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 Post subject: Re: My starting to be a sailor
Unread postPosted: September 15, 2017, 11:06 am 
Captain,
I'd be interested as to what exactly you said that you regret be quoted in the article(s).


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 Post subject: Re: My starting to be a sailor
Unread postPosted: September 13, 2017, 1:34 pm 

Joined: July 19, 2010, 4:51 pm
Posts: 404
As my last post it is not my intention to give a year by year account but on to what I think may be of interest. I was speaking to a person who was reading and did not understand some of the words that I had written e.g. Bosun. A most people know this is an abbreviation of boatswain, a man who was in charge of the deck crew. There were many passengers on during our “Lakes” time and two whom I remember well as they were not what I expected. One was a retired rear admiral from the US navy. He did the trip as he was hoping to get an insight what was involved in being on a ship transiting the system. It was, he hoped so he might understand what was involved to bring an old naval vessel to Duluth to use as a museum. He requested that he be in attendance in the wheel house every time I was there. He did indeed do that and also was present for most of the time. I said to him he should get some sleep and the response I received was “this is the trip of a lifetime and I don’t wish to miss any part of it”. I guess the guys those jobs it is accept it and have the hum hoe outlook but many outsiders consider it exceptional. I don’t recall his name but he was a great ad very pleasant person and I was sorry when he departed a very tired man. He wrote to the company afterwards thanking them for the experience and extolling the professionalism of the crew and the proficient manner which they conducted their jobs. I was to say the least delighted to have my crew recognised by such a person.
One the other memory was the couple of reporters from a newspaper in the prairies who were writing an article about the transportation of the grain from the farm yard to the overseas market. It started being trucked to the elevators in their area and on to railroad wagons. The railroad wagons/tank cars were unloaded at Thunder Bay where it was cleaned, graded and stored to but loaded on a vessel. We on board were the final stage before it was shipped to world markets. They also spent a major part of the trip in the wheelhouse and unbeknown to us were very astute observers and listeners. It was only when I received a copy of the published article that I discovered how well their listening skills were. I still have those and I have with some reluctance lent to friends to read. How others view us is a revelation and I suppose we take our unique occupation for granted. They too were amazed at our part of the route the farmer’s product took. Various members of the crew and I were interviewed and quoted much to my sometimes embarrassment as I might have said too much. I on occasion bring out these articles which were published in the Prairie Producer in August/September 1986.
In the time period I am now on I was, due to the illness of their preminant masters to sail, briefly, on our sister ships, C.M. & S.S. It was quite a revelation to me the differences how they were run and I did not wish to rock the boat so to speak and change anything. I had somehow been branded as an enigma by the H.R. guy in the Misener office. When I asked what he meant by that he said these who sailed with me either loved or hated me. I retort was I suppose the ones that hated me did not stay long and he nodded his head. Whilst on the other two boats I was reminded to a comment which was related to me by a crew member. During a “Canal” transit we had a visit from one of the Misener brothers and his wife and she was heard to remark to her husband “how is it our ships, referring to CM & SS are not as clean and tidy as this one. I admit the crew were ever proud and the hallways sparkling and shiny and when dirty cargo was being worked covered in craft paper.


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 Post subject: Re: My starting to be a sailor
Unread postPosted: September 12, 2017, 8:57 pm 

