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  #26  
Old 11th July 2020, 01:49
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Ian Robertson

Hello forum, I have been an interested observer for some time, but today I intend to try posting to a thread.
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  #27  
Old 11th July 2020, 02:14
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Ian Robertson

In 1958 when I was a first trip Third Mate on the Helix we were bound for the UK from Curacao three days past the Sombrero Passage in the West Indies. I saw the Radio Officer go on watch at about 9 am, the radio room was behind the wheelhouse. We exchanged the usual pleasantries. An hour or so later there was pandemonium centred on the radio shack, I learned that the R/O had been found collapsed on the deck in his office by a steward. Fortunately the second steward (who was as camp as a row of tents) was a State Registered Nurse, he took charge and established that the R/O had suffered a prolapsed hernia. I had a look, it was the size of a big grapefruit. Under the direction of the Captain ice was gathered from all over the ship, not many fridges in those days, and packed around the hernia which eventually shrank and slipped back in. The next problem was in getting outside medical help, the radio receivers were switched on but we did not know how to switch on the transmitters. We had a wartime radio transmitter in the starboard lifeboat and the fourth mate who was good with Morse code set it up. He started transmitting a CQ call (to all ships). Immediately he was summoned to the radio room because somebody was heard calling us on the receivers. We quickly worked out that it was from us in the lifeboat. We were lucky that a Mobil tanker was within range and their R/O gave instructions to us as to switching on the M/F transmitter and we were able to speak to him by radio telephone. He contacted the Coast Guard at San Juan in Puerto Rico for medical advice and we retraced our course and put the Sparkie off in to the San Juan pilot boat five miles out to sea, we had no port charts and fortunately it was a flat calm day. When we resumed our voyage to the UK the Mobil tanker was able to stay in touch and relay telegrams to the Shell Company in London for us until we were within range of Portishead ourselves.
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  #28  
Old 11th July 2020, 02:18
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In 1958 when I was a first trip Third Mate on the Helix we were bound for the UK from Curacao three days past the Sombrero Passage in the West Indies. I saw the Radio Officer go on watch at about 9 am, the radio room was behind the wheelhouse. We exchanged the usual pleasantries. An hour or so later there was pandemonium centred on the radio shack, I learned that the R/O had been found collapsed on the deck in his office by a steward. Fortunately the second steward (who was as camp as a row of tents) was a State Registered Nurse, he took charge and established that the R/O had suffered a prolapsed hernia. I had a look, it was the size of a big grapefruit. Under the direction of the Captain ice was gathered from all over the ship, not many fridges in those days, and packed around the hernia which eventually shrank and slipped back in. The next problem was in getting outside medical help, the radio receivers were switched on but we did not know how to switch on the transmitters. We had a wartime radio transmitter in the starboard lifeboat and the fourth mate who was good with Morse code set it up. He started transmitting a CQ call (to all ships). Immediately he was summoned to the radio room because somebody was heard calling us on the receivers. We quickly worked out that it was from us in the lifeboat. We were lucky that a Mobil tanker was within range and their R/O gave instructions to us as to switching on the M/F transmitter and we were able to speak to him by radio telephone. He contacted the Coast Guard at San Juan in Puerto Rico for medical advice and we retraced our course and put the Sparkie off in to the San Juan pilot boat five miles out to sea, we had no port charts and fortunately it was a flat calm day. When we resumed our voyage to the UK the Mobil tanker was able to stay in touch and relay telegrams to the Shell Company in London for us until we were within range of Portishead ourselves. Members here will remember that after this time there were instructions mandated to be placed on the main transmitter regarding setting the equipment up for use.
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  #29  
Old 11th July 2020, 03:00
trotterdotpom trotterdotpom is offline  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Captain Ian Robertson View Post
Hello forum, I have been an interested observer for some time, but today I intend to try posting to a thread.
Hello Captain,

Welcome to SN. You probably don't remember me but I did a relieving swing as RO on "John Hunter" with you ... always the bridesmaid, never the bride.

John T
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  #30  
Old 11th July 2020, 08:08
sparkie2182 sparkie2182 is online now  
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OFA.

