Break-Bulk cargo ships crew size and work load vs modern ships

True, but a 10000 DWT cargo liner at the time had 5 holds/hatches, 3 decks and 20 cargo derricks and carried 12 Pax.
Each deck had wooden hatch boards and steel cross beams and the top hatch had to be battened down with 3 tarpaulins.
No airconditioned ECR and no remote readout of levels, pressures or temperatures.
Here is one I was onboard in 1960 and -61

The first trip was from Europe to Australia, where the “wharfies” did not touch anything other than the cargo.
The next two trip were to the Far East and the stevedores (coolies) did everything once in port. (Heaven)
PS> The crew still had to top up and rig the derricks on arrival and make the ship ready for sea though.

Yes some container ships has capacity >20K TEUs and a minimum safe manning of <20. (usual crewed by abt. 22-25 pers.)
But those ships are also without cargo gear (some even without hatch covers)
The E/R are semi-automated and UMS classed.

BTW; Container freight rates are sky high today, but “how long was Adam (and Eve) in Paradise??”

Besides; not all ships are carrying containers and enjoying a boom market. (But for how long??)

for most mariners over 50 I suppose envisioning a cargo ship would feature a ship like yours shown. In my view “the golden age of shipping” although perhaps long preceded by what the greeks did in the med // … steam, foreign ports … and don’t forget the days when most nationalities could run amok in most any foreign port. the only “AC” was enjoyed by the steward. My first ship had movies, maybe some ship to shore radio but all that supplanted now. a little less comradery in a way.
Must of been quite a crew pictured, look at the room on those two upper decks facing aft, i forget they no doubt hauled a few passengers then, i wonder how many people in the stewards dept. then … had to be about 20?

My point is simply that wages must be a much smaller component of the expenses than they were in the past, and that raising

Raising pay rates enough to attract enough mariners should be easier than in the past, considering increased revenue from larger tonnage carried by ships with smaller crews.


At this point foreign crew are so cheap in relation to revenue that crew costs are trivial.

The cost and risks of being a crewman, especially officers, have gone way up. Too easy to be stranded , abandoned, or in jail, for many months.

Too much expensive training.


You have identified the problem. Let’s hope the shipping companies will fix it. Thanks.

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