Ships Nostalgia banner

121 - 140 of 161 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
85 Posts
Mv eid

Hi wsrmb01 - I too did a trip on the EID Nov '72 to April '73 first trip deep sea R/O - remember spending hours trying to contact WSL from the Med. Spent 6 weeks in a Pasadena motel while they repaired a crack in one of the tanks - hard times indeed(LOL)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
24 Posts
Mv eid 1973

#121 hello Dick
There was obviously another Sparks on the EID between you leaving 4/73 an me joining 11/73. When I joined, the previous one had already bolted! Do you recall any of the Deck/Engine officers names. The Capt seemed a permanent placing (Yorkshire guy, i'm sure,, married to American woman & lived in Florida), 1st Mate was from Strathaven, and I'm sure the 2nd/3rd Mate was a big Irishman from Donaghadee (Brian?), who would always exchange money for cheques for us youngsters to run ashore in Santos. I still have a pen-mark tattooed in my leg where he stabbed me with a pen, because I made a remark about the Rev Ian Paisley he didn't like! It was always a small foreign crew! We had a chef at the time used to run a Hotel in The Belgian Congo, before being run out..he was a brill chef. I remember having to fight off his advances a few times, as going 'below' deck was deemed dangerous for young newbies!...or so the Capt informed me.
I cant remember the TX on the Eid now (Memory fading!), but it was NOT the powerful type. I too remember trying for ages to contact WSL and other US coastal Stations. I mostly worked Amagansett/WSL in New York, WCC Chatham? and a couple of others, and paid token listening time to Portishead. I also remember having to almost batter the mechanical Auto-Alarm RX to 'unstick' the 'reeds'. Took me bloody ages to sort the thing out. The Radar was always going on the blink, and just before I left, the control Panel went on fire and I was told to let it BURN, as they were always at the owners for a newer set. I paid off, so I don't know how that turned out, but it has always eaten at me being ordered to let it Burn! Christ, I spent a good few hours on that Radar, the RAYMARC I think it was.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
64 Posts
I think your only trouble with MRGC would have been morse. It took me all of those two years to run up to speed and still got-by only on a re-test. Most, and regrettably it was most, failed on the learning side. Of the thirty or so who started out when I did only 4 of us passed first time (5 on the last day with a re-test!). Latterly Radar Maintenance was taken at the same time as the operator's ticket but it was something I never took. AMEC/T5 (with T3 Elect Eng) took another academic year and would not have been offered until you had 'some' seatime 'in charge'.

ECO was, indeed, Electronics and Communications Officer. Aspiring to a two and and half ring rank and pay scale. Unfortunately the market had different aspirations! ETO, same job, two rings and matching payslip.

I cannot resist commenting that although I agree that R/O and E/O were one man bands there was no good reason for them to be so.

There is more than a little truth in you comment on status. I am sure. However before we generalists get too cocky we should remember that the First Class plumbers are usually better qualified in electricity than any of us and several company cultures did not employ a dedicated electro-whatever at all. Keeping the culture was a duckpaddle. Imagine how much more difficult it would have been trying to keep two onboard with a pathetic demarkation based on Morse or possibly voltage?

Where were such qualified E/Os as yourself when we were looking for them?
Thanks for the reply Varley.
When I emerged from deepest Africa I toyed with the idea of going back to sea. Sugar mills in the bush are'nt exactly at the forefront of technology so I was a good 10 years out of date, and times had changed out of all recognition to me. I came to the conclusion that I would have struggled with the comms quals.
So I toddled off in a totally different direction. The Memsahib and I took a country pub. Best thing we ever did!!
Roger.
(Pint)(Pint)
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
10,268 Posts
every sailor's dream (until the recognition of the hard work kicks in!) however you must not use your lack of comms qualifications as an excuse. The essentials for keeping the lights on were the same. As the kit got more silicon based so did the opportunities for their repair get fewer and few of us, as ships are built/misbuilt now could get away without a technician now and again.

I had a great conversation with a Kongsberg technician on a Korean LNG Newbuilding, whinging that kit would cost a fortune to support when ten years old. "In ten years? In ten years this will not only be expensive to maintain but FABULOUSLY expensive" I learned that they had obtained the rights to Autronica KM series (discrete alarm systems, a card per channel, although one could still scan them by computer if you wanted to. The reason? For customers where it was difficult to arrange service! Evidently the middle of the oggin is free of such customers!

I had a KM2 still operational in this century, still maintainable and inherently free of fatal single failure modes.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
23,019 Posts
Varley......as requested.

Going back to 1994 , the Achilles Lauro sinking was hailed by the "authorities" as a success for the fledgling GMDSS system.
As I recall after 25+ years, her initial distress call and message was tx'd on 500khz by an R/O.
Her GMDSS kit lay under dust covers......no one could operate it.
By some miracle a Thai(?)registered freighter within MF range carried an R/O who obviously made his relay ashore and the subsequent distress traffic was controlled by Stavanger MRCC.
The claim that the initialdistress "alert" was made by the GMDSS system was disingenuous at best.
Forgive the loose terminology......no-one seems to bother much these days.....I find I can't overlook ingrained nomenclature.
The only online coverage that I can find, ironically ,is my own on SN many years ago in conjunction with another member.
I vaguely recall hundreds of rescued pax on the deck of a rescue ship.....all bright red with sun exposure en route to Djibouti.....there was insufficient room in the accommodation to allow shelter from the equatorial sun.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
10,268 Posts
2182, thank you for that.

