Return to Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping Online
Discussion Boards
Please click to visit our sponsor
It is currently September 24, 2017, 3:34 am

FAQ | Instructions | Help
Search for:



Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 252 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1 ... 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 ... 17  Next
Author Message
 Post subject: Re: My starting to be a sailor
Unread postPosted: July 12, 2017, 7:46 pm 
I am sorry to hear Cap', I hope you get well soon!!


Report this post
Top
  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: My starting to be a sailor
Unread postPosted: July 12, 2017, 5:30 pm 
No problem Capt hope alls well!


Report this post
Top
  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: My starting to be a sailor
Unread postPosted: July 12, 2017, 11:30 am 

Joined: July 19, 2010, 4:51 pm
Posts: 285
Having a bit of a medical problem at this time but will continue shortly


Report this post
Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: My starting to be a sailor
Unread postPosted: July 9, 2017, 5:29 pm 

Joined: July 19, 2010, 4:51 pm
Posts: 285
A few words about the M/V Bill Crosbie before I move on. I was on another of this companies vessels loading a cargo under charter to a New York firm. In Savannah GA I was visited by the owner Colin Crosbie and their nautical advisor, an ex chief engineer from Glasgow. They came to try and convince me to sail the “Bill Crosbie” which had been chartered to carry steel construction materials for a project in Cork. She was to load part in Montreal and the balance in Halifax. They wanted me to sail here as master as I was the most experienced captain they had. I declined in no uncertain terms as I told them my opinion it was not safe to sail her at all and told of the deficiencies I knew of when I was last on her. Oh it’s not that bad said the so called advisor. OK I said I would do it if he was to come as the chief engineer. No I can’t do that as I have other commitments. Well count me out. Next question was do I know of any other captain that would do it (omitting stupid enough) I then brought another subject up. I was supposed to be relieved after four months as I was a “Landed Immigrant” and if I were to be out of my status and could be refused entry. You will be relieved in Europe he promised. I would leave her in Savannah as I had heard all these promises before. If you go I will have no one to sail her. I then said I would stay if you gave me $3000 US and an open first class ticket from London to Toronto. I got it as back to the “Bill”.
She loaded and sailed from Halifax with a person I knew as captain and was hit by a storm about 400 miles east of St. Johns and the cargo shifted. She developed a list to port and they had forgotten to plug double bottom ballast tank air vents resulting in sea water flooding into the tanks and making the list worse the captain sent out a Mayday and decided to abandon ship. All the crew got into the only boat they could use and four crew lowered them into the sea. I idea was for the guys that lowered them to board when it as in the water but for some unaccountable reason they cast off and the lifeboat surged ahead and was caught on the bulwarks and nearly capsized. The four crew were still on board when the boat drifted off leaving them stranded. They managed to get a generator started and as there now seemed that things had stabilized stayed on board. An oil rig supply boat answering the Mayday picked up the crew from the lifeboat and with the help of the crew left on board started o tow her to St.Johns. When they got closer a helicopter airlifted them to St.Johns.
A couple of days later the tug and tow arrived in port and tied the “Bill” up. While all the big wigs and so called experts were trying to decide what was the best course of action she turned turtle and sank alongside the dock!!!
I got most of this story from one of the crew I later sailed with so I can’t vouch for all the facts


Report this post
Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: My starting to be a sailor
Unread postPosted: July 7, 2017, 7:02 am 

