Galley Stove - Heavy Weather - Safety - Ships Nostalgia
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Galley Stove - Heavy Weather - Safety

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  #1  
Old 15th October 2019, 17:13
Peter Greene Peter Greene is offline
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Galley Stove - Heavy Weather - Safety

Hi,

I am looking for information relating to safety measures for those working in the galley? I am aware of the metal bars that could be placed on a stove to prevent pots sliding off when the ship rolled, but the metal bars would not have prevented liquids sloshing over the rims of pots... Even moving a container of hot liquid from one point to another must have been hazardous in difficult weather?

I never worked in a galley but did some work in busy kitchens for a time on land and even that could be potentially dangerous at times.

I guess the galley would be shut down if the ship started to roll in a storm? If that is correct, I wonder how bad the roll would have to be to close everything down? Any memories to share?...
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  #2  
Old 15th October 2019, 17:59
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Any ship's cook would acquire great skill at working under difficult conditions. Before health & safety was invented all seamen survived by being alert to all sorts of dangers, or suffered greater or lesser accidents when vigilance failed. Certain routines such as keeping pan handles turned away from danger, and not overfilling pots, were common sense.
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  #3  
Old 15th October 2019, 18:07
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My memory tells me that when in heavy weather, after we heard the sounds of crockery breaking in the galley, the meal menu was switched to sandwiches.

Greg Hayden
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Old 15th October 2019, 18:45
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Stephen J. Card Stephen J. Card is offline  
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Great photo in a very old book on my shelf, The Wonderful story of the Sea, Editor: Wheeler.

Cracker galley photo. Something wrong with the photo. Can anyone see the 'error'?

This book came out in Summer 1936. RMS Queen Mary mentioned in the text and a couple of photos of the building and one showing maiden voyage at New York. In the text: As a sequel to the success of the Queen Mary it was announced a few weeks later that a similar ship, to be called the King George V. which would be put up on the stocks in the same yard in which Britain's biggest liner had been built."

Interesting. KGV. Good name but QGV died not so long after the order so perhaps name would have not been such a good idea.

Stephen
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  #5  
Old 15th October 2019, 19:04
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All the ladles and spoons over the stove are hanging straight down.
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Old 15th October 2019, 20:15
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Originally Posted by Frank P View Post
All the ladles and spoons over the stove are hanging straight down.

:-)

Well posed photo. Supposed to be an ocean liner. Rolling at this angle I doubt there would be anyone in the dining room!

Stephen
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  #7  
Old 15th October 2019, 20:31
harry t. harry t. is offline
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heavy weather, safety

Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Greene View Post
Hi,
I guess the galley would be shut down if the ship started to roll in a storm? If that is correct, I wonder how bad the roll would have to be to close everything down? Any memories to share?...

An extract from a letter to the good lady.

Boxing Day 1970, on passage Liverpool towards Setubal, Portugal.

“On the first day out after departure we ran into a westerly gale just south of the Irish coast. I was seasick and poor old “cookie”, wee Billy from Carrick, and the 2nd cook were still preparing the Christmas lunch for 36 souls. I very much doubt shore people could imagine what it’s like in a ship’s galley, with the lady rolling heavily, diving into deep Atlantic troughs, trying to cook a four-course meal whilst everything is in danger of being thrown off the stoves and the galley decks awash under foot. As the weather didn’t show any sign of a let-up, I brought the lady ‘about’ for a few hours so ’cookie’ could finish preparing the lunch for all hands, a wipe down of his galley afterwards to let him and the rest of the catering staff finally enjoy their Xmas dinner seated with a couple of wee half- un’s, in relative comfort, served up by the officers in the saloon.”

Note; I don’t imagine we were conscious of health and safety measures then – common sense and good practice learned from many years’ experience seafaring was the accepted norm.
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  #8  
Old 15th October 2019, 22:10
Barrie Youde Barrie Youde is offline  
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#7

Liverpool towards Setubal 1970 sounds like Ellerman Papayanni. With 36 souls? Would you like to expand?

A Market-boat with passengers?

