offline  
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Having served my time with Blue Funnel and foolishly choosing to go elsewhere, there was no opposition from my employer. He was quite happy for me to go away and sink some other companies' ships whilst gaining my experience. However, he did say 'Come back when you get your Master's '.
Apparently, this had been their policy before the war, hence their 'superior' clutch of personnel.
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  #57  
Old 3rd June 2007, 16:15
Ventry Ventry is offline  
 
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Well Geoff Garrett,
I don't think you have much of a 'fan club' in this thread. I stand by what I have already said.
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  #58  
Old 3rd June 2007, 21:41
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I sailed with Ocean in the late sixties as a jun/eng. I left and went elsewhere. I have always regreted leaving a great company.
steviej
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  #59  
Old 3rd June 2007, 22:39
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I was with Ocean until 1978 when about 400 from all departments were made redundant. This was largely due to the advent of containerisation and the competition which appeared in the shape of various 'National Lines'. Like a lot of senior officers who had 'grown up' with the company I left with mixed feelings. We had a great deal of loyalty but could see the way the company was going.
The rot set in in the late 1960s when the various companies in the group, each of which had its own management, were put under a single management structure to form Ocean Fleets, while at the same time the senior management, who were vastly experienced in liner shipping, were getting long in the tooth and gradually retiring to be replaced by accountants and bean counters who, as the saying goes, knew the cost of everything and the value of nothing.

Derek
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  #60  
Old 4th June 2007, 05:00
Geoff Garrett Geoff Garrett is offline  
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Please accept my most sincere apologies, I retract what I said. I forgot where I was.
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  #61  
Old 4th June 2007, 15:41
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Geoff,
You raised a valid point. I was a proud third generation Blue Flu and what Eldersuk says is the bottom line. Without wishing to appear maudlin, I am jotting a few lines that BF'ers inherently understand but if you weren't one would maybe give rise to a mistaken opinion!

During my cadetship, I was sent to Loch Striven to reactivate the Nestor for drydocking, later on I spent several weeks in the "Drawing Office" (it had all gone). Looking through the individual archives for every vessel, I found the last Nestor - Projected cost 13 million final cost nearly 80 million! On a ship that never carried a paying cargo! I agree, it was meltdown in the offices. But, and I hope that I speak for all, the operational people, those on the vessels and in the workshops were very well trained and as Hague says, they are habits that I still use in my work to this day. Again, it was confidence in your ability to do the job probably better than the next man, and dealing with peers under the same understanding. I suppose this is what is misconstrued by many people who were on the outside looking in.

It always makes me laugh - How was the mindset in the offices towards the end? Alfred Holt became a Marine Engineer first and then founded his own shipping line, designing his own vessels and engines - The focus was always the vessels, the line routes and, more importantly, the seastaff that maintained the vessels and the company's name, with high reliability and quality.

I remember one memorable occasion prior to joining ship, going to pick up plane ticket, docs. for the C/E etc in India Buildings. I was with a couple of younger brothers and we were literally emptying the (free) drinks machine. There was a gaggle of people peeking around the corner until one brave soul (pushed I think) came to tell me that the drinks were for the office staff and that I would have to leave. I just turned and snarled "Sea Staff!" which caused a stampede away from me!! I imagine them, to this day with garlic cloves and crucifixes to ward off the savage seafarer! Ha Ha!

And these are not just nostalgic musings. Over time I have come to realize that far from being merely training, a way of life and of doing things was, without you noticing, embedded in you and that was the Blue Funnel way and it showed. Just ask any EngCadet that passed through the Odyssey summer workshop!

I hope that my comments will not be misconstrued and that I haven't rambled too much!

Regards to all,

Dave
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  #62  
Old 4th June 2007, 23:33
Geoff Garrett Geoff Garrett is offline  
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A purely hypothetical question and no offence intended here - Had somebody of vision in India Buildings all that time ago, had the foresight to have had all BF staff sent to be retrained at say, Maersk or Evergreen Lines, then would BF still be a familiar feature of the Liverpool landscape today or indeed at its rightful place on every container terminal in East Asia?
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  #63  
Old 4th June 2007, 23:59
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Geoff,

Remember that I was engine room side, so I can claim no special knowledge. Onboard, it was business as usual, and so when the end came it was all very sudden and unexpected. Right up till the end, we were still beating other lines vessels for the cargo (the RoRos were capable of 21+kts), in other words, there was no cooperation with any other company or rationalization of routes/cargo, simply competition. We were even beating the Wilmhelmsen boats on nominally the same liner service! I feel that it was almost the whim of someone, somewhere to call it quits, no compassion or desire to continue: quits it was!

I agree, if that someone had existed and had the vision and the weight to pull it off......but, the rest is history. A decision was made and in less than two years it was all gone!

Maybe thats why we bleat on about BluFlue etc, because maybe, just maybe we are still a little hurt about how the rug was pulled out from under our feet! I still feel a tinge when on the odd occasion I walk past India Bldgs and the AH houseflag is still flying or Vittoria Dock with the BF logo. A word picture comes to mind - we became, one and all, ghosts!

