Master's Night Orders - Ships Nostalgia
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Master's Night Orders

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  #1  
Old 31st January 2010, 22:11
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Post Master's Night Orders

All deck officers will have been subjected to the wisdom of Master’s Night orders and also the Standing Orders.
Standing Orders could vary from a comprehensive litany covering every possible demeanour and running into pages, to a brief list of the basic requirements. Night orders could be brief and to the point or rambling and not particularly relevant. Some Masters appeared to use these orders to try and absolve themselves from any blame whatsoever if things happened to go wrong and others were probably too brief in stating their requirements.
I tried to be succinct and relevant but don’t really know how successful I was.
Any thoughts?
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Last edited by John Briggs; 1st February 2010 at 00:03..
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  #2  
Old 31st January 2010, 23:31
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Keep a good lookout.
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  #3  
Old 1st February 2010, 07:13
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At 0200 a first trip school ship grad 3/O mistook Venus for a UFO. He roused the whole crew by ringing the General Alarm and blowing Abandon Ship on the whistle.

The next nights Captains orders included the guidance that in case of viewing a UFO to not roust out the whole crew until they put their ladder down on our deck and then call him first.

Greg Hayden
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  #4  
Old 1st February 2010, 09:38
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George.GM George.GM is offline  
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The shortest, and probably the best Captain's Standing Orders I have ever seen were on an Australian minesweeper in the Far East :
"Anybody who makes a c--- of himself is in the rattle"
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  #5  
Old 1st February 2010, 09:53
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Cool

The best phrase I saw in the night orders was: 'despite my frequent adjurations'..... that had me searching for my dictionary.
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  #6  
Old 1st February 2010, 12:55
sidsal sidsal is offline  
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I was 2nd Mate on a T2 tanker where the master, 1st Mate ( demoted master) and chief engineer were permanently drunk. The master used to write copious night orders with orders to "call me here" and "call me there" but he was always comatose and couldn't be roused. Tricky night passages from near Bahrein to Ras Tanura , for instance required accurate navigation but it was no use relying on the master. After 2 or 3 trips I walked off the ship in Le Havre as I feared for my ticket.
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  #7  
Old 1st February 2010, 14:53
Nova Scotian Nova Scotian is offline  
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Rex

I had a flashback to the City of Eastbourne in 1969. Captain Rex Broadbent had a fine copperplate hand and his night orders were quite lengthy. I can see him now in the light of the lamp over the chart table as he scribed away, an inch of ash wobbling at the end of the ever present cigarette! With most masters it was a case of "maintain course line and call me if needed".
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Old 1st February 2010, 15:11
Klaatu83 Klaatu83 is offline  
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Night Orders might be long or short but, whatever else went into them, they invariably concluded with the phrase, "Call me (the Master) if in doubt". They always meant it, too. No prudent Master would ever reprimand a Mate for calling him for any reason, no matter how trivial, at any time, day or night. If he did, then the next time the Mate might not call him at all, and it might turn out to be something really important.
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  #9  
Old 1st February 2010, 15:17
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On the P&O Chiefs also had a night order book, both at sea and tied up.
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  #10  
Old 1st February 2010, 20:09
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All,
As Klaatu 83 says, "If in doubt do not hesitate to call me" were the most supportive words in the Night Orders.
Very often the Charts were marked at the critical points on passage with "Call me", a call was also required if lights were not raised as expected, it was prudent to have tea or coffee to hand for the old man's arrival.
Yours aye,


Yours aye,

slick
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  #11  
Old 1st February 2010, 20:53
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Charlie_Wood Charlie_Wood is offline  
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Slightly off topic, a contemporary 2nd Mate in Clan Line, Mark Williams if I recall correctly, got a severe bollocking when the Old Man pitched up on the bridge in the middle of the South Atlantic at 0200 one night and spied a light abeam on the horizon, complaining about not being called when a (rare) light had been spotted he went on to explain that some Greek ships were sailing the oceans with just a dog on watch!!

