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Thread: Foreign Crew Members

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    Default Foreign Crew Members

    A lot of us have experienced the Indian sub continent deck officer and living in Pakistan I've a certain amount of experience, where-in getting a certificate was as easy as getting out of bed because of their retentive memories; however put them in charge of the deck of a normal tramper and they were a different kettle of fish, good at telling the serang what to do, but getting their hands dirty to show him what they wanted was definitely a no-no, so the job was protracted and not done properly. My experience of the serang although not educated once you had got your hands dirty alongside him, he was the most willing worker and once he'd got the gist of the job it would have been taboo to keep helping him, as his pride was at stake, the officer class played the caste system to its extremities.
    Last edited by Chris Allman; 21st May 2020 at 06:15 PM.

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    Ivan the first Indian crew with in Chowgules was under unfortuanate circumstances , the Chinese were paid off in Japan was supposed to be a low key affair but got expanded, the. Reason was that it was costing the owner too much in desertions in the States as the fines alone were exorbitant. Arriving Japan it was a loss of face for the Chinese and they went into sit down strike mode. They all insisted on 3 months wages for starters , it took about 3 days for negotiations . When the next crew and the Indian officers who were sent out before hand arrived , there was nearly another strike when the crew saw the Indian officers as had been told in Bombay they were all Europeans. However finally got sorted. The crew themselves were probably the bottom of the barrel and the Serang was a little Pathan a real trouble maker who the crew themselves threatened to toss him over the wall.I took him down in solitary into the teeen decks and told him his fate if he didnít tow the line. The second ship was better as had a much more complacent crew where the Serang Tindal And Cassab all from the same parts of India together with most of the crew. Crew for crew I preferred the. Chinese.. However we are not to choose these things and only work with what is available. The caste system in India is insurmountable and brought to the confines of a ship is sometimes a daily problem. All the Indian officers who were married had their spouses with them and all expected their husbands to accompany them ashore , the problem there was the husbands expected this as well , it could easily deteriorate into a Cooks Tour if you let it. That and the cooking in the cabins was my biggest bugbear , I wonít go into too much detail , but certainly had my share of the mystic orient. Cheers JS
    Last edited by Chris Allman; 21st May 2020 at 06:16 PM.

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    Default Foreign Crew Members

    Sailing with Indian deck officers you always ran into problems as they considered themselves above the Indian ratings and as officers were not there to get there hands dirty but to supervise (order) the ratings.
    As an example, 3rd mate was told by me, the mate, it was time for him to carry out his lifeboat equipment inspection and check the rations state. When I saw him standing one deck above the lifeboat, dressed in immaculate white boiler suit, ordering the a.b. to open up the equipment and rations lockers and check conditions of the rations and if all the equipment was working correctly, he could not understand why I was angry with him as as far as he was concerned he was doing the required maintenance, albeit from a remote position.
    Another example was how they totally believed electronic information displayed to them on the radar over what a look out of the bridge windows would have told them and even arguing with shore radar that the container ship on his stbd side would pass safely 1/4 a mile ahead when just a quick look told you it was actually going to plow into us around midships. Fortunately the container ship took evasive action but after I apologized to it and the port approach radar, the 2nd mate seemed slightly bemused as to why I had him up against the bulkhead by his throat, telling him that if I ever caught him relying on electronic information instead of using his own eyesight he would be a eunuch for his remaining years.
    The Indian engineer officers were in the main pretty good at getting stuck in but the deck officers went round like they were superior to all others.
    Rgds
    J.A.
    Last edited by Chris Allman; 21st May 2020 at 06:17 PM.

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    #2 and #3 Thank you, I thought it was just me being biased, having lived years in Pakistan, spent many months living in India the caste system was alive and well, the upper echelons considering it their divine right not to get their hands dirty under any circumstances, in so much on numerous occasions as having their servants clean their (the eaters) hands during the meal. The man in the street, and on the docks I found to be hard working considering the poor diet they survived on. The artisan, unable to read or write in the tin shed workshops very clever indeed and I used them many a time to make on-the-spot pieces of machinery when correct spares not available, give them the broken bearing (or its bits) and you would have a new one in less than 24 hours and all they had was their lathe and a pair of callipers, all done with good grace, big grins and a lot of tika sahibs, acha sahib followed by the inevitable head movements.
    Last edited by Chris Allman; 22nd May 2020 at 08:49 AM.

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    Default Re: Foreign Crew Members

    of course #33 and #34, should now read #2 and #3 because of new thread (as new readers may say 'What!!')

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    Default Re: Foreign Crew Members

    There are some, but not a lot, of Indian crew on cruise ships.
    Most are Deck hands with a few in hospitality but from what I was told by one winger there is still a big divide on the ships with them.
    Mainly about which part of India they come from, most will not have a bar of any from Goa, and in their crew mess they always segregate them selves.
    Happy daze John in Oz.

    Life is too short to blend in.

    John Strange R737787
    World Traveller

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    I always remember working alongside a Pakistan head man who was looking on at us we where taking the Michael a bit out of this know it all, He was laughing along with us then he dropped a beauty, You 3 are a pair of bloody cases, Laughed for days after that one. A rising tide wont lift every boat Terry.
    {terry scouse}

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    Wonder if those Bombay crewing agencies are still going. In C.P. we first used J M Baxi, supposedly one of the richest men in Bombay who drove around in a white rolls Royce, for the ratings. As their salaries were paid in dollars transfer to Bombay, the clerk's in the office reportedly took the crew salaries and invested in the currency exchange market on short terms before passing it on to the crews families, minus the profit of course. I had one chippy whose family had still not received part of his salary from his last contract that was 7 months ago. Later on we changed to Killick Nixon and there the conversion was done in the u.k. and rupee's transferred to Bombay which meant the office staff could not play the currency market.
    All that was on top of the "present" they had to give to get a new contract. All the shenanigans were explained to me by a fantastic old style deck Serang who first went to sea at a very young age as a bell boy and gradually worked his way up to Serang. He stood no nonsense from any of the deck crowd and if he thought they were not performing to his standard was often seen to take them behind the deck store and give them a good thumping. If we had a special occasion on board such as crossing the line or a festival, then he always turned up dressed in his whites bosun rig with the bosun's crossed anchors emblem on his sleeve and woo betide any crew member who he thought was misbehaving. Fantastic guy who taught himself to read, write and speak almost perfect English, a joy to sail with but on explaining the ins and outs of that crewing agency he just accepted it as the normal.
    Rgds
    J.A.
    Last edited by John Arton; 23rd May 2020 at 12:14 PM.

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    Default Re: Foreign Crew Members

    As far as the myths about different seafarers go the one about Cape Verdes should not be taken as some say. They no doubt were probably good sailors on their own sailing vessels but the ones I sailed with when it came to the use of machinery were a bit lacking. I never saw them steer the ship, they could not drive the cranes , so could not open the hatches which being the McGregor type had to be towed open or closed by being towed by the cranes which ran on tracks. Up and down their own tracks. There was barely room to walk up the deck and was easier to walk over the hatch lids. However they were good workers in other ways. It is one of the ships I am still hoping to remember the name of , as have a mental blockage of it and another same company ship , where I was on in a lull from the North Sea. The Master was a Yugoslav and one of the most ignorant seafarers I have ever sailed with and took advantage of the cape Verdes, he got sacked before I left and was one of the more honest decisions I saw a shipowner make. That ship in particular the rot started at the top. There were a few bad characters floating around As much as we would like to think it was a bed of roses. JS
    Last edited by j.sabourn; 23rd May 2020 at 01:35 PM.

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