Regards,

Dave
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  #64  
Old 5th June 2007, 04:20
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Back to original thread I hope - There is a story about one ship in Gladstone dock - the day before sailing was visited late in the evening by George Holt - the Middy on gangway watch stopped him coming on board. George Holt complained "Don't you know who I am. I am George Holt"
The middy replied " and I'm J.C. who on your bike"
Next day being sailing day there was a ship's inspection led by George Holt, who, on encountering the same middy greeted him with "Good Morning Mr. Christ" and then moved on. Apparently he was quite impressed by shipboard security.
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  #65  
Old 12th June 2007, 20:57
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Geoff Garret,
It is a question I have often asked myself. Maersk was no bigger in the 60s and Evergreen only small by comparison. I put the failure down to an archaic management systems (you had to experience India Blgs and Odyssey works to understand but, the ships and the manner in which they were run actually on board were second to none. And I think that is what the 'outsider' finds difficult to understand. I got out in 67 as I saw the 'writing on the wall'.
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  #66  
Old 12th June 2007, 21:05
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It didn't help either that a lot of the men on the ground were vehemently against the 'new methods' - both seamen and dockers.
After all, the old ways kept a lot of us employed in a very easy comfortable lifestyle. Jobs for the boys and jobs for life, after all, the modern methods meant a cut in the number of men required to do the job, and for those that remained, it meant they had to work a bit harder (or indeed work).
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  #67  
Old 12th June 2007, 23:22
Geoff Garrett Geoff Garrett is offline  
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James C,
You've said it all for me, and I am sure that the Holt family would have seen it also and pulled out not wanting to throw good money after bad.
Rgds.

Last edited by Geoff Garrett; 12th June 2007 at 23:33..
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  #68  
Old 13th June 2007, 01:41
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Geoff, James, John,

That is a good point also. On the RoRo's we had a total crew of 28 - The Norwegian vesels ran with 15, and I am talking about 1984!

Regards,

Dave
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  #69  
Old 13th June 2007, 22:46
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Geoff, James C & Makko,
I seem to recall a post several months ago where I addressed the above by way of the 'work practice' in Odyssey Works ( HMBS Trucks ...one tiny parcel on the aft end of a departmental truck etc...remember) and also India Buildings were it was 'in vogue' to walk around the 6th Floor with a piece of A4 in ones hand to look important. On board ship it was a different story and, it is important you understand this. The deck crew of 15+ men really were needed as they were heavy ships and there were no spare men. The utilization was perhaps questionable as we used to overhaul ALL the 'running gear (24 derricks and Jumbo outward bound). This was on top of the 'runners being replaced on sailing day by the 'shore gang' in Birkenhead. The runners on completion of cargo were taken ashore and a HMBS truck used to arrive on the quay with 26 'runners' (not new but having been inspected) and deposited on board.
The 'nostalgia' that binds men of 'the China' is that we all knew (or knew of) each other. The training was excellent and given by Bosun's who were like no others in the industry (real sailors).
James C refers to the dockers and I think of 'the welt' which was worked by these men and only recently I drove past an 'infamous pub' close to Cathcart Street which was were the dockers used to drink whilst working the welt and that was the Vittoria Vaults (known as 'The Piggy'.) I like to think I was 'privileged' to sail with 'the China' but I am aware of there failings and their demise was very sad.
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  #70  
Old 14th June 2007, 05:53
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John,

Not just on the deck side - standards were very high in the engine dept. In the training workshop in Odyssey, there was a lathe with a wooden bed! The bl**dy thing didn't run concentric either...........I was more clued in,after having been involved in Marine Repairs from an early age, but from the many complaints of other Cadets, the dreaded Daggy showed up. After a few moments silence, he picked one individual out who had worked previously in the Royal Armamnent factory or somewhere, "So, what is wrong with the lathe?". He let the guy blather on, then cut him dead - "You are on board ship. Water all around. And all your companions are praying that you can fix that part. What are you going to do, Laddie?". He went on to expound on various miraculous repairs at sea - "And thats why you're here! If you can't do it, you know where the door is!". We've been through this before - PRIDE.

I was probably born Blue, I still work the Blue way and I will probably die Blue too! So there!

Dave

Proud third generation Blue Funneler.
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  #71  
Old 16th June 2007, 10:07
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The 'M' Class.
Does anyone remember a fire on board the 'Maron' in the Indian Ocean around 64/65. If memory serves me correctly, it happened in a Stewards room and was quickly extinguished (Blue Funnel Efficiency). The point I am making is that a sailing day procedure stemmed from this incident.
The were two points of access to the Stewards quarters located on the main deck. The forward access was located in the fore part of the Sailors alleyway (outside the Lampy's room) and and the after access outside the Ch.Stwds cabin. The Ch.Stwds cabin and hence the aft access was separated from the Sailors alleyway by a door which was locked 'personally' by the Ch.Stwd every evening at 2100hrs because the 'crowd' used to disturb the Ch.Stwd on their way to the Bridge. This weakness was 'highlighted' during the incident.
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  #72  
Old 18th June 2007, 05:08
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John,
Regarding locked doors........I still can´t do a No.2 with the door shut......at sea, cabin door always open unless sleeping and never close the bathroom door.......Blue Funnel habit? or does anyone else remember this.

Rgds.

Dave
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  #73  
Old 18th June 2007, 23:20
Geoff Garrett Geoff Garrett is offline  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by makko View Post
I was probably born Blue, I still work the Blue way and I will probably die Blue too! So there!

Dave

Proud third generation Blue Funneler.
Take care Buddy,
You're the kinda guy George Bush would call a Bluey Fundamentalist and there's a place for guys like you, its called "Gitmo"!

so watchit.
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  #74  
Old 19th June 2007, 20:16
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Good evening Geoff,
Some days ago an old Blue Funnel man joined the site and 'low and behold' he was an 'Old Worcester' and I immediately thought of you. I suggested to him that you would be eager to make contact as I know how you hold us 'China Boat' men in such high esteem.
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  #75  
Old 30th October 2007, 02:41
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Quote:
Originally Posted by R651400 View Post
Adrastus under Captain Archibald McLelland Pilcher
He used to sunbathe every warm afternoon on the monkey island in the "altogether". Made going up to take an error interesting. :-)
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