It applies to every UK citizen whether signed or not of course.
Always seemed to be a pointless act except to highlight the importance of security.

Last edited by sparkie2182; 11th July 2020 at 08:47..
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  #31  
Old 11th July 2020, 14:26
Robin McHood Robin McHood is offline  
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Originally Posted by Ron Stringer View Post
What we R/Os signed up to was the requirement, under the Wireless Telegraph Act of the day, to observe the secrecy of correspondence. The Official Secrets Act is something quite different.
You are right Ron, it was indeed the Wireless Telegraphy Act, I had to sign the Official Secrets Act at a later date. Think a few here should remember the part of the WTA that reads
"except in the course of legal proceedings or for the purpose of any report thereof, discloses any information as to the contents, sender or addressee of any such message, being information which would not have come to his knowledge but for the use of wireless telegraphy apparatus by him or by another person,
shall be guilty of an offence under this Act"
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  #32  
Old 11th July 2020, 16:51
sparks69 sparks69 is offline  
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Ooops !
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  #33  
Old 11th July 2020, 19:45
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The current enactment covering this is the Wireless Telegraphy Act 2006, It replaces previous repealed Acts with similar wording.
Section 48 (2): A person commits an offence under this section consisting in the disclosure of information only if the information disclosed by him is information that would not have come to his knowledge but for the use of wireless telegraphy apparatus by him or by another person
and 48(3): A person does not commit an offence under this section consisting in the disclosure of information if he discloses the information in the course of legal proceedings or for the purpose of a report of legal proceedings.

From this there is a clear inference that if the information so gained is common knowledge amongst those nearby or involved in any actions or reports, then the information would be 'in public domain' and not confidential. Unless it is a warship when Official Secrets Act would probably overrule.

For the 'anecdotes' etc recounted above that would seem to be best defence. Other's opinions may differ.
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  #34  
Old 11th July 2020, 20:47
spaarks spaarks is offline  
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Originally Posted by Larry Bennett View Post
We did indeed. We were/are forbidden to divulge the content of any message or radiotelephone call to any third party, or even acknowledge the existence of same. R/T calls were monitored to ensure commercial quality, and most of the time the details of the calls weren't of any interest. Similarly Medico incidents and connections.

The only time we could advise a third party was if there was content possibly affecting the safety of a ship (cargo shifting, listing etc.) in which case we would ask the permission of the Master to advise Lloyds of London of the content.

This is why in my GKA book there are scant references to messages or calls, apart from the 1958 Royal Visit telegram and other high profile messages which were widely publicised in the press at the time.

Larry +

Yes indeed, Section 11 of the Post Office Protection Act 1884!
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  #35  
Old 11th July 2020, 20:48
spaarks spaarks is offline  
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Yes indeed, Section 11 of the Post Office Protection Act 1884!
Hmmmm not sure about that!
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  #36  
Old 12th July 2020, 11:08
jimg0nxx jimg0nxx is offline  
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I remember signing the Post Office Protection Act 1884. This was probably late 1961.
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  #37  
Old 12th July 2020, 17:53
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It has always puzzled me why there has never been a prosecution under the WTA for mobile phone hacking? Surely it would be more simple and certain than the methods that appear to be used to attempt to bring the members of "Her Majesties Press" to heel.
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  #38  
Old 12th July 2020, 18:51
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It has always puzzled me why there has never been a prosecution under the WTA for mobile phone hacking? Surely it would be more simple and certain than the methods that appear to be used to attempt to bring the members of "Her Majesties Press" to heel.
Quite true, here is Section 48 in full:

48Interception and disclosure of messages

(1)A person commits an offence if, [without lawful authority] —

(a)he uses wireless telegraphy apparatus with intent to obtain information as to the contents, sender or addressee of a message (whether sent by means of wireless telegraphy or not) of which neither he nor a person on whose behalf he is acting is an intended recipient, or

(b)he discloses information as to the contents, sender or addressee of such a message.

(2)A person commits an offence under this section consisting in the disclosure of information only if the information disclosed by him is information that would not have come to his knowledge but for the use of wireless telegraphy apparatus by him or by another person.

