When ships had "lines"

There were quite a few of then in Vietnam in the 1960/early 1970’s. (Wooden tugs. Operated by Alaska Barge if I remember right)
They were flying Panama flag, with quite some characters working on them.

Those operating on the Mekong had piano wires stretched from the masthead to the rails as protection against rockets I was told.
One of them got hit by a rocket below the deck line in the aft peak area- It did not explode and could not be removed.

The British Master,(who had been my Father-in-Law’s Ch.Off on a RAF landing ship), decided to proceed to Singapore to seek assistance. Not very popular to arrive with an unexploded ordnance stuck in your hull.

Once upon a time even crude oil tankers had lines:

She made it to the ripe old age of 21:

I was chief mate on this tug for a few trips.


First time I heard about the MIKIs , we were using one as an assist tug one time to get alongside,forget where but I was on the barge and an one point I asked the assist to “push ahead half”. They pushed us in nice and easy.

When we got alongside and all fast the my captain said “That was a MIKI, you’re lucky they didn’t give you that push half you asked for.” Those tugs were much admired in Alaska.

Sailed on this as cadet and then accidentally again many years later (via an agency) as 3rd mate and then 2nd mate.
TMM - Too Many Mexicans!

Is it just me or do these old vessels look like something you would love to have a career on and todays ships are just square boxes that nobody cares about?

No, it is not just you.
It is not just the looks of the ships, it is the standards onboard that have lowered considerably, function over form.
Me and the old man were reminiscing last trip about walnut panelled messrooms, white table cloths, steward service, Captain’s Tiger, crew housed up forward and if you were really lucky, the engineers down aft. :slight_smile:
Proper lanterns to swing.
And opening portholes so that when the frigging a/c goes tits up again you can at least get some fresh air in your cabin.

Air-conditioning??? What kind of BS is that?
52C and sandstorm in PG, all portholes closed, so no wind catchers sticking out until the ship look like a porcupine, like what was normal in tropical waters.
That is what REAL seamen experienced in the good ol’ days.

Don’t know what a wind catcher for portholes look like?
Well I can’t help since I could not find any pictures or sketches either.

A windcatcher looks exactly a bucket cut in half vertically because that is what they were.
There are other tropical waters available, not just the Persian Gulf.

Many were “home made”, but there were also a bit more “sophisticated” wind catchers that was available from shipchandler and suitable for standard size portholes.

Oh thanks for telling me. After spending most of my life in the tropics I wasn’t aware of that.
BTW; Persian Gulf is not within the tropical zone, strictly speaking.

a far cry from the megayachts i worked on with humidity control along with the AC.
Summer and winter inside was always the same.
Good Dutch engineering

Wind catchers didn’t work too well on a 15 knot tanker with a 15 knot wind from astern coming up the Indian Ocean from Singapore to the Persian Gulf. They were fine going the other way!


Nor did they work well when sitting at anchor in the Siak River on Sumatra on windless night.
PS> The mosquito nets that was installed with the ones purchased from Marine Supply in Singapore came in handy though.(I learnt that after getting Malaria there)


USN Ships and subs had AC the Brits and by extension Aussie and Kiwi ships of that time didn’t either. In Singapore if the ship was alongside you could have cut the air?? With a chainsaw. Some wag measured out a mess deck and sent the dimensions off to our agricultural ministry with a query on the number of pigs he could keep in it.
The answer came back 9 but the ventilation would have to be improved. There were over 40 seamen sleeping in the compartment.
There were some prime spots on deck under gun sponsons that were used at sea with camp stretchers.

When the crew hosed down the control units for the a/c because some dickhead hadn’t closed the door we had to sleep out on deck.
Luckily it was a fresh load of timber out of BC, just like sleeping in a cool forest.
The monkey island was all right but fraught with dampness from heavy showers.

We didn’t have guns, nor camp beds on the ships I was on in the tropics.
We did have sun awnings over the boat deck though. It was our “day room”, but not used for sleeping.

Here is one of the ships that I was on in 1967.Trading Singapore to Rumbai (Siak River) and Dumai, with the occasional trip to Pladju and Tg. Priok:

A sister ship on the same trade, M/V Sletter, dressed for the tropics:

PS> On M/V Slagen we had a sun awning above the forecastle, since additional crew quarters had been arranged there.

Downward bound on Siak River:

Here is a picture of the cruiser HMNZS Royalist when cruiser had a different meaning than that in yachting magazines. https://www.google.co.nz/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=&ved=2ahUKEwjnjvKg8afqAhX2lEsFHXLlDXcQFjAAegQIAhAB&url=http%3A%2F%2Fnavymuseum.co.nz%2Fhmnzs-royalist-dido-class-cruiser%2F&usg=AOvVaw1jkppBDjTICV6EJAQ5szKY

There were these tiny little tankers maybe 100 feet long that carried boiler water around the dockyard in Singapore in the sixties. They used to sit at anchor most of the time, had a ex-pat master and chief engineer with Singapore crew. The end of the working day was 16:00 and the two ex-pats sat on their cane furniture under the awning enjoying a peg or two to keep the malaria at bay, probably at the cost of their liver.
Who had a camera then?

Who says “Brown water” boats don’t have lines? She is still working.MV Charleston

One more tanker of the good ol’ type. This one had steam turbine propulsion:


Blt. 1960 Scrapped 1978. (They didn’t last very long in competition with diesel ships)

This one can not be accused of “having lines”:

But she is very suitable for her intended trade in Arctic and Antarctic waters.