A couple of nights later Mark saw another light way off and being a bit of a lad, blew down the voice pipe and receiving a gruff "what do you want" proceeded to go "woof woof".

Nothing was ever said and he enjoyed peace and quiet for the rest of the voyage.
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  #12  
Old 1st February 2010, 21:26
sidsal sidsal is offline  
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En route Persian Gulf to Montreal we encountered a very bad storm just where the Grand Banks appear. Probably the heavy seas were caused by the rapidly shallowing waters. We had no sights for about 4 days and radar was bust. I was 2nd Mate and we were due to see Cape Race light about 10 or 11 pm. As usual I used the outside ladder up to the bridge for my 12 to 4 watch. It was a cold clear night and I could see the light clearly to starboard.
On enetering the wheelhouse the 3rd Mate and the "old man" were peering forward through the wheel house windows which were misted up due to the central heating and draft proof doors which were tight shut. After exchanging pleasantries the Master told me to call him if Cape Race had not been sighted by 2am and departed for his bed. When he had gone, I opened the doors to clear the windows and adjusted the course to make for the ST Lawrence.
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  #13  
Old 2nd February 2010, 22:49
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sidsal View Post
En route Persian Gulf to Montreal we encountered a very bad storm just where the Grand Banks appear. Probably the heavy seas were caused by the rapidly shallowing waters. We had no sights for about 4 days and radar was bust. I was 2nd Mate and we were due to see Cape Race light about 10 or 11 pm. As usual I used the outside ladder up to the bridge for my 12 to 4 watch. It was a cold clear night and I could see the light clearly to starboard.
On enetering the wheelhouse the 3rd Mate and the "old man" were peering forward through the wheel house windows which were misted up due to the central heating and draft proof doors which were tight shut. After exchanging pleasantries the Master told me to call him if Cape Race had not been sighted by 2am and departed for his bed. When he had gone, I opened the doors to clear the windows and adjusted the course to make for the ST Lawrence.
Good Grief, which company were you sailing with?? Central heating! Draft proof doors?

On the ships I sailed on the only way to stop the bridge wing doors rattling was to knock wooden wedges between the after end of the frame and the door! So there was always a one inch gap for the cold night air to blow in, and the heating was a couple of hot air vents (apart from the hot air in the old man's night orders)!!!

Ernest
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  #14  
Old 3rd February 2010, 00:21
Graybeard Graybeard is offline  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by George.GM View Post
The shortest, and probably the best Captain's Standing Orders I have ever seen were on an Australian minesweeper in the Far East :
"Anybody who makes a c--- of himself is in the rattle"
I remember that one too, George. It's a great quote and one I use in various talks. Good to know it's remembered by others too. I think they were the "Blackfoot" squadron? Did you ever go to one of their "tea parties"?
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  #15  
Old 3rd February 2010, 01:13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kewl dude View Post
At 0200 a first trip school ship grad 3/O mistook Venus for a UFO. He roused the whole crew by ringing the General Alarm and blowing Abandon Ship on the whistle.

The next nights Captains orders included the guidance that in case of viewing a UFO to not roust out the whole crew until they put their ladder down on our deck and then call him first.

Greg Hayden
That is hilarious.
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  #16  
Old 3rd February 2010, 08:26
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One master I sailed with used to go on a bender for several days when deepsea. He was a bit of a stickler the rest of the time. When he sobered up he would write up his night orders for the days that he had missed, and we were all expected to sign them as if they had been written on the appropriate nights.
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  #17  
Old 3rd February 2010, 15:26
AGAMEMNON AGAMEMNON is offline  
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I sat on a Board of Enquiry once. The first thing the senior member sent for was the night order book. Apparently it is easy to tell if the OM is a pisshead by reviewing a range of night orders in different areas. I am inclined to agree it is very revealing. Don't write them too late at night!
YOU HAVE ALL BEEN WARNED!!
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  #18  
Old 1st March 2010, 11:12
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Andrew Craig-Bennett Andrew Craig-Bennett is offline  
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I was told this story as a young man and cannot vouchsafe for its accuracy. I was told it by the late Fergus Bateson, who was then the Senior Partner of Thomas Cooper and Stibbard, Admiralty solicitors to the P&O, Esso and many other good and great British shipping companies:

Two oil company tankers, one bound South, one bound North, collided, bow to bow, off the coast of Portugal in the 50's or the 60's.

