Life at Sea, Going Ashore, a Mariners Life


That would be this one:

cmakin: I think Dutchie go back a bit further than you. (More like to my time)


The Shell compounds around the world (at least in the tropics) were very much the same. I have visited quite a number over the years. Off the cuff I can remember the ones in; Miri (Sarawak), Seria (Brunei), Balikpapan (Indonesia) and Port Harcourt (Nigeria)
Style of houses were very much the same in all, but the club houses did vary a bit.


At first glance I could not believe that this statement was made because even in those days the detrimental effects were already known, especially in the cigarette industry. They really had no shame.


I purchased a silver short wave receiver in 1962 in Singapore and it still works on FM in my workshop. There was a British outfit that sent books to the ship but I can’t remember the name of the outfit. The books were stamped with a mythical creature with a tail like a mermaid.
Ras Tanura was my least favourite port and the sub sea berth in the middle of Botany Bay, Sydney wasn’t much better. No shore leave at either place after the wharf was destroyed at La Perouse.


I’ve been waiting to see Short Wave mentioned here. I’ve noticed HAM mentioned already.

There is some fine, stimulating Listening to be had at different times of the day. I’ve been into this for years. I’ll be going for my HAM tech ticket soon. One of my old standby’s was a Sony ICF 2010 WB.


This is an older model and others like Sangean have made some decent radios since. These aren’t big bucks models. Their sound is a bit higher pitched than the Grundig’s .

RCA produces a Super Radio for DX AM which would be nice for evening listening about anywhere. Has a long telescoping antenna.
There are filters which can be switched for optimum reception.


A roll up dipole antenna that could be used aboard ship.

There is just so much intriguing listening out there beyond political rant AM radio or top 40 formatted FM.

As for books on SW listening, a girl from my home town produced this one with her father’s help (he an engineer at a TV Station)

She’s quite a prolific writer

Short wave listening for beginners

Today, if you have a Library Card, there are so many eBooks to download from your Library website. Provided you have the connection to do it.


There was a British outfit that sent books to the ship but I can’t remember the name of the outfit. The books were stamped with a mythical creature with a tail like a mermaid.

The Seafarer’s Education Service!


The first couple of years I sailed with a Phillips universal (AC and DC) receiver suitable for 220VAC and 110V DC. On DC the filaments of the radio tubes were put in series and with a series dropping resistor connected to 110V DC. It looked a lot like this one:


I bought the Hallicrafter later in New York on Radio Row, that was Cortlandtstreet. It is a Dutch name like so many in New York. Where I live here we have a Kortlandstreet, meaning shortlandstreet.


Radio Row or Cortlandstreet. It was in the footprint of the the World Trade Centre and had to go. The only thing reminding of the place is Cortlandt Street Station that was reopened on September 8, 2018, as WTC Cortlandt.

Dutch Shell Tankers were equipped with a Redifon Communal Aerial Amplifier which was installed in the Radio Room. A strange place because I think only SOLAS equipment were allowed in RR. The break-in was connected to the Morse key’s back contacts and the RCAA’s aerial would be grounded when transmission took place so preventing damage but it gave no joy to the crew but all the strange wires hanging from port windows all over the ship were not to be found.

At the house now I still use the old trusted JRC 545 DSP receiver, a classic beauty.

With JRC software I can remote tune the receiver from any computer in the house or elsewhere. The receiver tunes officially from 100 kHz to 1999.99 kHz but wit a trick even from 13 kHz.

This what the remote control software looks like.


Just a bit. . . .


I later met the architect who developed the compound concept for Shell. His name was Meddens and he was then the architect of a new building project at our facility of which I was on the building committee so we had lengthy discussions. Architects are generally stubborn, not easy going people, donot touch their baby, but he was a reasonable sort of guy.


This is not my experience but I found it somehow interesting, we can learn many things from this experience too.


Beware intruders on the block. Dive, dive…


I envy you guys who enjoyed the “glory days” of shipping and port calls. Sadly, the original post of this thread is spot on in its discription of how bleak the atmosphere is going ashore these days. Especially in a place like felixstowe.

Most crew just want to get their hands on some high speed WiFi and then head back to the ship. The turn around are so short I honestly don’t blame them.


RC Joe; congrats on planning on taking the tech exam. way to go !!! kd7p-xx
the ICF 2010 may not of been beat yet, with the upgrades it was a unbeatable receiver and still comands a price in the $300 range. I have the 900 something sangean, it’s ok, my 2010 isn’t working to standard but I have lotsa boat anchors and digital stuff for swl. (not mobile much anymore)


Thanks Jim ! When I get my ticket I’ll let you know my call.

I’ve got some ELMER’S waiting on me now. They’ve been on the land line all day today. I had Umbilical Hernia surgery yesterday and I’m about 30 hours out and getting back on my feet now.