Please forgive the pedantry. The chronology is intriguing!
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  #9  
Old 15th October 2019, 22:40
harry t. harry t. is offline
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it was Donaldson’s ‘Santona’, on a time charter for Ellerman Papayanni. A pleasant way to spend the winter months, suggested the Owners when they sent me at short notice. A nice change from the N. Atlantic or the Baltic, I’d thought in my ignorance. Still, a couple of good trips with a few nasty turns along the way. The police had lined the Langton lock that Xmas eve afternoon as we departed into the river, the only 'passengers', those recently recruited from Walton prison to make up the numbers on the A of A.
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  #10  
Old 16th October 2019, 12:44
Johnny Walker Johnny Walker is online now  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Greene View Post
Hi,

I am looking for information relating to safety measures for those working in the galley? I am aware of the metal bars that could be placed on a stove to prevent pots sliding off when the ship rolled, but the metal bars would not have prevented liquids sloshing over the rims of pots... Even moving a container of hot liquid from one point to another must have been hazardous in difficult weather?

I never worked in a galley but did some work in busy kitchens for a time on land and even that could be potentially dangerous at times.

I guess the galley would be shut down if the ship started to roll in a storm? If that is correct, I wonder how bad the roll would have to be to close everything down? Any memories to share?...
I spent many years in the galley in a career spanning 24 years in small product carriers/tramp cargo ships/ bulk carriers etc. Those metal bars on the stove are called fiddles. In extreme weather you can use 2 or 3 pots firmly enclosed in the fiddles to stop them spilling onto the stove, the danger of which meant that the spillage would hit the stove top and then skid in any direction and scald you if you were not paying attention. I never found that the ship rolling heavily was as bad as the ship pitching which meant that when the ship started to climb a wave it would start to reach the peak and a point where the focstle head would slam down on the opposite side of the wave which created a bouncing effect and cause any liquids to erupt out of pots like a mini Vesuvius a piece of wire between the pot and lid helped to avoid this. As already mentioned common sense and experience got you through with most ships crew accepting that stews curries etc. would be the order of the day. One other piece of wisdom that we learned was 'One hand for yourself and one for the ship; As you mentioned all the hazards that You experienced in a kitchen were the same in a galley but with the added addition of an unstable and unpredictable sea. Having said that it was no easier for the engine room staff or the deck department it was an acceptable part of our jobs.
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Old 16th October 2019, 14:09
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The worst job... perhaps not the worst, but certainly one of the hardest is dining room stewards on large passenger ship. Thousands of passengers and they have to be fed at least three times a day, usually more. Fetch and carry! Steward will carry a tray with plates (with metal covers) as much as a dozen, six plates high. One wrong step and the whole lot will come down, not matter the weather. Even worse the cheap passengers that not think for the dining and cabin crew and they will try to stiff them for their few dollars tip. Sickening.
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Old 16th October 2019, 14:15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Hilton View Post
Any ship's cook would acquire great skill at working under difficult conditions. Before health & safety was invented all seamen survived by being alert to all sorts of dangers, or suffered greater or lesser accidents when vigilance failed. Certain routines such as keeping pan handles turned away from danger, and not overfilling pots, were common sense.
Eh! Isn't that what Health and Safety is?
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  #13  
Old 16th October 2019, 16:50
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Eh! Isn't that what Health and Safety is?
it's what health and safety is or was supposed to be. Now it's institutionalised and documented and I fear that may be displacing common sense. Thanks for the humorous query.
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  #14  
Old 16th October 2019, 19:22
Peter Greene Peter Greene is offline
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Hi, Thanks for all comments. All very enlightening.

Hats off to ships cooks!

Thanks Johnny Walker, I had not come across the description 'fiddles', I came across another description which was 'range bars' that might have been in reference to something else or just another description for 'fiddles'.