Joined: July 19, 2010, 4:51 pm
Posts: 285
I felt a bit of remorse at leaving as they had sponsored my coming to Canada but I was extremely unhappy with the way things were going and the resentment the people I sailed with, with one or two exceptions and I saw no prospects for there being any improvement
The ship I was to join was owned by a Newfoundland company and they were regularly employed during the summer months supplying ports ad settlements in the Arctic and had been laid up since that was completed. She w had a charter to run general cargo to Sept Iles. I was the ill fated “Bill Crosbie” he had been previously owned by a Danish company and still had many of the Danish signs etc. I say Ill fated as I will tell of later. We loaded In Montreal and winter had set in with a vengeance as it was bitterly cold and the river was covered with ice. The short trip was an extended one as traffic below Quebec City was at a standstill and the ice breakers were working hard to stop a build up and cause flooding. What with one thing or another were late getting to Sept Iles and spent Christmas there. Although the Newfie crew enjoyed it I was saddened as it was the first away from home and my wife and children in a new land. Back to Montreal but we lost the charter because of the delays, natural and manmade. I was not impressed with the ship as there seemed to be problems in the engine room and the bridge equipment dated and not reliable or the ship in general where maintance seemed to be forgotten. Anyway I got a couple of days at home before joining the next ship


Report this post
Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: My starting to be a sailor
Unread postPosted: July 5, 2017, 8:54 pm 

Joined: July 19, 2010, 4:51 pm
Posts: 285
This was something he never expected but when he did finally manage to get the boat moored he was off on vacation and the first mate was promoted to captain and me to first mate. Got a decent cabin at last but it was not for long as next trip down to Montreal I was transferred to the “Eastern Shell” and I honestly don’t remember much about that boat but she was a difficult one to strip the product as the pump room was up for’d and if you lost suction it was a major task getting it back. Every time I was in Montreal I was phoning shipping companies as I could see that there was no chance of promotion or even if they would continue in business long.
Again I was transferred to another boat and this was one with quite a record as she had several owners and I could understand why. A real lemon and to be a mate on her was a nightmare. I was second mate and as usual the majority of the crew were Quebecers except the captain who was from Eastern Europe. Three of the engineers were Scots so at least I had someone to speak to. It had the same rule of no overtime for the mate and I now could understand why the large turnover. When in port the radar needed repair and I was asked to help him. When I put two hours overtime on my timesheet the captain called me to his cabin and reminded of no O/T. I commented that he had said to help him and that was the time I spent assisting him. Again he mentioned that no O/T was to be worked.
I had heard that company in Newfoundland was looking for a captain starting in a week’s time. Accepted and was just waiting to get back to Montreal to bid them adieu. We were in Quebec city and it was now bitterly cold and on my watch we completed discharge (I had words with the mate who had his wife on board and so he could spend more time with her opened all the tank valves, it was all the same product and when I came on watch I had all the running about stripping the tank A real mean trick).That ballasting was about complete and under normal good practice I would have helped and blew the line clear so they would not freeze but at the eight bells I handed over to the mate.
When we got to Montreal and tried to deballast we could not as a couple of pipes had frozen and cracked.
Our captain summoned me to his cabin and started to berate me for the frozen lines and cracked valves. I asked him to check the logs and he saw that ballasted completed ten minutes after I gone off watch. Why did you not stay and finish ballasting and blowing the lines. My watch had finished and you were the one that said no overtime and while we are her I quit.


Report this post
Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: My starting to be a sailor
Unread postPosted: July 2, 2017, 5:58 pm 