1994 had a better example. Clearly the Achille Lauro was not a GMDSS vessel and so only the authorities were wrong in making the claim all else was as old rules (of course some GMDSS related kit would have been retrofitted, EPIRB, R/T watch RX etc. and perhaps responsibility for control - when did that move ashore to an MRCC?). Estonia, may not have been GMDSS herself but many around her were. It remains an emotional read in the very best of seafaring tradition every vessel that was going to do so had altered towards her before anyone ashore ordered them to or Goteborg could be alerted. It is reported that that alert was by mobile phone. I haven't re-read it for some time but the accident report is easily Googled. I don't re-read it often, brings tears to the eye.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
143 Posts
Discussion Starter #128
I was involved in a pre-GMDSS rescue. Rather than type it all out again, here is a link:

http://www.radiomarine.org/gallery/show?keyword=SOSNEWC&panel=pab1_7

It is debatable whether the demise of Morse and the R/O ever led to more sea casualties. Probably not. Certainly there is no convincing evidence of this.

On the subject of who should be responsible for comms during an emergency, all the bridge officers are qualified to do so, and carrying one man for this job is foolhardy. He may be injured or otherwise engaged.

An ETO these days spends little time on the bridge and is usually down below with the engineers. My duty during abandon ship as ETO on my last vessel was to launch the starboard life raft. During a fire it was in the engine control room to perform electrical isolations.

Things have changed, and for the best IMHO.
 

·
Malim Sahib Moderator
Joined
·
8,601 Posts
On the subject of who should be responsible for comms during an emergency, all the bridge officers are qualified to do so, and carrying one man for this job is foolhardy. He may be injured or otherwise engaged.

They may be qualified to do so, but the question must be asked - which one of them will have the time to do so?
In BP tanker post GMDSS the mates did of course all have GMDSS tickets, however so did the ETO and his muster station was on the bridge where his emergency duties specifically were to handle external communications.
That setup went on to prove itself eminently sensible as time went on.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,096 Posts
They may be qualified to do so, but the question must be asked - which one of them will have the time to do so?
In BP tanker post GMDSS the mates did of course all have GMDSS tickets, however so did the ETO and his muster station was on the bridge where his emergency duties specifically were to handle external communications.
That setup went on to prove itself eminently sensible as time went on.
Exactly.

(Thumb)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
143 Posts
Discussion Starter #131
It is nice for us to sit back in our armchairs and pontificate on how things should be, but time has moved on.

The Manila convention STCW ETO certificate became mandatory on 1st January 2017. So the old ex R/O calling himself ETO and offering to assist in comms has become a dinosaur. The ETO syllabus does not include a GMDSS Operator's certificate so the ETO is not qualified to conduct emergency communications.

Many ETO's I worked with back-to-back in the past ten years have been young guys with no radio experience. They are trained for heavy electrical control and hotel systems. THE STCW requirements have taken the radio out of ETO.

Just separating fact from fantasy.

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/852367/MSN1860.pdf
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,096 Posts
THE STCW requirements have taken the radio out of ETO.

IMO perpetuates the fantasy that:

1. the terrestrial GMDSS systems - principally DSC - are easy to use; and
2. the deck officers have enough time to attend to comms in a emergency.

GMDSS was too much change, too quickly - SOLAS Chap IV (radio) did not keep pace with technology...driven, of course, by parsimonious shipowners at IMO.

All of a sudden, here was a chance to get rid of people - said shipowners jumped at it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
23,019 Posts
Going back to the mid '90s......I lost count of the number of masters/mates who openly admitted they got so hacked off with HF DSC distress alerts being received they just......

"Switched it off"
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
10,268 Posts
It is nice for us to sit back in our armchairs and pontificate on how things should be, but time has moved on.

The Manila convention STCW ETO certificate became mandatory on 1st January 2017....
Just separating fact from fantasy.

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/852367/MSN1860.pdf
The elephant I saw in IEC 60092-509 is that basically it does not change the status quo. The person doing the maintenance MAY be 'certificated'. He may also be an 'instructed person', so at best trade oriented, acting under the control of a qualified person (there are three levels I cannot remember the designation of all of them). So basically one can rely on the Chief's certification as qualified and carry on as you were without worrying about the competence of who you choose to have for the work (or choose not to have) or have someone with a tested level of competence. The only real difference is that the testing of that (lower) level of competence is now enshrined in STCW as has been the Chiefs since Fleming.

I have always been in two minds about this. Two tanker companies traded satisfactorily with 'just' an assigned third as did many other companies. How such an assigned man retains any fluency gained from practice when he may only have that practice one trip in four I quetion. I was fortunate to be in company cultures where an E/O was carfried in the first place. In the first I moaned about underpinning knowledge and competence in my second the culture was 'eastern' and my E/Os were better qualified than I was (for to well for the needs of the industry). Who does 'better'?