Joined: July 19, 2010, 4:51 pm
Posts: 404
Should the readers wonder how I managed to remember all these details I think I mentioned previously that I kept diaries and notations in them allowed dormant memory cells to waken and I am verbose.
We were now on our way to Wallsend to get engine repairs by the builders of the engine, Clark Hawthorn.
We had a good run up the coast to the Tyne where the pilot boarded and guided us up to the workshops and wharf of Clark Hawthorn. The Canada Marquis was berthed there and we rafted off so that we could get the engine problems resolved. The Selkirk Settler had been and gone and from all reports all was well. We had not long secured when a hoard of workers descended and started to haul the engine apart. As previously mentioned the three ships had the same type of Sulzer engine. Our engine was built at Greenock in Scotland by Kinkaid, SS was but by the place we were now and CM in Switzerland. All were having the same problems so blame could not be attached to how each boat operated so consensus was to do major changes.
Before long piston heads were removed and the liners drawn out. I would not be able to tell of the technical side of what was going on but the shore guys were being supervised by the Misener superintendants, Mitch who was in charge of the complete programme and Bob (not the mate). There many theories and no real agreement but this was on a trial and error basis. One thing was certain was we were not able to operate as the design boffins stated. The CM sailed and we had to move off and let her slide out. He had run lines under her and let them slacken down and they backed out and when clear pulled us alongside. All done at high tide slack water, without tugs and engine which was scattered all over the place. During the twelve days there many technicians from our unreliable equipment were on board doing their magic, I hoped that it was successful as it was no fun having to cope with the uncertainty of what was to wrong next.
When all was completed we departed and headed to the river Scheldt to pick up pilots to go to Terneuzen lock. On the way over the North Sea many engine speeds and tests to find out what vibrations we had. This was old territory for me having been in this part of the world many times. In the evening we docked at Sluiskil in the Nederland’s and holds inspected to receive the cargo. It was a small load of Nitrates for Montreal. The loading was very slow and it took five days to complete March 10th saw us outbound and ready for another winter Atlantic crossing.
My diary for 15th March had the following notations “weather took a turn for the worse with strong N ly winds and seas picking up. Noon position lat 44 00 N Long 31 43 W speed 13.1 knots. Had to alter course this afternoon as vessel rolling heavily. Very uncomfortable. Spraying overall and shipping seas.” On 19th we entered the ice fields in the St.Lawerance River. It was conditions I had previous had on the Crosbie boats so it was not a concern and we were able to cope with only a blackout and main engine stop when we were close to the shore (more grey hairs). The passage ended when we secured in Montreal on 22nd March I was delighted that I was going on vacation and gladly handed over to captain M.
This year there were many changes as we were finally getting things working as we had expected and doing the usual lakes work, loading at the “Lakehead” (Thunder Bay/Duluth)and down to the lower for ore to the US steel mills and doing it again and again. There was a trip to Catskill up the Hudson River with cement clinker while I was on vacation. After the discharge the relieving captain decided the best plan to clean up after discharge was to use the sprinkler system (we use during hot summer days to cool the deck) to wash all the dust off. He did not realise that all that did was turn the clinker dust into cement and now the boat looked like Port Weller Piers. I was not impressed when I returned! It involved many hours of hard work and the use of phosphoric acid to clean that mess and the lesson was learned, water and clinker dust do not go together.
There was another trip to Tilbury and I was told they did not get a warm welcome but I was on vacation so did not really care. My wife and young son joined me for trips on the Lakes and there was occasion when we were in Indiana Harbor steel plant discharging ore the offices security guard would not let my son through the plant (it was not safe) although he was accompanied by my wife and I. Got the agent to call his boss and soon sorted it out. I dislike people who think because they have a badge and a firearm it gives them the right to intimidate others (read into that whatever you like).
Often we had passengers and all were welcomed on board and without reservation they all enjoyed the trip. The crew were patient and answered many, to them, silly questions. I will carry on my tales etc but I hope not ad nausea until the awful day in 1989 when the Canadian Flag was removed from the stern and the Red Buster replaced it. I never thought there would be a day when I sailed under it again.


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 Post subject: Re: My starting to be a sailor
Unread postPosted: September 12, 2017, 2:37 pm 
Ya ive seen that many times with security, usually its the deckhands and oilers that get it usually the skipper has enough juice hes left alone because he can cause lots of problems.