(3)A person does not commit an offence under this section consisting in the disclosure of information if he discloses the information in the course of legal proceedings or for the purpose of a report of legal proceedings.

[(3A)A person does not commit an offence under this section consisting in any conduct if the conduct—

(a)constitutes an offence under section 3(1) of the Investigatory Powers Act 2016 (offence of unlawful interception), or

(b)would do so in the absence of any lawful authority (within the meaning of section 6 of that Act).]

(4)A person who commits an offence under this section is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale.
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  #39  
Old 12th July 2020, 19:06
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Originally Posted by spaarks View Post
Yes indeed, Section 11 of the Post Office Protection Act 1884!
Yes that would likely have been correct, it is still on the Irish Statute Books but no longer applicable in the UK as a whole.
It relates to the alteration, misuse or disclosure of information in Telegrams.
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  #40  
Old 13th July 2020, 01:33
trotterdotpom trotterdotpom is offline  
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Yes that would likely have been correct, it is still on the Irish Statute Books but no longer applicable in the UK as a whole.
It relates to the alteration, misuse or disclosure of information in Telegrams.
It was stuck on the radio room wall of every British ship. Pity the snooping mates who liked ransacking the radio room didn't read it.

John T
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  #41  
Old 13th July 2020, 08:18
sparkie2182 sparkie2182 is online now  
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It only happened to me once.
I logged it.
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  #42  
Old 13th July 2020, 09:30
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Not a medico, rather a false man overboard story.

Barron Murray/GWES, in ballast from Japan to Nauru. Middle of nowhere in the Pacific.

Deck Boy is missing. Ship turned over from top to bottom. Nothing.

Logical conclusion drawn - he has gone over the wall.

Old Man comes into radio room, tells me the story. "Shall I send an Urgency message?" says I. Old Man says yes.

Cranked up the RMT1500, right up to the marks on 500. XXX.

Zip reply.

PAN PAN on 2182...nothing.

After about an hour, duty engineer hears groaning from bottom of lift shaft....deck boy is lying at the bottom.

Lucky for him, he fell only 1 floor, and was OK. Interlocks on the lift door were faulty....he fell in...and had to watch the lift coming up and down over him for an hour....
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  #43  
Old 13th July 2020, 10:14
spaarks spaarks is offline  
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Originally Posted by trotterdotpom View Post
It was stuck on the radio room wall of every British ship. Pity the snooping mates who liked ransacking the radio room didn't read it.

John T

Yes, it was entitled "WIRELESS TELEGRAPHY Secrecy as to contents of Radiotelegrams".
The pix were taken on GFHY British Robin c/1966.


The transistor radio was for providing a cw sidetone, necessary for my Vibroplex bug key!
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File Type: jpg 1966_britishrobin-039.jpg (199.1 KB, 25 views)
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Last edited by spaarks; 13th July 2020 at 10:24.. Reason: Forgot to attach picx
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  #44  
Old 13th July 2020, 11:20
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Spaarks, the infamous R50M I see. Bet the transistor radio was more stable than that! What vintage of ship was that?
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  #45  
Old 13th July 2020, 16:40
tom roberts tom roberts is offline  
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We had an A.b on one ship he was from Blackpool a prize plonker we docked in Liverpool he picked a girl up in the Cottage pub paid for his fun went home to his missus had more fun he returned two days later and we sailed A day later he went to the chief steward with a dose who gave him a jab of penicillin he was allergic to it he swelled up like the Michelin man and we put home ashore in Las Pamas I don't think it was his wife's fault the Cottage was as bad a place Pernambuco where I wouldn't dip my wick for gold money never knew what became of the idiot.Another famous medicine I saw used down the West African coast was the dreaded black draft liberally dished out by the chief steward to the Kroo boys complaining of stomach pains it is said many of them had Peronitis instead of being bunged up and paid the ultimate price.My apologies if I have offended the delicate ears of some of our brethren with seamens language describing my stories but that's life.stay safe and away from over zealous chief stewards oh and I believe the Cottage has gone.
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  #46  
Old 13th July 2020, 16:48
tom roberts tom roberts is offline  
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Re previous post refer to pernambuco to Recife I wouldn't shake hands with a nun there even with rubber gloves on in case of the dreaded clapp,to finish this tale my dad advised me be careful and don't come home with something I couldn't show my mother?.
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  #47  
Old 13th July 2020, 17:47
tom roberts tom roberts is offline  
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Whilst on this thread perhaps one of the most famous medicos in the history of seafarers was Dr Ross the seamens dispensary world wide treatment for seafarers of the as we now call social diseases a polite reference to the clapp Liverpools dispensary was in Canning place close to the John Smiths seamens hostel unfortunately it was also in the area of the bag warehouses staffed girls and ladies famous for their Liverpool humour and god help any seafarers who had to visit the dispensary,got a dose la ,should have kept it in your kecks,and don't come around to our house looking for me sister among other ribald shouts.But on a serious note until it closed down its work was an invaluable contribution started by the Liverpool corporation to the health of all seafarers,read up on its history,I add never had to avail myself of its services had every other illness associated with the sea but never the clapp sandies maybe but never that dreaded ailment.
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  #48  
Old 13th July 2020, 19:51
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The following is extracted from my book, BACK TO SEA. The ship was the Glengarry - in 1949.

