When Ships WERE Ships

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Deepol
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When Ships WERE Ships

Post by Deepol » Mon Mar 14, 2011 10:15 am

The next meeting at the Partick United Free Church Hall on Thornwood Terrace in Partick G11 7QZ is a joint Clyde Shiplovers, Coastal Cruising Association, World Ship Society Clyde and Forth Branches Social Evening. This will be this Thursday 17th 7pm for 7.30 onwards. Tea, coffee biscuits etc available for a donation of £1.
The theme will be "When Ships WERE Ships" and there will be a feature of slides taken on the Clyde in the heyday of stylish ships. The meeting is open to all so if you remember proper looking ships (or for younger ones, see what you missed ) please come along for a blether and a night of unashamed nostalgia.
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Paul Strathdee

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John Cassels
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Re: When Ships WERE Ships

Post by John Cassels » Mon Mar 14, 2011 7:17 pm

Paul , did you ever have to work on one of these ships ?.

If you did , you might not be so keen glorify them.

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Deepol
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Re: When Ships WERE Ships

Post by Deepol » Tue Mar 15, 2011 10:03 am

Well aware of that John. I've seen plenty of stories on this, Clydesite and other sites from folk who had the most horrendous time on ships that were built for looks not functionality. However, its looks the enthusiast goes by and however miserable it was to work, if it makes a good photo that's all that matters. The two Queens were a stark example of this.
I worked for nearly 29 years in the railway control office in Glasgow a job which would have put you off ever wanting to see a train again from day one but I wouldn't have missed it for the world and never lost the urge to stand on a station platform, camera in hand or travel extensively just as some ex- seafarers still come to ship society meetings and contribute their photos and experiences on websites.
Paul Strathdee

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John Cassels
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Re: When Ships WERE Ships

Post by John Cassels » Tue Mar 15, 2011 8:50 pm

In retrospect Paul , I may have sounded patronising , apologies if this was so - none was intended.
I just have some bad memories when having to work some of that gear.

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Deepol
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Re: When Ships WERE Ships

Post by Deepol » Tue Mar 15, 2011 8:55 pm

Used to say the same to enthusiasts who raved about some of our most diabolical locomotives to work with!!
Paul Strathdee

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tonycannon
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Re: When Ships WERE Ships

Post by tonycannon » Thu Mar 24, 2011 11:34 pm

I've never been to sea, but my day job (and often at nights too) as a ship's agent takes me onto all sorts of ships, meeting all sorts of people for 27 out of 41 years to date, of my working life.

I initially worked with J.S. Nowery & Co Ltd of Glasgow, later Liner Shipping Agencies, who were the in-house, owned agents for Blue Star Line, Lamport & Holt and Booth Line at Glasgow, in addition to the Johnson ScanStar container service from the UK to USWC in which Blue Star were partners with Johnson Line of Sweden and EAC of Denmark which was my prime employment at Greenock Ocean Terminal, as it is now known.

Ships and shipping has always been a hobby of mine since I entered my teens, and I have been boarding tankers, bulk carriers, dry cargo vessels, survey ships, warships, submarines, coasters, tugs and barges, cruise ships and luxury private yachts in my career to date, so have seen and appreciate many good (and poor) working conditions on board for many crews...some to the point where the MCA and their predecessors have detained ships due to poor conditions on board, and we have had to arrange various contractors to get conditions to an acceptable point for the vessel to be released from detention. Thankfully, these occurrences are now few and far between.

That said, I still enjoy my job and look forward to going to work each day...how many folk can say that these days?

When the phone goes (in the office or at home after hours) you never know what the call will be about - a passenger with a heart attack requiring an ambulance and hospitalisation; sea water contaminated cargo, get the P&I assessor or a surveyor; I need 200 pounds of artichokes in Greenock on a Saturday afternoon; chasing lost luggage with airlines for a passenger who joined a cruise ship 4 days ago and is left with no clean knickers; what are the train times to Glasgow; I need a 350 tonne crane for 08.00 tomorrow (at 6.00 p.m. whilst driving home; river closed by fog - rearrange pilots and tugs)

I've seen the insides of the QE2 and the NORWAY which were not accessible to the paying guests and they were pretty poorly presented in places due to the ages of the vessels. Modern cruise ships are spotless with large crew areas for working and recreation, but there are always little problems like guys with dental/doctors appointments getting into a regular cab on the pier instead of the one we arranged, and arriving at the surgery with no payment means available - sort that one out! (whereas we run an account with our private hire people). I have enjoyed many fine meals on cruise ships on my own or at functions for a maiden call and mingled at functions with company presidents, operations managers, cruise directors, etc and trying to push the Clyde and Greenock as a destination.

Over the years I've been in discussions or conversations with high heid yins in the shipping companies, Masters or Owners of vessels, charterers, timber company owners, sales directors, purchasing managers and HM Revenue and Customs and Immigration/Border Agency personnel right down to the young cadets joining vessels for the first time, covering most of the seafaring nationalities of the world...some people are very welcoming after a long sea passage and relish the chance of a change of person to talk to, some are always questioning port working hours, costs, etc., (when in Rome, do as the Romans do), ... "in the USA we do this...well, you are in Scotland,, not the USA, this is how we do it!) etc.,

Others are downright rude and arrogant, but you get a bit thick-skinned and just get around it by directing the conversation towards something else, you can usually get your own back!

My job, like Paul's used to be, is something I wouldn't have missed for anything despite the often long hours, being away from home occasionally, climbing near-vertical gangways on a VLCC at Finnart at 03.00 hrs with the rain lashing down and the wind trying to remove you from the gangway, etc. and I still get a buzz when I stand on the pier and watch a vessel sailing after a job being pretty well done, all loose ends tied up, crew changes completed and cargo discharged/loaded ,as planned and on time.

Job satisfaction is what it is all about! Who needs the money? Roll on retirement!
Tony Cannon

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Deepol
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Re: When Ships WERE Ships

Post by Deepol » Fri Mar 25, 2011 9:05 pm

Well said that man. I don't know if you were there but can identify in a way with your experience on the VLCC at Finnart when we had a visit to NORDIC CLANSMAN on a wet and windy day when boarding and then holding onto something on her vast deck was quite exciting to say the least!
Paul Strathdee

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John Cassels
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Re: When Ships WERE Ships

Post by John Cassels » Sat Mar 26, 2011 9:09 am

Funny you should mention the Nordic Clansman Paul , was chief mate on her more than 30 years ago.

Not too bad but a bit of a nightmare for the ginger beers.

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Deepol
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Re: When Ships WERE Ships

Post by Deepol » Sun Mar 27, 2011 8:28 pm

Maybe can see where you were coming from now. Must dig out photos to bring back happy (?!) memories......
Paul Strathdee

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