John Janis Kalnins

John Janis Kalnins died some 20 years ago. I am his son Martyn Kalnins. I was a passenger on Cardiff City at end of 70s/early 80s. I have many memories of different wonderful people on 1 voyage I was on. I am not a seafarer but would appreciate stories of my Dad and life aboard a Reardon Smith ship with my Dad. Thanks. Martyn Kalnins. Posted on forum 22 September 2012.

Your father was well known in Smiths and a popular shipmate. My first encounter with him was as Chief Officer on the "Devon City"- he was 2nd Mate- from March 1967 to January 1968. It was an unusual trip in that we had three Masters.( we certainly clapped them out in those days!) I cannot recall details of where we went, except we ended up in Antwerp where I met your Grandfather who came aboard. We finally ended up in Falmouth where we drydocked.
In August 1971, I joined the "Atlantic City" with your father as Chief Mate. I recall we went up to Narvik for Iron Ore and ended up on charter to an Italian company - grain N.Orleans to Ravenna.Voyage endeded Jan 1972. I know J.J. was promoted Master, but I did'nt come into contact with him again. I understand he left to take up a post as Superintendent with a Latvian company? John Cann. Posted on forum 23 September 2012.

I knew yiur father well. When I was Master of the m.v. Chiyoda (ex Eastern City)from May to November 1972, John was my Chief Officer and a first class man at his job. We were on charter to NYK and the Choyoda like the Wilkawa (ex Australian City) had been converted to a car carrier with portable car decks that the officers and crew had to install for car cargoes and remove for loading bulk cargoes (grain, coal iron ore etc). The job was tough and frequently car decking or undecking was carried out while the ship was on passage at sea. Health and safety did not feature at all in those days, however, NYK unlike Williamsons who were the charterers of the Wilkawa were generous with their voyage bonuses if there were no delays getting the ship ready for its next cargo. The bonus was shared by all concerened on board. John was an extremely hard worker and physically tough as well. When car decking etc., I used to keep his watch (4 to 8 morning and evening so that he could work through the day with the crew. My wife sailed with me on part of that voyage and she said John had a charming "European" courtesy about him.
His appearnce was somehat piractical - totally bald as a result of the privations he suffered as a young boy and a displaced person after World War II. He had a goatee beard no moustache but a heavy gold earring that only added to his appearnce as a pirate!
We met again some years later when John had been promoted to Master. He and I were sent by Smiths to H.M.s. Vernon, a Royal Naval shore base in Portsmouth, the anti-submarine ans mine counter - measures school. We were there on a Naval Control of Shipping course together with about 15 other Merchant Navy Masters. We were asked to wear our uniforms and John and I had much amusement couting the salutes we and the other captains got from the naval ratings on the base. John noted that the Briish Rail Cross Channel ferry Masters and the P & O johnnies went out of their way to attract as many salutes as they could. We thought that they might be making a book on it!
One day, our group was taken to H.M.S. Thermopylae another RN shore station where the RN had simulators for training RN bods in the control rooms of submarines and surface warships.
We stood in a gallery and below us were ratings and officers carrying out simulated exercises on rows of computers. The room was full of banks of coloured lights all winking and flahing. Is there anyone old enough to remember the BBC sc-fi series Blakes 7 with its computer ZEN on board the space ship LIBERATOR? Well when John saw the array in front of us, he turned to me and in that great Lativan accent of his said "Working!" That was ZEN would answer when given a question by a crew member on the Liberator. After dinner one evening the young one striper (RN sub-lieutenant) who was our "course leader" told us that we had all been very carefully vetted by the secrity services MI5 and Special Branch and we could all feel very pleased that we had all passed and were not any sort of "Threat" to the nation. John said to the subbie "Does that include me?" and the subby said that it did. John then told him that he came from Latvia a country that at that time was under USSR domination. I still remember the subby's face then. A picture!
I was very sorry to learn of John's early death but he left his mark and is remembered with affection I am sure by all of us who knew and sailed with him. Bryan Boyer. Posted on forum 24 September 2012.

As the Electronics and Radio Officer, I sailed with your Dad when he was Master of the Cardiff City in 1981. Unfortunately, I don't remember you being onboard at that time but my memory is now a bit hazy. wink.gif However, I do recall the Royal Wedding of July 1981 (Charles & Diana) where your Dad got all the off-watch staff into the bar to toast the happy couple. happy.gif
After I left Reardon Smith, I worked in Saudi Arabia for a while. Although I was based in Dammam, working for MATSS (Marine & Transportation Services Saudia), I also travelled around the kingdom and it was while I was working in the port of Jubail that I met your Dad again - it's a small world. wink.gif
I cannot remember if he was also working for MATSS or if he worked for a different contractor. The year will be around 1986 if this helps. Roger Miller. Posted on forum 30 September 2012.