I suppose that a Cook's work has become less difficult as ships have got bigger? less rollng and pitching? - Peter
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  #15  
Old 16th October 2019, 20:54
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Fiddles are also the name of a rim or other contrivance to stop items rolling off a table. They can be either fixed or folding.
The name comes from the earliest makeshift devices which consisted of wooden blocks with holes through which were passed cords which, drawn taught, held the blocks to the table - the resemblance to stringed musical instrument resulted in the name fiddles.
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Old 16th October 2019, 21:16
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On that Firth Fisher, which was carrying coal from Liverpool to Northern Ireland when I was in her, the galley was closed down before we passed the bar and only opened again approaching Warren Point or Belfast. We ate Spam sandwiches during the passage, and more often than not, we hit the chippie for our main meal, then the pub.
Not a lot of high cuisine went on in that old tub.
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Old 17th October 2019, 15:50
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pat Kennedy View Post
...the galley was closed down before we passed the bar and only opened again approaching Warren Point or Belfast. We ate Spam sandwiches during the passage, and more often than not, we hit the chippie for our main meal, then the pub.
Not a lot of high cuisine went on in that old tub.
I nearly put this down to being a tall tale when I heard that you had passed a bar. I suppose you could have nipped in for a glass or two though.
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Old 17th October 2019, 20:44
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I nearly put this down to being a tale tale when I heard that you had passed a bar. I suppose you could have nipped in for a glass or two though.
Regrettably, Liverpool Bar Light Vessel did not offer light refreshments to passing ships, just a group flashing light every 30 seconds at a height of 30ft above the water, visible for 10 miles. In bad visibility, it would shout at you in a low growl.
There was a very decent chippy in Warrenpoint, next door to a pub, right there on the coal berth.
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Old 18th October 2019, 04:39
Baulkham Hills Baulkham Hills is offline  
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I can't recall ever not having a hot meal from the galley due to bad weather even on reefer ships which would roll on grass.
I have sympathy for ship's cook, because seafarers always complain about the food and on ships I was on in the Red Sea despite the ships having A/C there was none in the galley.
Galley work had other hazards, I remember replacing a solid element on a range on an old ship, it was very heavy but when I lifted up the element there was an asbestos sheet which was in bad condition with fibres floating around. Even wearing a mask and goggles. it was a worry. Cleaned it up as best I could without disturbing the sheet any more and replaced the element. The range was safe in normal use. The cooks were working in a dangerous similar to an engine and had much the same accidents.
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Old 18th October 2019, 08:13
harry t. harry t. is offline
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feeding the troops

September 1970 / on passage Glasgow towards Quebec.

Seven days steaming is the normal to where we are now, it’s day twenty and it has every man jack drained of energy, all feeling rather weak and fed-up. Day after monotonous day of very heavy rolling, pitching and some fearful pounding. Every meal sees the food flying off the table, fiddles secured and tablecloths wetted down and even with the saloon chairs bolted to the deck someone at each meal takes a tumble. Pure luck none of the catering staff has sustained a serious injury. Daren’t chance a shower for fear of an injury somewhere, anywhere, for that matter. No dhobying, no paperwork, little or no sleep, just wedged and braced into the bunk wishing the violent motions would let up. Keeping a watch on the bridge or in the engine room in these conditions is a nightmare and even worse for the galley staff.
All throughout the night it blew with unimaginable violence, this lady dancing about like a person demented. After deciding to ‘heave to’, to weather a nasty wee blow, all hell broke loose with mountainous seas and a blinding spray whipped up by the wind with many tons of water piling onto us from every direction. No matter what I tried I couldn’t keep her free off heavy seas. As they say, ‘man proposes, God disposes. We do need a little luck occasionally, just to get by. Main thing, no damage was recorded in the Log book to either the ship or cargo.
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Old 19th October 2019, 01:22
Victor J. Croasdale Victor J. Croasdale is offline  
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I was junior engineer on the refer Loch Maree in 1976. We were on passage from Sweden to Nigeria. Went through a storm in Biscay, sandwiches for a couple of days.
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Old 25th October 2019, 06:30
russellward russellward is offline  
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I was on a 72' HDML heading north out of Auckland in 1967 in a scorching easterly with rain practically horizontal and nil visibility and radar nbg. Skipper's wife had dictated the menu and in accordance we knocked up pancakes from the mixture she supplied, when the boat was on her beam ends a lot of the time. Diesel stove was athwartship and practically amidships so it wasn't too bad. Wasted effort because they all fed the fishes so it was sandwiches for a day or so. A lot of them couldn't keep anything down. Navy never thinks of sagging off a little to make the ride easier. Men get pretty crook if they are dehydrating and I was the sick berth attendant.
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Old 25th October 2019, 15:04
harry t. harry t. is offline
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it was sandwiches for a day or so