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 Post subject: Re: My starting to be a sailor
Unread postPosted: September 12, 2017, 10:43 am 

Joined: July 19, 2010, 4:51 pm
Posts: 404
This year there were many changes as we were finally getting things working as we had expected and doing the usual lakes work, loading at the “Lakehead” (Thunder Bay/Duluth)and down to the lower for ore to the US steel mills and doing it again and again. There was a trip to Catskill up the Hudson River with cement clinker while I was on vacation. After the discharge the relieving captain decided the best plan to clean up after discharge was to use the sprinkler system (we use during hot summer days to cool the deck) to wash all the dust off. He did not realise that all that did was turn the clinker dust into cement and now the boat looked like Port Weller Piers. I was not impressed when I returned! It involved many hours of hard work and the use of phosphoric acid to clean that mess and the lesson was learned, water and clinker dust do not go together.
There was another trip to Tilbury and I was told they did not get a warm welcome but I was on vacation so did not really care. My wife and young son joined me for trips on the Lakes and there was occasion when we were in Indiana Harbor steel plant discharging ore the officious security guard would not let my son through the plant (it was not safe) although he was accompanied by my wife and I. Got the agent to call his boss and soon sorted it out. I dislike people who think because they have a badge and a firearm it gives them the right to intimidate others (read into that whatever you like).
Often we had passengers and all were welcomed on board and without reservation they all enjoyed the trip. The crew were patient and answered many, to them, silly questions. I will carry on my tales etc but I hope not ad nausea until the awful day in 1989 when the Canadian Flag was removed from the stern and the Red Buster replaced it. I never thought there would be a day when I sailed under it again.


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 Post subject: Re: My starting to be a sailor
Unread postPosted: September 12, 2017, 4:04 am 

Joined: July 19, 2010, 4:51 pm
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Guest wrote:
I do remember them before reflagging and after it was pretty shameful the state of the interior, Do you know whether there was any other vessels built on these plans?



No there were no others after the three.


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 Post subject: Re: My starting to be a sailor
Unread postPosted: September 11, 2017, 8:13 pm 
I do remember them before reflagging and after it was pretty shameful the state of the interior, Do you know whether there was any other vessels built on these plans?


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 Post subject: Re: My starting to be a sailor
Unread postPosted: September 11, 2017, 5:26 pm 

Joined: July 19, 2010, 4:51 pm
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Here are some photographs that were taken on Selkirk Settler on a Atlantic crossing.
These have not been Photoshopped as I know the person who took them.


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 Post subject: Re: My starting to be a sailor
Unread postPosted: September 11, 2017, 1:33 pm 
Guest wrote:
So Cap with all the issues the 3 ships were having, would the ships be classed as poorly built or were these problems that all newbuilds have for a while, or was it like some new car models where technologies a little ahead of everything?


No they were well built as the were able to survive some of the weather that was encountered. The engines were a new version and like many new types things found out during the operating period which would be an improvement were incorporated. The electronics were not of any particular make but did not behave well in this environment. e.g. the loran "c" is useless outside of North America and the sat/nav was antiquated. These were all replaced as were the radars and some items in the E/R. I believe there were some photographs of S.S. in heavy weather and sustained only cosmetic damage. As a newer type I ,after many voyages felt safe and secure although the flexing in a seaway could cause crew the first time they observed it, to wonder if she would break up. As two are still operating, after the abuse done to them, when under crews I did not think up to our standards is testimony enough.


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 Post subject: Re: My starting to be a sailor
Unread postPosted: September 11, 2017, 11:46 am 
So Cap with all the issues the 3 ships were having, would the ships be classed as poorly built or were these problems that all newbuilds have for a while, or was it like some new car models where technologies a little ahead of everything?


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 Post subject: Re: My starting to be a sailor
Unread postPosted: September 10, 2017, 10:06 pm 

Joined: July 19, 2010, 4:51 pm
Posts: 404
RCRVRP wrote:
Thank you for the stories, I enjoy them.