Joined: July 19, 2010, 4:51 pm
Posts: 285
Now that some of the necessary arrarangements had been mad I called you sponsor Shell Canada and I was asked to visit the office in down town Toronto to get an interview and arrange for me to ship out. I foolishly opted to drive down in my new Honda. Consulted the city road maps and with my wife as navigator off we set not knowing what we had let ourselves in for. I had never driven in traffic like the in my life. The 401 highway was the busiest road Ii had ever driven and they were all driving the wrong way (Sic) and I was petrified when boxed it by two transport trucks the size I had never encountered. We did the journey safely and after some difficulty found a place to part and presented myself to the shore captain. He checked all my documents and sea service and saw that I ha d done time on tankers. Due to having no Canadian experience it was decided that I start as third mate to find out w things were. At that time the “International Rules for Prevention Collisions at Sea” did not include the Great Lakes and they had their own “Rules’. This was not what I expected but I had to make a start someplace.
The drive back to my brother’s home was also scary and we missed the turn off and ended up miles (kilometers) from where we should be and a telephone call was required to get us back to his home.
A couple of days later I got a call to join the “Aortic Trader” in Montreal. A flight to there and a bus into town then a taxi down to East Montreal and the Shell dock but there was no ship there. I was told it had been delayed a couple of hours. There was another person there, the third engineer who was English so we decided to go for a meal while waiting. Back down to the shed on the wharf waiting till the ship came in. I was watching this apparition docking and could not believe this thing that looked as if it had come out of a time warp was to be my home for the next while (Short as it transpired). Here was I who had last sailed on an ultra modern ship going to join a floating relic. Well I said to myself this was what you wanted and so get on with it. I introduced myself to the captain who was a typical Quebecer who was I felt resented me being there. Next surprise was my cabin (?) which was as big as a locker I had n my last ship. It was tiny and consisted of a single bunk a small closet a desk and a chair. Changed into my coveralls and went to see the mate who was from Ontario. (He later became a pilot on the “Lakes”).
I was shown around and introduced to my wheelsman who was also my help as she had no designated pump man. We were given the task of deballasting and he showed me the valve system etc so we went ahead until time our watch was over. When that was finished we loaded product for Quebec city and then back to load for a port up the “Lakes” during this time I was taking prodigious notes and the captain hardly spoke a word to me as I could not speak Quebec French. The second mate was from Vietnam and spoke only a little English so I had only a couple of converse with. I was quite impressed that the Captain and mate did all the pilotage up the Seaway and Welland as well as the rivers etc. They both had their own course books which were closely guarded. We did a couple of trips to places I had never heard of and always loaded at the Shell dock in Sarnia. One time when I was on watch going to tie up in Sarnia (I had found out that to save overtime for the mates they were not called out to dock or undock but an off watch wheelsman was used instead) the captain told me like I was a first trip deck hand not to do anything without him telling me. He approached the dock at the wrong angle and missed so he turned round in the river and tried again. Once more he approached the dock at the wrong angle and could have got a couple of men on to the dock and tied up but he had not told me so I did nothing. He was shouting madly from the bridge at me so By this time I was sick of his arrogance and bad manners I went up to the bridge and told him if he wish to stand out of the way I would show him how to dock a boat as I had done it hundreds of times in more difficult places


Report this post
Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: My starting to be a sailor
Unread postPosted: June 29, 2017, 10:31 am 

Joined: July 19, 2010, 4:51 pm
Posts: 285
Our arrival at Toronto airport was filled with both anxiety and excitement and we were instructed to go to as special area where new immigrants were screened and informed of the steps we had to take to help us integrate. Also told how to get the “Baby bonus” and other grants etc. Filled forms to get our social insurance numbers etc. A thing that surprised me was when I was asked if I had employment arranged and was astounded when yes I had a job from a company that assisted in my being allowed to immigrate. You don’t have to take it if you don’t want to I was told!!
I was met by my brother and daughter who we were to stay until our furniture and other personal belongings arrived. After a couple of days rest we had many tasks to complete and I emphasize with new immigrants ho do not speak English as I was soon to discover the many things that required immediate attention. We had to open a bank account which was an education in its self. At this time the UK had restrictions on how much cash you could take from the country. Knowing this I ha d at every opportunity got money from the ports I visited so as well as UK pounds to deposit I had Norwegian and Swedish kroner, French Francs, Dutch guilders, German marks and Swiss Francs. The bank manager was at a loss what to do with this and my wife told her she had to wait until there was a favourable rate to convert it into Canadian dollars A means of transport was the next requirement and on my brother advice bought a vehicle that was to be trusted “friend” for many years and I will relate a few stories about that later. It was a green manual Honda station wagon and I don’t know why this model was discontinued as we found it a magnificent and a boon to the many tasks we completed.
I had to go to Transport Canada to have my credentials verified. It was fortunate that nearly all the Canadian exams were based on the UK standards and after showing my certificates of competency and proof of sea service and answering a few questions was issued with Canadian documents and a new discharge book. I had to take a driving exam as our driving licence was valid for only 90 days. Happily I passed. Another thing was o obtain health insuance as we were not eligible for an OHIP card till we had been in the province for three months.
My daughter was enrolled in the school and there was an attempt to put her back a grade as her writing was not the same as Canadian style. My wife who had been a teacher of over 14 years soon straighten them and pointed out she was ahead of other students in her grade and her writing was what was the current style that had been adopted by many countries. My son was enrolled in kindergarten and had been attending school in our local school as my wife was the teacher there for a couple of years. The only problem he encountered was he spoke with such a broad brogue the other kids could not understand him though he could have no trouble understand them (he had been in the small local school where all the children came from a mining village and that was how the spoke) He very soon got the Canadian accent. He is now a very successful business man employing several people and has a business degree from Guelph, an MBA form York and business degree from Harvard. He was written a best seller book on Real Estate investing and is frequently on Radio and TV as well as a speaker at many conferences. My Daughter after completing two degrees from Queens University is a high school teacher having gained additional qualifications. She has done this for over 25 years. Both were granted the honour of being Ontario Scholars.
I added the above as an aside to let you know that we have integrated in Canadian society contrary to the form from Immigration Canada that we would not be able to do so.