Like so many collisions, this one happened in the early hours of the morning. (I'm not aware of any proper research on why Second Mates are less well versed in the Collision Regulations than Third Mates, we all put it down to chart correction, don't we?)

One of the ships was represented by Fergus's firm and an investigation into the circumstances did not result in anything promising by way of a "story"; at the material time the OOW was not in the wheelhouse but in the separate chartroom, bashing the Decca set, trying to get a fix out of it. The lookout had called him repeatedly, but had been told, repeatedly, to shut up. The Master's Night Orders said very plainly that a Decca fix was to be taken (the chain more or less came to an end off Portugal, so this was either the last or the first chance to get a Decca fix)

As usual, the two firms of lawyers met "Without Prejudice" to see if they could settle the issue of liability without a trial. Fergus didn't fancy a trial, and offered 50/50 as his first offer, being willing to go mich higher as his ship's version of events was unlikely to impress the Judge.

To his surprise, this offer was accepted instantly.

Having settled, the two lawyers, who knew each other well, compared notes - the other ship's story was exactly the same!

Last edited by Andrew Craig-Bennett; 1st March 2010 at 12:17..
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  #19  
Old 1st March 2010, 11:48
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  #20  
Old 1st March 2010, 13:04
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All,
Speaking of luxuries such as Heating and Draft proof Wheelhouse doors, I have been in a couple of ships with no Bridge Toilet consequently taking a leak bordered on the acrobatic off the Bridge wing or opening the sidelight door, other methods included using a bottle!!


Yours aye,

slick
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  #21  
Old 1st March 2010, 22:33
Denise Bonner Denise Bonner is offline  
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Bridge conditions

Vividly remember on a low air draft ship with a 'fold-down' bridge for the canals of Belgium and Holland during a horrible gale the lee-side door falling off completely so no central heating then!
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  #22  
Old 3rd March 2010, 10:43
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Luxuries

Quote:
All,
Speaking of luxuries such as Heating and Draft proof Wheelhouse doors, I have been in a couple of ships with no Bridge Toilet consequently taking a leak bordered on the acrobatic off the Bridge wing or opening the sidelight door, other methods included using a bottle!!


Yours aye,

slick
I always understood the Bridge toilet to be the the lee side of the after end of the bridge wing, somewhere between the railing and the off-side of the lifeboat! (just aft of the sidelight)

Ernest
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  #23  
Old 5th March 2010, 01:34
millwall dock millwall dock is offline
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Like,many another I suspect,no ship I sailed on in the 50s enjoyed the luxury of bridge toilet facilities other than the monkey island fire buckets--tricky in more than force 3!
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  #24  
Old 5th March 2010, 03:08
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I was on one under powered car carrier where the Master would write call the Duty Engineer two hours before slowing down or turning more than 15 degrees in the Night Order Book. A very nervous Second Mate would ask me what he was suppose to do if he had to turn or slow down. I would tell him to keep a good watch on traffic and to call the Captain when he was in doubt.
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  #25  
Old 5th March 2010, 19:12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Klaatu83 View Post
Night Orders might be long or short but, whatever else went into them, they invariably concluded with the phrase, "Call me (the Master) if in doubt". They always meant it, too. No prudent Master would ever reprimand a Mate for calling him for any reason, no matter how trivial, at any time, day or night. If he did, then the next time the Mate might not call him at all, and it might turn out to be something really important.
I always tell the Mates that I would far rather be called for nothing than not called for something!
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