Several times you have mentioned waiting for other ships, onshore unloading problems, mechanical problems or other delays.
This lost time transporting cargo must be very expensive for the ship owners.
Do they put pressure on the captain in these situations to cut corners [so to speak] to quit wasting time at anchor or at the dock?

I assume some companies might be willing to accept the decisions of the captain while others might say "do what we say or find another job".

This a very difficult question too answer as pressure was never put on me at any time for whom ever I sailed for. It is different if you are on charter as when you present your "Notice of Readiness" and it is accepted you go on time and if it turns out you are delayed or it takes longer to load that stipulated in the CP you are now on demurrage and receive addition monies. You need to have a law degree to understand the ins and out of these CP's. That is why you have some insight when you do Ship Masters Business for your qualifications.
The tricks that are played by some parties are too many to mention but I think I did relate a tale about that earlier.
Hope the answer is what you wanted but I must emphasise that never was any pressure to cut corners made to me.
How did you deal with delays beyond your control?


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 Post subject: Re: My starting to be a sailor
Unread postPosted: September 10, 2017, 9:17 pm 
Thank you for the stories, I enjoy them.

Several times you have mentioned waiting for other ships, onshore unloading problems, mechanical problems or other delays.
This lost time transporting cargo must be very expensive for the ship owners.
Do they put pressure on the captain in these situations to cut corners [so to speak] to quit wasting time at anchor or at the dock?

I assume some companies might be willing to accept the decisions of the captain while others might say "do what we say or find another job".

How did you deal with delays beyond your control?


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 Post subject: Re: My starting to be a sailor
Unread postPosted: September 10, 2017, 6:44 pm 

Joined: July 19, 2010, 4:51 pm
Posts: 404
We had a good run up the coast to the Tyne where the pilot boarded and guided us up to the workshops and wharf of Clark Hawthorn. The Canada Marquis was berthed there and we rafted off so that we could get the engine problems resolved. The Selkirk Settler had been and gone and from all reports all was well. We had not long secured when a hoard of workers descended and started to haul the engine apart. As previously mentioned the three ships had the same type of Sulzer engine. Our engine was built at Greenock in Scotland by Kinkaid, SS was but by the place we were now and CM in Switzerland. All were having the same problems so blame could not be attached to how each boat operated so consensus was to do major changes.
Before long piston heads were removed and the liners drawn out. I would not be able to tell of the technical side of what was going on but the shore guys were being supervised by the Misener superintendants, Mitch who was in charge of the complete programme and Bob (not the mate). There many theories and no real agreement but this was on a trial and error basis. One thing was certain was we were not able to operate as the design boffins stated. The CM sailed and we had to move off and let her slide out. He had run lines under her and let them slacken down and they backed out and when clear pulled us alongside. All done at high tide slack water, without tugs and engine which was scattered all over the place. During the twelve days there many technicians from our unreliable equipment were on board doing their magic, I hoped that it was successful as it was no fun having to cope with the uncertainty of what was to wrong next.
When all was completed we departed and headed to the river Scheldt to pick up pilots to go to Terneuzen lock. On the way over the North Sea many engine speeds and tests to find out what vibrations we had. This was old territory for me having been in this part of the world many times. In the evening we docked at Sluiskil in the Nederland’s and holds inspected to receive the cargo. It was a small load of Nitrates for Montreal. The loading was very slow and it took five days to complete March 10th saw us outbound and ready for another winter Atlantic crossing.
My diary for 15th March had the following notations “weather took a turn for the worse with strong N ly winds and seas picking up. Noon position lat 44 00 N Long 31 43 W speed 13.1 knots. Had to alter course this afternoon as vessel rolling heavily. Very uncomfortable. Spraying overall and shipping seas.” On 19th we entered the ice fields in the St.Lawerance River. It was conditions I had previous had on the Crosbie boats so it was not a concern and we were able to cope with only a blackout and main engine stop when we were close to the shore (more grey hairs). The passage ended when we secured in Montreal on 22nd March I was delighted that I was going on vacation and gladly handed over to captain M.