Report this post
Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: My starting to be a sailor
Unread postPosted: June 25, 2017, 7:21 pm 
Ya, Lakercapt you still have are attention..


Report this post
Top
  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: My starting to be a sailor
Unread postPosted: June 25, 2017, 6:09 pm 
Just wanted you to know how much l enjoy your stories l sailed for 7 years on oil tankers from the mid 60s till early 70s mostly as a wheelsman 3.5 years on the lakes 3.5 years east of Montreal and coastal waters your stories remind me of watching a very very good movie l never want it to end ! Thanks so much for sharing !!
Marv


Report this post
Top
  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: My starting to be a sailor
Unread postPosted: June 25, 2017, 1:07 pm 

Joined: July 19, 2010, 4:51 pm
Posts: 285
I don’t know how this issue was resolved but I never heard anything more.
When I motioned the Dutchman that thought he was smart and tried to put a fast one over me I should mention that some years later when I was in a port in the Nederland’s on a Canadian ship during the “Liberation Day” celebrations. The whole crew were treated like princes and wined and dined by the locals who will never forget the Canadian troops that freed them for the occupying German forces.
My last trip we went to Casablanca to load phosphates for Immingham where I was leaving. As this was a port I visited regularly during my sailing days with Gem line I was aware of the customs and had an ample supply of Marlboro cigarettes and Johnny Walker whisky ( which in my opinion used only be used as a cleaning fluid).It is always busy at the loading docks and to anchor waiting your turn. Anchoring off is a very uncomfortable time as there I always a heavy Atlantic swell which makes the ship pitch and roll constantly. There is a large outer breakwater and a large inner area anchorage which you can use if there is space without needing a pilot. I opted for this as we were to wait for a couple of days. That is when the “gifts” were started to be doled out. This I should mention is the recognised procedure in many ports round the world and not do so can lead to many unpleasant encounters with petty officials. Later on when sailing on a Canadian ship the company were very much against this practice and suffered the consequences although they were told what might happen. I chose to ignore this crazy indict as I did not need any extra aggravation in my life. All went well on the passage and I packed ready to depart on arrival when my relief came on board and I had never mention that I would not be coming back. I had a visit from the shore NUS union representative to discuss to crews perceived grievances and really did not care about them so this pompous little man invited me on to the dock to resolve things. I declined as I did not wish that there was any impediment to my getting to Canada. Several years ago when I sailed with a Chinese crew the chief steward who was a Sensei in karate had shown me several moves to defend myself and we had practiced them until he thought I was proficient enough. The only time they were ever used was many years later when I and a couple of crew members had a quick run ashore, during loading in Ashtabula.. Waiting to get a taxi back to the ship when one came and the lady taxi driver was accosted by a gentleman? Rather the worse for the wear (drunk). When I interceded on her behalf he told me to mind my own Fu*king business and took a swing at me. I assume he had never read Sun Tzu “the art of war” you should know your enemy as when he looked up and saw the starry sky and wondered what had happened before he went into an involuntary slumber we get the taxi back to the ship and the lady would not accept our fare. My crew members were rather quiet and never said a word about the incident to me.
On arriving home it was hectic getting all the necessary arrangements done and the transport sorted out courtesy the travel lady in the office in England. Now the realality of what we were doing hit as we had to start saying farewell to friends and one very difficult one was handing over our beloved pet standard poodle to his new owners It nearly broke our hearts but there was no way we could have managed to take him with us. My young daughter was nearly inconsolable and hated the whole thing. My wife and I’s parents were very upset bet could understand the need for us to move on. The British merchant fleet, once the largest in the world was rapidly shrinking due to the outrageous demands of the unions and them going on strike at the slightest pretext and I was not looking into a crystal ball when I saw the day it would be nearly a pale shadow of its former glory.
The moving van took all our belongings away to be shipped in a container Many tears in our eyes we drove away in or rental car. It was our intention to stay in a nice hotel our last night in Edinburgh and drive next day to Prestwick to catch the plane to Toronto. At that time there were no direct flights to Canada from Edinburgh and Glasgow.
We were off to start a new chapter life and still had doubts as to whether we were doing the right thing.


