I was an employee of 'Smiths' from 1970 until their demise in 1985. My first ship was the Vancouver City, joining in Cristobal on 17th Dec 1970. My last was aboard the Skeena, 'paying off' in Osaka on 12th Feb 1985. I have mainly wonderful memories of my seafaring life...... more a vocation than just a job. Started as a Nav Cadet, eventually culminating in stints as 3/0; 2/0 & C/O. Spent around 8 years 'sub-chartered' to TMM. Trips aboard such vessels as the Maria Elisa; Gela; Sara Lupe; Josepha; Silvia Sophia & the Bibi are still etched into my subconcious. The combination of places visited & experiences shared with fellow shipmates formed a ‘marine vocational ecosystem’ all of its own ….. quite unique amongst seafarers and one never to be replicated ashore. They were cherished times indeed!
Life after Reardon Smith Line? Well, I spent a year with Furness Manning as C/O. Interestingly, the man that recruited me for the job was our very own Capt Tim Lawson. I recall he ran a recruitment agency in Newport at the time. Always grateful to him for proving there was indeed life after Reardon Smiths.
Left the Merchant Navy after this trip in 1986. My decision to finally call it a day was a no-brainer really. I had recently married & the thought of a continuing career at sea simply didn’t appeal to either of us. It proved to be the right call.
Now what I asked myself? How could I integrate my sextant & the concept of Marc St Hilaire & the Intercept Terminal Position into a shore based occupation! I couldn't in short. Ended up working in a manufacturing environment for the next 18 years or so, mainly with the Sony Corporation as a Production Manager. Further stints followed @ Panasonic & Fords. One ominous theme amongst all these multinationals though, as with Reardon Smiths, were their demise too. I ended up on the receiving end of more redundancy packages…… sound familiar?
I remain in full time emploment, now managing a service department for an engineering company. Worlds apart from Smiths of course, but then so much water has passed under the proverbial bridge hasn’t it.