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I think post #139 was a wind up. On first reading it I dismissed as such but did remark on the writers memory of the hey day of shipping which I am sure all the 'old timers' will agree was well finished before the author even went to sea. Cut him a little slack, I think it was tongue in cheek.
Thank you Ian for that defence, but I am too long in the tooth to worry about a bit of sour grapes. I believe it was SOP for those deep sea and was one of the things you were told when first going to sea, ' Don't drink down Aft with the crew'.
The same as the Officers Smokeroom (later bar) was just that and a Captain could be asked to leave, which I understand happened on one of our ships. Though it would not be a drunken 5th engineer who told the old man , but a senior officer.
I understand the following day the old man never said a word and accepted his ejection.
 

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Interesting; my parents were both BOAC cabin crew from the late 1940s onwards and had many tales of how the skippers were often the instigators of drinking sessions and various high jinks in the hotels on stopovers. Many of them were ex-Bomber of Coastal Command WWII pilots to whom team bonding (OK it wouldn't have been called that at the time) of this sort would have been second nature.
Aha, so I was misinformed about BOAC. I joined BEA/BA in 1973, spent five years in our subsidiary, Caledonian, four years on secondment to Gulf Air and, at 55, flew Cathay freighters for five years. The Caledonian and Gulf girls could let off steam a bit when they were on a roll, e.g. dancing on the tables - in the Middle East (EEK)
 

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Aha, so I was misinformed about BOAC. I joined BEA/BA in 1973, spent five years in our subsidiary, Caledonian, four years on secondment to Gulf Air and, at 55, flew Cathay freighters for five years. The Caledonian and Gulf girls could let off steam a bit when they were on a roll, e.g. dancing on the tables - in the Middle East (EEK)
... but apparently the skipper who lead his whole crew in a conga through the restaurant of the Tripoli Airport Hotel, all completely naked, soon found himself transferred to flying York freighters and counting himself lucky that he still had a job :)
 

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All the above noted but, current situation, as a ship inspector/surveyor the last 5 ships I did were of a size from Handy Size to Suez Max. 4 of the 5 had communal messing! Just stating fact!
 

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All the above noted but, current situation, as a ship inspector/surveyor the last 5 ships I did were of a size from Handy Size to Suez Max. 4 of the 5 had communal messing! Just stating fact!
How many had white British Officers, British owned and Registered?

So glad I am not at sea now, in fact glad that I left early 80's the way things have gone. BSL were in the Liner trades and reefer tramping.
The officers would not have stood for a diet of Chinese or West Indian food. I am sure the BOT would not have allowed that set up then .

With Chinese crew the deck crowd and the ER crowd had their own galleys, own food and own cook each plus a messman type as they came from different parts of China, though they were classed as Singapore Chinese.
The catering department used the European galley to cook their food.
Come Chinese New Year all the officers were invited down to their respected departments mess to eat the offered Chinese delicacies typical of their region also to YamSing, that is to toast beer mixed with whiskey and drink each half pint in one go. A sure way to get blotto. You was then expected to visit to other messes and do the same. That was the only time you mixed and you went mob handed.

Ah! Ship lolling, No unjineer lolling.
Being a first trip j/eng , the 2nd knew I hardly drunk, so arranged that I would do the 8-12 pm watch instead of the donkeyman so he could enjoy the celebrations.
Everyone was a winner.
Something I didn't know about was ' losing face', as I asked one of the greasers to give me a lift with something, without asking No.1 Greaser. Of course he lost face in front of his staff.
2nd came after me and explained the culture. Treat them as equals, but doesn't always work.
The ship was 15 years old and was spotless compared to newer ships with white crew, though we had a larger crew, but crew cost was the same as they got less per person.
I was told never to order the same egg at breakfast, otherwise they had you taped and one would be ready , but not freshly cooked.

You hear about companies running diversity training now, more political correctness, we just got on with it and played the whiteman.
 

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How many had white British Officers, British owned and Registered?

None is the simple answer! You have to ask yourselves why? Can I suggest 3 main reasons...Number 1 - Cost! Obviously there are cheaper options out there. Number 2 - Work ethic and Number 3 - D&A.

