Merchant Navy Day

Just out of interest, is there any publication that lists all the vessels sailing under the Red Ensign? I once saw one that must have been published in the late eighties, and the diversity was impressive. Liners, Cruse Ships, Ferries, Car Carriers, Oil Tankers, Gas Tankers, Chemical Tankers, General Cargo, Container Vessels, Bulk Carriers, Offshore Support, Cable ships....


I doubt if many still do. From having the largest Merchant fleet many owners have decided to register under "flags of convenience" for cash reasons
A flag of convenience ship is one that flies the flag of a country other than the country of ownership. For workers onboard, this can mean:
  • very low wages
  • poor on-board conditions
  • inadequate food and clean drinking water
  • long periods of work without proper rest, leading to stress and fatigue
By ‘flagging out’, ship owners can take advantage of:
  • minimal regulation
  • cheap registration fees
  • low or no taxes
  • freedom to employ cheap labour from the global labour market"
 

endure

GCM
I doubt if many still do. From having the largest Merchant fleet many owners have decided to register under "flags of convenience" for cash reasons
A flag of convenience ship is one that flies the flag of a country other than the country of ownership. For workers onboard, this can mean:
  • very low wages
  • poor on-board conditions
  • inadequate food and clean drinking water
  • long periods of work without proper rest, leading to stress and fatigue
By ‘flagging out’, ship owners can take advantage of:
  • minimal regulation
  • cheap registration fees
  • low or no taxes
  • freedom to employ cheap labour from the global labour market"
While there are still dodgy shipowners about it's not like it used to be in the old days...

 

Yokel

LE
I doubt if many still do. From having the largest Merchant fleet many owners have decided to register under "flags of convenience" for cash reasons
A flag of convenience ship is one that flies the flag of a country other than the country of ownership. For workers onboard, this can mean:
  • very low wages
  • poor on-board conditions
  • inadequate food and clean drinking water
  • long periods of work without proper rest, leading to stress and fatigue
By ‘flagging out’, ship owners can take advantage of:
  • minimal regulation
  • cheap registration fees
  • low or no taxes
  • freedom to employ cheap labour from the global labour market"

However - UK Flag Advantages

The UK Ship Register (UKSR) offers effortless international ship registration, wide ranging integrated services and 24/hour support.

The UK Flag offers world class surveyors and regulation alongside ship registration services as part of the UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency. The Red Ensign is recognised globally for the maintenance of high standards, maritime safety and the welfare of seafarers. UK Ship Register customers receive greater asset assurance and access to the best talent in the industry.

Join a flag that gives you access to unrivalled maritime knowledge and experience, tailored to your commercial requirements. Our customers receive a personalised round-the-clock service, with benefits and fee packages to suit individual requirements. We are at the forefront of the maritime industry and are committed to constantly improving our offer and responding to the needs of the shipping industry.


See also: Maritime 2050
 

Yokel

LE
However: Significant drop in number of ‘militarily useful’ British vessels - UK Defence Journal

‘Militarily-useful’ vessels are defined as vessels that could be requisitioned in appropriate circumstances in support of the UK armed forces. The number of such vessels has fallen from 721 to 584.

According to the ‘UK armed forces equipment and formations ‘ report, there continues to be a decreasing trend in the total number of British registered passenger, tanker and dry cargo vessels.

“Militarily-useful vessels are defined as vessels that could be requisitioned in appropriate circumstances in support of the UK armed forces. The number of passenger, tanker, and dry cargo merchant vessels decreased from 721 to 584 in 2020, with product and chemical tankers showing the largest decline. In 2020, there were a total of 72 British-registered merchant specialist and fishing vessels. This is a decrease from 77 in 2018 and 2019.”


I thought that the number of vessels flying the Red Ensign had been increasing in recent years?
 

PhotEx

On ROPS
On ROPs
However: Significant drop in number of ‘militarily useful’ British vessels - UK Defence Journal

‘Militarily-useful’ vessels are defined as vessels that could be requisitioned in appropriate circumstances in support of the UK armed forces. The number of such vessels has fallen from 721 to 584.

According to the ‘UK armed forces equipment and formations ‘ report, there continues to be a decreasing trend in the total number of British registered passenger, tanker and dry cargo vessels.

“Militarily-useful vessels are defined as vessels that could be requisitioned in appropriate circumstances in support of the UK armed forces. The number of passenger, tanker, and dry cargo merchant vessels decreased from 721 to 584 in 2020, with product and chemical tankers showing the largest decline. In 2020, there were a total of 72 British-registered merchant specialist and fishing vessels. This is a decrease from 77 in 2018 and 2019.”


I thought that the number of vessels flying the Red Ensign had been increasing in recent years?

well, being as how HMG stopped paying U.K. owners to build ‘militarily useful vessels‘ under Thatcher, it’s no real surprise, is it?
 
Are there any good books out there on the Merchant Navy?

Depends what you are looking for. There are quite a few memoirs available on Amazon mostly self published covering someone's career at sea usually in the '50's, '60's or '70's. I have read a few and they can be entertaining, particularly if you were there and know what they are referring to. If you are looking for professionally written stuff try Richard Woodman who has done a few historical series and also a history of the merchant navy in several volumes. I haven'y actually read any of them myself but have had them recommended to me.

 

endure

GCM
Are there any good books out there on the Merchant Navy?
Depends what kind of book you're looking for.