We sailed (from Colombo) at 9pm on the 3rd and were somewhere southeast of the Gulf of Oman when our daily routine was suddenly broken. I had begun my first 2-hour watch at 7.30am and, during the Silence Period of eighteen to fifteen minutes to the hour, I heard an XXX (the Urgency Signal) from a ship. She was the Panamanian tanker Wallowa, from Ra's at Tannurah in the Persian Gulf; about five miles northeast of Bahrain. And the message was that she had a badly injured man on board and was there any ship in the vicinity with a doctor? I immediately informed the bridge and was told to find out where she was and when I got her position and it appeared that we were the nearest ship with a doctor, Captain Anderson altered course towards her. I left the wireless radio only for hastily taken meals that day and, about two hours after we had altered course, received a message from the Panamanian saying that she was 'now altering course' to head for us. When I 'phoned that message to the bridge, it did not take a genius to foresee the reaction - "What the hell has she been doing until now?"

The other Sparks and I kept in touch throughout the day. A hatch board had fallen on the man's arms and I sent advice given by Dr Moloney. Then, late in the afternoon, a message came that the man had died. The master of the Wallowa was Captain Bagliago and, when Captain Anderson learned that the man, a 30-year-old AB, had died, he told him that we would continue on course in order to sight his ship, as we were not now far away. I was then asked to get a bearing on her and told the other Sparks to hold down his (Morse) key while I used the D/F in the wheelhouse. It was about 10.30pm by this time and, using my bearing, the navigators homed in on her. I went out on deck to see the lighted ship which was now communicating with our bridge by Aldis lamp. Captain Bagliago wanted our doctor to go aboard to certify the death, but, when Captain Anderson refused, he was repeating the request when the Glengarry turned and steamed away. It had been a tiring day for me, and Dr Moloney was greatly relieved that he didn't have to go in a motorboat to board her.
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  #49  
Old 13th July 2020, 21:29
spaarks spaarks is offline  
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Originally Posted by Tony Selman View Post
Spaarks, the infamous R50M I see. Bet the transistor radio was more stable than that! What vintage of ship was that?

I don't remember the R50M beigh so unstable - receivers probably all were at that time! I did like IMR gear, especially the subsequent ITT variants.


The Birdy boats were built late fifties to early sixties. There were over a dozen of them. I liked the Birdy boats, even though the R/Os cabin was in the middle of the accommodation facing aft. I sailed Scandanavia and the Med on the Robin and the Trust.
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  #50  
Old 13th July 2020, 22:02
sparks69 sparks69 is offline  
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Some Birdies were 110v DC. Rotary Converters galore. R50M's instability was the reason I went on watch 5 minutes early to get the traffic list as it never appeared on the same logging scale twice. Actually had a menu card with the adjacent stations listed. Great trips though !!
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