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 Post subject: Re: My starting to be a sailor
Unread postPosted: September 8, 2017, 6:32 pm 

Joined: July 19, 2010, 4:51 pm
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The second day were here in Tilbury Bob the first mate called me to come on deck .The wind was very strong from the NW and Bob had put out additional mooring. The reason he got me up was o watch as first one of the unloading towers that was being blown down the wharf by the wind. It was increasing speed as it when trundling down the tracks and then the other tower stated to move. Both were now gaining speed and we, watching in awe as the first one hit the stoppers at the end of the track and it swayed alarmingly but did not topple off into the river. The second one was still gaining speed and eventually hit the first one that was now stationary and for a moment it looked as both would end up in the river Thames. Before long a big group of people came down to see what the damage was. It did not look good and it was discovered that they had not been anchored to their respective points. We were informed that there would be no cargo discharged for a while as damage was extensive to the first tower but work had started repairing the second. I gave the crew some time off routine work so they could take the train up to London and do sightseeing. This for some was their first trip overseas.
We were to have a shipper’s party and when I was hoping there would be some time when there was not a problem I again got a shock. The police and customs had caught some person going out the dock gates with cannabis and they had told to authorities they got if from our boat. Big search and found that the cook was the culprit. Had got it from some guy ashore but he was charged and taken ashore. We all helped out and did have a successful party. The cook had to be discharged as per the union and company policy. A few crew changes due to illness or family problems including our chief engineer who finding all the mechanical troubles too much to contend with. Never a dull moment!!
During the week many representative of the equipment came to resolve some of our failures. The engine builders were conspectus as they were swarming all over the main engine. The engineering superintendant from our office came and there was no consensus as to what was causing the excessive liner wear. Eventually one of the unloading towers got operational and discharging was resumed. It was unable to reach all the cargo holds so I was asked to turn the boat round. I agreed and with the expected bunch of PLA and harbour master watching turned without tugs and was now heading upriver. It was a relief when at last cargo was completed and we got ready to depart. The pilot that came on board was upset there would e no tugs and did not offer too much resistance when I told him to grab a coffee and I would tell him when to take over. The look on his face when I called up the traffic centre and said “Gravesend Radio this is Saskatchewan Pioneer ready to depart Tilbury and turn four and two (this meant I would turn to port 180 degrees)in the river please what the local traffic is” A surprised controller answered and told me about a ship coming down river. I acknowledged and gave the lake signal to the mates to let go. I got off the berth and turned to port using engine and bow thruster and in less time than its taken to type this (I only use two fingers) was heading down river. I again called the control and told him I was now heading out and gave him our ETA at Gravesend for pilot change. The other pilot was watching all this in awe and commented that he had never witnessed anything so smooth and wanted to know how I knew what the customary procedure was. I told he about my previously running in and out of the river when I was on the Gem line boats and the ship masters on the Great lakes doing their ship handling making them the most proficient in the world. He remarked I guess they picked the wrong guy to try and mess with.
I was on vacation the next time the boat came here and poor Captain M was not greeted a warm welcome.
Should the readers wonder how I managed to remember all these details I think I mentioned previously that I kept diaries and notations in them allowed dormant memory cells to waken and I am verbose.
We were now on our way to Wallsend to get engine repairs by the builders of the engine, Clark Hawthorn


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 Post subject: Re: My starting to be a sailor
Unread postPosted: September 8, 2017, 11:38 am 

Joined: July 19, 2010, 4:51 pm
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Right on Jerry but if you can get it try El Dorado 15 year old as it is now my favourite. It comes from the same country.
The wharf I am writing about can be found on Google earth and search for Tilbury dock England and you will see a boat alongside with the two unloading towers. Its on the river not in the docks.


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