A good book describing a trip out east is "Voyage East: A stirring tale of the last great days of the Merchant Navy "by Richard Woodman.

www.amazon.co.uk/Voyage-East-stirring-great-Merchant-ebook/dp/B07Q85VRY4/ref=sr_1_16?dchild=1&keywords=merchant+navy+richard+woodman&qid=1631435164&sr=8-16

If you want the full history Woodman has written a five volume set called "A History of the British Merchant Navy: Omnibus edition"

www.amazon.co.uk/History-British-Merchant-Navy-Omnibus-ebook/dp/B07D5G7YP7/ref=sr_1_2?dchild=1&keywords=merchant+navy+richard+woodman&qid=1631435164&sr=8-2

E2A Unless you're really interested in the minutiae of company takeovers and lists of shipping companies give the omnibus a miss. It's really dry and very hard work.
 
Last edited:

PhotEx

On ROPS
On ROPs
Depends what kind of book you're looking for.

A good book describing a trip out east is "Voyage East: A stirring tale of the last great days of the Merchant Navy "by Richard Woodman.

www.amazon.co.uk/Voyage-East-stirring-great-Merchant-ebook/dp/B07Q85VRY4/ref=sr_1_16?dchild=1&keywords=merchant+navy+richard+woodman&qid=1631435164&sr=8-16

If you want the full history Woodman has written a five volume set called "A History of the British Merchant Navy: Omnibus edition"

www.amazon.co.uk/History-British-Merchant-Navy-Omnibus-ebook/dp/B07D5G7YP7/ref=sr_1_2?dchild=1&keywords=merchant+navy+richard+woodman&qid=1631435164&sr=8-2

‘good old days’ memoir?

I drank - a lot!, I got very dirty, I drank lots more, I knew were all the knocking shops were.
Repeat for 4 1/2 months, repeat without getting dirty for the 2 1/2 months leave, repeat for 4 1/2 months. How our livers coped is a miracle.

…..and then some Yank skipper who couldn’t hold his drink ran his tanker onto the rocks while drunk and spoiled it for all of us.
 

endure

GCM
My first trip I joined at Mina al Ahmadi. Our first discharge port was Genoa. We all went to the Stella Maris to send letters home and get the first beer in.

The padre came over and the firs thing he said was 'I expect you boys want direction to the Golden Mile' :wink:
 

Yokel

LE
well, being as how HMG stopped paying U.K. owners to build ‘militarily useful vessels‘ under Thatcher, it’s no real surprise, is it?

I really do not get that -considering the vital role played by STUFT vessels in the Falklands. I do not understand the way that Thatcher is fetishised as some sort of some sort of saviour of defence.

Perhaps, now that HM Government is now considering things like national resilience, they might consider doing something?
 

PhotEx

On ROPS
On ROPs
I really do not get that -considering the vital role played by STUFT vessels in the Falklands. I do not understand the way that Thatcher is fetishised as some sort of some sort of saviour of defence.

Perhaps, now that HM Government is now considering things like national resilience, they might consider doing something?

BPs product tankers were called up as auxiliary AORs for Corporate, it was part and parcel of the our day job, all ships fitted for beam and astern RAS rigs, annual training with the RN and RFA in doing it. Many RFA crew were ex BP or had been to college with them. BP was the RFAs de facto reserve.
Did you know a lot of the BP lads went south with their redundancy notices in their back pockets? yep, and after Corporate a grateful Government who still had a controlling interest approved the redundancies.

Thatcher destroyed the British Merchant Navy in just a few years.
Iirc, 1982 saw just 12 British cadets taken on, Reardon Smith rings a bell.

moving smartly onwards a bit into the latter 80’s, BP got told to go away and stop doing AOR stuff when the Americans found out their flagged out ships had Warsaw Pact country officers aboard.
 

endure

GCM
I've posted this before but a mate of mine was on the British Test when the Falklands kicked off.

They had a visit from the office and were asked to volunteer to go down south. They were told it wasn't compulsory. They were also told that redundancies were in the offing. It wasn't explicitly said but was made clear that if they didn't volunteer they'd be made redundant when it was all over. My mate came home with a South Atlantic medal and rosette
 

PhotEx

On ROPS
On ROPs
I've posted this before but a mate of mine was on the British Test when the Falklands kicked off.

They had a visit from the office and were asked to volunteer to go down south. They were told it wasn't compulsory. They were also told that redundancies were in the offing. It wasn't explicitly said but was made clear that if they didn't volunteer they'd be made redundant when it was all over. My mate came home with a South Atlantic medal and rosette

and then they switched over everyone to that s**** manning agency in the IoM on half the money, no perks, no pension, and make your own way at your own expense to the boat. The ones who got made redundant were the winners in that round, the whole thing collapsed in 1986 in the U.K. industries relentless race to the bottom.
 

endure

GCM
Anybody watching 'The North Water' on BBC2. The scene half way through reminds me of a run ashore in Wilhelmshaven :wink:
 

Yokel

LE
Yesterday I took an unplanned trip to the historic maritime town of Bideford. Parking my car, I was intrigued to see the SS Freshspring tied up.

SS Freshspring is recognised as being a vessel of National Importance and is on the register of Historic Ships formed by National Historic Ships UK (Reg. number 28).

Being an historic ship, Steamship Freshspring is remarkably complete; her hull and superstructure are substantially intact, whilst her steam engines are in outstanding condition due to the care given to them over time. Built in 1946, she was the last of 14 Fresh Class water carriers, all of which were 121 feet in length. Her duty was to replenish Naval ships with fresh water for use in boilers. She also acted as a fire tender and salvage vessel when required.
 

PhotEx

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On ROPs
In another world, another time, far, far away…..

 

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