Report this post
Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: My starting to be a sailor
Unread postPosted: June 25, 2017, 6:48 am 

Joined: July 19, 2010, 4:51 pm
Posts: 285
Wow I am in awe that I have had so much interest in my ramblings but a new chapter is soon to start when I came to Canada as a "Landed Immigrant".
More tales about my adventures and misadventures will start.


Report this post
Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: My starting to be a sailor
Unread postPosted: June 24, 2017, 6:06 pm 
Great stories Cap, please keep them coming!


Report this post
Top
  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: My starting to be a sailor
Unread postPosted: June 24, 2017, 4:36 pm 

Joined: July 19, 2010, 4:51 pm
Posts: 285
To continue on my last voyage under the “Red Duster” the nick name for the British merchant navy flag. This as it turned out not to be the case but more about that later.
Our usual trips were to some of the remote places in Norway which are a very scenic country up past the North Cape where it is totally dark in winter and daylight all the time in the summer with the magnificent fiords and snow covered mountains. I always enjoyed the trips there. On one occasion we went with a cargo to one of my old frequent port of call, Odda. I kept the agent informed of our ETA but always signed the message “master” as I wished to surprise him as we had been good friends. When he boarded after we had berthed he said he was not surprised it was me as I was the only captain that approached and docked at the berth that way!! On one trip we went to Bergen where the head office was and we had many visits from staff including the owner Atle Jebsen who wished me good luck in Canada. I called the local brewery up and ordered 50 cases of beer and asked them to be delivered to the ship. What was the name of the ship they asked and were surprised when I told them it was the same as the brewery “Ringnes”? They were pleased to do so and added los of free advertising material.. Near the end of my time we were chartered to load a full cargo of wheat that was to be off loaded from a “Saltie” in Rotterdam for Southampton in England. It was terrible weather out in the Atlantic and also the North Sea and when we arrived at the pilot station it was suspended due to the foul weather but I was told if I wished to enter the Maas River they would assist using their advisory service and plotting me by radar. I had been there many times I opted for that rather than bouncing about outside. Steamed right in and the pilotage advised that the river pilot was not there but I could continue to the berth. Quick consultation to find out where it was as Rotterdam is a massive port and onwards we continued and eventually secured without any mishaps (sometime you have good luck on your side) I presented the NOR to the shipper and he would not accept it as he said the cargo holds were not clean enough. I had half expected this as he was surprised I had managed to get into port as the vessel we were to load from had not arrived. He suggested he come back next day and I said no way come back at 4PM and inspect again. It was only a few pools of water that needed mopping up. Rather a more than a little peeved at this he did come back and had to pass the holds fit to load. I tendered NOR again and he had to accept it and as I had made sure it was before 5PM it counted right away. All these tactics so I would not start time counting for demurrage. The Dutch are very shrewd businessmen and try all sorts of tricks when money is involved. We sat there for three days before the “Saltie’ arrived and I had prepared the mates for what was to be done. Armed with a Polaroid camera they were to be unobtrusive and take photos of the cargo when it was being transferred. I suspected there was some salt water had got into the holds and it shows up as peaks when it is being sucked out. We also got plenty of samples before they caught on what we were doing and banned us from the ship.
On completion of loading the same fellow that had tried to stiff me about accepting the NOR as he knew the ship was delayed, came down to get the Bills of Laden signed was aghast that I would not to sign them and would endorse them. They stated that the cargo was in good condition and I would only sign if I endorsed them with some salt water damaged. The proverbial shi* hat the fan then when I showed him the pictures we had taken and the samples we had to prove it.
Now there was a stalemate and after many phone calls and threats I still would not commit what I might later be involved in a law suit, by signing clean B/L’s. Eventually I was told by the office to sail so we did and arrived in Southampton after passage with smooth seas where the decks never got wet. I instructed the mate not to open the hatches when the shore labour arrived to discharge as I wished to see the receiver first. Big panic now as when the big boss arrived I said as per maritime law I wished to see that he was the rightful owner of the cargo by showing me the B/Ls .Course he could not as they did not exist and he was taken aback when I showed him the pictures we had taken and presented him with the samples. Then we opened the hatches and you could still see the dust covering the cargo so it was a sign that no water had entered the hatches.


