As many of you may know (and if you don't I'm about to tell you) I was involved with ships and shipping for all my working career. I started out going to sea in the British Merchant Navy and subsequently came ashore, worked in the UK and came to the United states in 1974.
I have tried to put together a story of the ships I sailed on and the ships I was involved with together with pictures which I think show the shipping industry and ships.
Click on the images on the right for a larger picture. The first six are representative of the vessels I sailed on. The others I was involved with in a management capacity. For more pictures and details please click here to link to a PDF file with additional pictures..
I went to College on a scholarship from a shipping company in the UK called Caltex which was the oil subsidiary of Cheveron/Texaco in Europe, and much of the rest of the world outside of the United States.
I sailed on several different types of ships, from general cargo vessels, bulk carriers and tankers from 10,000 dwt to supertankers. I started out as a Junior Engineering officer and made my way through the ranks to Chief Engineer. It was a lot of fun making my way up the ladder especially as I made the rank of Chief Engineer at the tender age of 27. However after working my way to the top I realised that going to sea for the next forty years was not what I really wanted.
I then came ashore or "swallowed the anchor"(the graphic description seafarers use for giving up a seafaring career) as a technical superintendent for a shipping company in Glasgow. Here I was put in technical charge of a group of ships and oversaw the engineering side of their performance such as drydockings, ship visits to perform repairs and other technical problems. This was a very interesting learning curve getting to know people in the shipping business all over the world and staying in some very interesting places.
However because of my experience in sailing and running chemical tankers I was offered a job in the United States in a similar capacity for a Norwegian company. I was a little reluctant to leave the UK initially but the financial rewards were very tempting and I always knew that if I didn't like the job or the locale I could always return. So my family and I moved to Greenwich, Connecticut where the main office was although due to my travelling schedule I was frequently away from home.
During this time I made a lot of contacts within the United States and abroad and after just three years in Greenwich I was offered employment with a shipping company that was the subsidiary of a major industrial group in California as Technical Manager. This was a great opportunity for me and I took the job and after a short time was made Director of Vessel Operations and Engineering. In this postion I had responsibility for not only the technical aspect of the fleet of ships but also the insurance, human resources and purchasing. These were very interesting times and we took the company which had been losing money to being a very viable and profitable operation. Unfortunately this profitability and the losing trend of our parent made the company a very attractive source of cash to our parent and the company was sold to Scandinavian interests.
I decided that working for other people was not the way for me and I began a consulting business for the marine industry named Worth Maritime Services (a California Corporation). After a short time of consulting on the design of new buildings and vessel operations an opportunity arose to start managing ships for third party owners and this was done under the auspice of Worth Shipping Services, another California Corporation.
We began with a couple of ocean going pneumatic bulk cement carriers and expanded into geared bulk carriers and passenger cargo vessels. This changed when we became disponent owners of a couple of ships a device set up to stabilize costs and limit liability for owners.
Times now have changed, rules and regualtions for ships have become onerous in some cases and operating ships has become very complex and demanding. I would love to go back to the days of the 1960's and 70's but that is impossible. I am glad I was able to enjoy that period as I don't believe today there is the same satisfaction in running ships that there was in those days.