I’ve got a bunch of Methuselah’s (some call them antiques) in my collection too. My Polaris Marine scan, in my runabout facility dates back to when I dd a few years with the USCGA here on the Ohio River (where Ohio, Kentucky, and West Virginia come together)

I also have an old Realistic Radio Shack DX 392 Cassette recorder
built in. I learned early to record broadcast so that when I spoke of stories I heard to those who refused to believe what I spoke of…I could play it for them. Many returning to tell me what I played for them last week…they just heard about it on NBC Nightly News or CNN a week later. I got some people into tuning into SW with it in those days.


Where I live we have this facility. You may enjoy this Jim

Museum of Radio Technology


I had one of those Polaris radios in the late 70’s.


Food always was and is an important factor for the wellbeing and atmosphere on board a ship during the voyage. In my time I have seen it all, varying from bad or even very bad to excellent. Generally the food on board Shell tankers was from good to very good. ST was called a ‘dairy butter’ company because that was served with bread meals instead of margarine. It was the only Dutch company who had that policy. Also their was no restriction on the number of eggs per week, rule on other ships was 2 or 3 eggs per week. Only 2 if a slice of cake had been served at some time in the week. During the time that I was with Shell Tankers I mainly sailed with Chinese crews. Traditionally on every Sunday an Indonesian rice table was served, the main event of the week, also when we sailed without a Chinese crew. To sharpen the appetite most of us skipped breakfast on that day.

On the sts W. Alton Jones the Owners Grand Bassa were footing the food bill and the difference in a positive sense was enormous. As far as I could tell no restrictions on anything, real American meat such as steaks and Hamburgers, breakfast cereals with milk from the mechanical cow, lots of fresh fruits and even grapefruit at breakfast as well as eggs to order.

Quite an improvement if compared to what we got on a van Ommeren tanker. I will give an example. The food on for instance one ship was very bad and kept to a bare minimum by the captain in close cooperation with the chief steward. The last one had to come to the captain’s office every day in order to discuss the next day’s menu and anything expensive or that smelled of luxury was stricken of the menu list. Like other Dutch companies the owners had introduced the infamous “Ship of the Month” game. You became the “Ship of the Month” when the average food figure of a ship was the lowest in the fleet. Quite an honor and it reflected also very positively in the captain’s bonus, so many captains were eager to win the ship-of-month race.

For breakfast the number of slices of cheese and sausage where carefully counted per person and as most young officers including myself , I was 18 then, normally sat in on the first table session - the staff always on the second - we ended up by eating slices of bread with only margarine on top, if still available. Some, like me, poured on some salt on the margarine to give it a little more zip. Often we got complaints that we were eating like miners. The captain always tried to store in the UK as prices were much cheaper there than for instance in the States. Fruit was also kept to a minimum as it was expensive. For vegetables he had a strong preference for turnips as they were far out the cheapest kind. We got British turnips almost day in and day out. I still can not stand turnips, the smell alone turns over my stomach.

Steak was served only on rare occasions and when it was it was so tough as shoe leather, although it had been run through a meat tenderizer machine. We called it steak from the nose bone of the cow or steak from the cow’s hoof, specialty of the house we used to say. Often we did not eat the hot meal and contented ourselves with eating slices of bread. As there was no cheese, sausage nor butter at that meal time, we poured some gravy over the bread. That was it then. On this particular ship I lost quite some weight and I already was not too fat. After my return the family was alarmed, they thought I had fallen ill.

The crew took their revenge as later was shown. When arriving at the Hook of Holland pilot station the pilot came on board with a smirk and told the captain that the text “Honger” , meaning “Hunger”, had been painted on both sides on the ship’s hull in huge white letters. The captain was enraged but nothing could be done to remove the lettering on short notice. Some sailors must have risked their lives to paint the text before our arrival during night time on the ship’s hull. The Van Ommeren’s office crowd, as usual waiting for the ship to berth, was not amused at all. Also stories and photos appeared in news papers which was bad publicity. The captain said it was all due to a few criminal crew members and certainly not to the food which was of course excellent and of high quality which was duly noted…


Some is helping seafarers beating boredom when waiting in port:


many thanks for the reference to the radio museum. You would certainly find the “SEATTLE TELEPHONE MUSEUM’” worthy a visit also.


We used to say all we saw of the cow was the nose and the tail. The milk came in a can and scrambled eggs made with powdered egg were not something to be enjoyed but regarded strictly as fuel for an 18 year old.
The one difference was we had time to get ashore and load up at the nearest greasy spoon.
There was a documentary on TV where Heston Blumenthal ( A celebrity chef) was asked to come up with a more healthy diet for Britain’s nuclear submarines on their 3 month deployment. He was astounded to find that the food allowance was the same as that for U.K. Prisons.