I can’t remember a time we ever made do with a sandwich on a ship, no matter the weather, maybe in a dry dock somewhere, as happened sometimes with no power of any kind. I’m sure some retired ships cook on the forum could enlighten us, - sandwich’s in ‘bad weather’? I doubt if the ‘shareholders’ would be happy with that, no matter how understanding. On ‘foreign-flag’ or ‘share craft’ things were different.
On taking a shore job, my colleague and myself decided we would not eat out like the other expats. Ingrained habits no doubt. Same, same, - why pay for a dhobi man when we had all the facilities in the villa. As our hours were different, he cooked the evening meal, I washed up. Breakfast and lunch we did separately. The dry stores and bread I got near the commercial port and he got the meat (frozen ex.NZ/Oz) from the commissionaire at the tanker port.
Yes, things have moved on since retiring, the first stop after picking up the kids on the school run is a trip to a sandwich bar. Every blessed one of them come out off the school doors, fingers and thumbs going the hammers on iPad’s or tablets, conversations now non-existent, just silence.
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Old 25th October 2019, 17:30
seaman38 seaman38 is offline  
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Originally Posted by harry t. View Post
September 1970 / on passage Glasgow towards Quebec.

Seven days steaming is the normal to where we are now, it’s day twenty and it has every man jack drained of energy, all feeling rather weak and fed-up. Day after monotonous day of very heavy rolling, pitching and some fearful pounding. Every meal sees the food flying off the table, fiddles secured and tablecloths wetted down and even with the saloon chairs bolted to the deck someone at each meal takes a tumble. Pure luck none of the catering staff has sustained a serious injury. Daren’t chance a shower for fear of an injury somewhere, anywhere, for that matter. No dhobying, no paperwork, little or no sleep, just wedged and braced into the bunk wishing the violent motions would let up. Keeping a watch on the bridge or in the engine room in these conditions is a nightmare and even worse for the galley staff.
All throughout the night it blew with unimaginable violence, this lady dancing about like a person demented. After deciding to ‘heave to’, to weather a nasty wee blow, all hell broke loose with mountainous seas and a blinding spray whipped up by the wind with many tons of water piling onto us from every direction. No matter what I tried I couldn’t keep her free off heavy seas. As they say, ‘man proposes, God disposes. We do need a little luck occasionally, just to get by. Main thing, no damage was recorded in the Log book to either the ship or cargo.
Sounds like a passage we did many a time in the 60's from Japan to Vancouver in ballast to pick up grain for China, the ship pounding her heart out and shaking herself like a wet dog, twelve and thirteen days of misery, but the galley always managed to produce meals. Have been in a few hurricanes and typhoons, but can only remember being down to sandwiches on one occasion, that was in 1957 going to the aid of the 'Pamir' but alas too late to assist. That hurricane was a humdinger, right over on our beam ends when turning through a 180 degrees to go and assist, we lost rails and bulwarks off the foc'le and foredeck, foredeck ladders to prom deck as well as damage to the lifeboats. The weather all in a days work, but on this occasion tinged with great sadness at the loss of so many young lives, if I remember correctly it was 79/80 young cadets aged 16 -20
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Old 25th October 2019, 20:01
harry t. harry t. is offline
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but on this occasion tinged with great sadness at the loss of so many young lives, if I remember correctly it was 79/80 young cadets aged 16 -20
https://youtu.be/ybcEmj6Cmz8 - loss of the Pamir

I remember it well, a sad business that struck a cord with all seafarers at the time.

That trip I was writing about took 25 days. The winter before on the same passage, my friend had to deviate to Halifax NS, after 29 days, a port of refuge, for repairs. It then took him another 15 days to reach Quebec, on account of bad weather and heavy river ice. On arrival there he had to undergo more hull repairs because of the ice damage sustained. As bad as that lady was for the poor old cook, the chief’s seemed to come of the worst, with their nerves shot to pieces listening out for their ‘old’ 4-cylinder Werkspoor Diesel struggling to get up the next 'big one'.

note; back then the icebreakers didn't assist merchant ships - their main job was to prevent flooding on the river in the spring time.
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