Number 1 - needs no explanation but before I start on the other 2 let me say that I do not refer to all British Crews as I sailed with some excellent ones but on balance, as C/O or Master, when you are spending more time on disciplinary matters than running the ship and when you are trying to get guys on deck for tank cleaning after a run ashore you sort of lose at least some of your allegiance to British crews. When most of the crews turn to walking like the Plasticine men from Vision On while trying to negotiate the external frames it gives you some doubt in the integrity of at least some of the good old Merch! I will be the first to say that some of the foreign crews at least start with very average seamanship skills and very iffy language skills but they do learn and progress and to be fair when my own company changed from British to Filipino I cannot remember ever asking them to be ready for tank cleaning immediately following departure and them not being ready, able and sober! It is not only British crews who come under attack for these issues but Germans, Danes, Norwegians, Spanish were all in the same boat so to speak and you have guessed it you don't see too many of these either anymore except in top four ranks! It cannot be coincidence. As a 4th reason, and I know this will draw bazooka fire from some of the old stuff shirts on here, but the Little Englander Empire building attitude that used to exist didn't help either. I have a very open minded view regarding all of this and can see why a lot of the long retired guys have a very different, some would say rose tinted memory of the good old days, I prefer view of the situation when they sailed than Rose tinted memory but this is 2017 for better or worse. Ships are now sailing with crews of up to half the size of those 20 years ago, example, I inspected a 365,000t DWT vessel at the Antifer VLCC Terminal in France 2 months ago with a total crew of 22 persons. The vessel had a full complement of Filipino's, it was immaculately maintained, professionally run and the whole crew had smiles on their faces. These are facts!

Would I like to see the British Merchant Navy restored to it's former glory? Of course I would but that unfortunately is not the real world, Do I miss trying to convince crews from certain UK Ports that the vessel is a working ship and not a conveyance between piss ups/ No I bloody don't!
 

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During the Cold War I spent much time aboard Russian and other Iron Curtain ships, in cir***stances where it might have been expected that social equality would prevail; or certainly in matters as fundamental as eating.

Not a bit of it. The social structure was exactly the same as aboard any British ship of that period. It often occurred to me that the social structure of a ship's complement (throughout the world) reflected the general structure of western civilisation as it was generally accepted to be.

The only ships aboard which I ever experienced communal eating were small coasters (with a complement of perhaps six, all found, including the master) usually Danish or Dutch, where communal eating was the norm.
 

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There should be seperate areas for officers and crew. You need somewhere to ***** about/take the p*ss out of your boss without them overhearing.
To be fair Dave. most of the vessels I have seen have separate Rec rooms, just joint dining. So there is still somewhere to take the piss and call the mate and the old man!
 

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There should be seperate areas for officers and crew. You need somewhere to ***** about/take the p*ss out of your boss without them overhearing.
In the RAF, and I guess also in the RN and Army, the nearest pub to base was out of bounds to officers.

In a Far Eastern airline by which I was employed, they had a company bar frequented by pilots and 'suits'. One or two careers perished as a result. Although Western, our 'suits' didn't have a great sense of humour.
 

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#171 . A Humber pilot told me that he'd piloted a Russian ship and a steward brought him coffee on a tray. The steward hung around after serving him so he thanked him and said he was OK. The Captain said: "He's a servant of the State and he'll stay there as long as I want him to."

John T
 

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It will have to start of with the word "Actually" which is frequently used by what could be termed the 'upper class' or 'upper deck' from that area of the World.(Jester)
 

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I am reminded of the Indian fitter who said that on the whole Indian crews preferred to sail with British officers in BP, as they were treated better than when on ships with Indian officers.
 

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#174

An eerie occasion once was when the saloon on a Russian ship contained only one long table, with seating for perhaps 18 people (8 per side and one each end). The Master sat at the head of the table and as a guest I was placed at his immediate left-hand. All seats were taken as we then sat down to dinner. The eerie part was the stony silence throughout the entire dinner.

Not an occasion which I had any wish to repeat.
 
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