Report this post
Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: My starting to be a sailor
Unread postPosted: June 20, 2017, 4:36 pm 

Joined: July 19, 2010, 4:51 pm
Posts: 285
When I voiced my opinion of their seamanship, or lack their response was we will report you to the “Union” As if I cared and I would have fired the lot of them but there were certain procedures to follow and they were time consuming and extensive and usually resulted in a smack on the wrist and all for naught.
It did not help when I got a new mate and I really felt sorry for him as he had been captain on a liner ship that carried a couple of hundred passengers and to say he was out of his depth would be putting it mildly. He was a great raconteur and could relate to the times when famous people travelled on his ship. He would go to the crew mess to tell them the work to be done and I would go done after a long spell of in activity to find them all sitting back drinking tea encouraging him to tell more tales. He was unfortunate experiencing the demise of passenger ships and to put him on a ship like ship was a dramatic letdown for him. I really felt extremely sorry for him but we were a very different operation and the mate had to be able to load cargo and organise the crew none of which he had long ago lost that ability so I had to let him go as I had enough to do my own job without solving his problems.
We had been accepted as immigrants and to get to Canada within six months of this certificate.
Leave time for me this time was traumatic as there were now we had major decisions to make and thousands arrangements for all the furniture etc that we would take and what to sell including all the electrical appliances etc. These onerous tasks alas fell on my wife as I had to go back to sailing. We had also to sell our car which a few moths previously the salesman assured me we were buying a fabulous vehicle of outstanding value and was now a heap of junk!!
I had to make that terrible call to the office telling them I would be leaving. They asked me to visit the office to discuss things and I was not looking forward to that. The visit was very cordial and they asked me if I was certain this was the step I wanted to take. I was offered a year’s leave of absence should things not work out, return with full rank and seniority. In the office there was a lady who made all the travel arrangements for the crew and she offered to get me Seaman’s rate on our air line ticket which was a big saving and included extra baggage allowance.. They want me to do another three months stint which I agreed to as I said before they were the best sipping company I sailed for


Report this post
Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 252 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1 ... 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 ... 17  Next

All times are UTC - 5 hours




Return to Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping  
Copyright Boatnerd.com All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Use of this site is based on the Terms of Use
Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group