One of the industry's most senior plumbers from one of those tanker companies can recount exactly the sequence of 'levers' to operate to run up and connect the main motor of a T2. What he cannot recall is the action of those levers. I have only seen a T2 on my way back from ashore in Trinidad and I do.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
43 Posts
All of a sudden, here was a chance to get rid of people - said shipowners jumped at it.
"The shipowners have a bomb under your chair" was the way Mal Phillips (Marconi Offshore Chelmsford) put it when I went there for an interview in 1991 for what turned out to be a ghastly rust bucket OBO (Griparion - Beta Maritime) with cream cracker decks. He was right.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
697 Posts
In all the thirty years of surveys I did the most common problems were.
1. Batteries lasted seconds instead of the 1 or 6 hours. No maintenance done.
2. Aerials broken or full of water. Most aerial feeds were members of the “Irish pennant club”. Retrofits were the worst offenders. I once had four 24v 2 gauge battery cables going through a bridge console. The hole was about 3 inches in diameter and was made using a 1/4” drill so was effectively a 3” very sharp hole saw. Would have been interesting to see how that worked out down the line. I failed it.
3. Outdated batteries for handhelds, expired EPIRB batteries and releases. Companies had no idea when they required replacement.
4. Operators unable to operate the equipment or even find some of it.
5. Having downloaded or obtained the previous years survey it was obvious it had been flogged. This may be controversial but I found a lot of shore trained inspectors, as opposed to ex sea going, had little idea what they were doing. This was especially evident on anything to do with HF/DSC/Telex.
6. Passenger ships were some of the worst maintained. It became a theme that whenever we had to do a passenger vessel we would be put on the early boarding list to give us time to do the survey. On a couple of vessels we would not be let on board until it was almost too late to do a proper survey. Once onboard it was the usual “oh so sorry but you will do the survey won’t you?”.
We came to the conclusion that as this happened regularly it was a deliberate attempt to make us rush the survey. We usually found items that needed rectifying or had been ignored since last survey.
7. Having spent a lot of time on US East coast dredging vessels the GMDSS, not VHF, was switched off and had been for most of the previous year. Once again aerial maintenance was nil.
8. Publications. Most of these were out of date and hidden away.
It was always amazing on some vessels how once you failed it that it was all your fault. I once failed a Greek chemical tankers GMDSS batteries, they lasted 1 second, whereby the Greek superintendent first tried to bribe me and then tried to hold me on the vessel, which was at anchor, but was saved by the launch crew, all this across the table from a new ABS surveyor. The bribe went right over his head and he seemed totally impervious to what was transpiring.
This is not to say all vessels were like this, many hundreds were spot on and a pleasure to survey. I am sure all of us who did these surveys have a long list of what they faced.
My shortest survey was a bulk carrier that had a burned out accommodation, bridge and radio room. The bridge consisted of a picnic table, a steering stand +gyro, one radar a yacht echo sounder with the transducer on a broom handle duck taped to the water line of the vessel. The radio equipment consisted of two vhf radios and a temporary SSB. The USCG came onboard took one look on the bridge and said “ “When ready to sail, two tugs to Cape Henry and don’t come back”. When I went to the Captains cabin to get my reports signed off I was met by an Indian crew member who had slashed his wrist and was pumping blood all over the desk.
An interesting day.
 

·
Malim Sahib Moderator
Joined
·
8,601 Posts
It is nice for us to sit back in our armchairs and pontificate on how things should be, but time has moved on.

The Manila convention STCW ETO certificate became mandatory on 1st January 2017. So the old ex R/O calling himself ETO and offering to assist in comms has become a dinosaur. The ETO syllabus does not include a GMDSS Operator's certificate so the ETO is not qualified to conduct emergency communications.

Many ETO's I worked with back-to-back in the past ten years have been young guys with no radio experience. They are trained for heavy electrical control and hotel systems. THE STCW requirements have taken the radio out of ETO.

Just separating fact from fantasy.

BP trained ALL ETO's regardless of background (including those who were electricians) to have GMDSS tickets. This included the new generation of ETO cadets from the mid 90s onwards who basically did a 4ths ticket with a 6 month electrical bolt-on.
The company took the view that STCW and the GMDSS regulations simply weren't good enough in this regard and so to their credit they put their money where their mouth was.
That's not fantasy, that's facts.
 

·
Malim Sahib Moderator
Joined
·
8,601 Posts
Going back to the mid '90s......I lost count of the number of masters/mates who openly admitted they got so hacked off with HF DSC distress alerts being received they just......

"Switched it off"

That was common enough practice in certain parts of the world because as soon as one relay came in, every man and in his dog within a thousand miles relayed it to everyone over HF.

I often wondered whether this was due to them trying to slope responsibility in dealing with it properly, or whether the individuals concerned were actually taught to do that in their respective countries.
The problem was that once we moved into the 21st century near the 10th anniversary of GMDSS I started to increasingly notice shore stations doing exactly the same. Not many years before those same shore stations would have been the first to jump on any operator flouting procedures or causing mischief.
 
121 - 140 of 161 Posts
Top