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training in the merchant marine

Seamen's Church

THE MERCHANT MARINE SCHOOL of the Seamen's Church Institute of New York has operated consistently under the guidance of a highly competent and qualified staff licensed by the University of the State of New York since 1916.

For almost a half century it has taught navigation, marine engineering, and related subjects to young men intent on making a career in the Merchant Marine.

During times of emergency the school greatly enlarged its facilities, training thousands, enabling them to secure licenses as mates and engineers for ships vital to sea communications. During times of peace with jobs at a premium and the demand for skills constantly rising, seamen rely on the school to help them climb the ladder to advancement and success.

Courses are offered for original and raise of grade in deck and engine departments for U.S. Coast Guard licenses. They include courses for Third Mate through Master, Ocean Unlimited and Third Assistant Engineer through Chief Engineer, Steam and Diesel; and refresher courses for renewal of license.

Instruction to unlicensed seamen for endorsements as Lifeboatman, A. B., Electrician, Reefer, Oiler, Fireman, Watertender, and Pumpman are also offered. Special features of the course include arrangements that can be made for shipboard study 6 months before the student is eligible to sit for exams. He can thus reduce the amount of time spent in actual school attendance. The student may set his own pace.

The school is open all year and length of course depends on the student's ability. If he has any difficulty he will be tutored. Classes are small and the student receives individual attention. Scholarships are available and reduced tuition rates make it possible for more seamen to attend. The school was established in 1914 cooperatively with the Y.M.C.A and became autonomous in 1918. It is located at 25 South Street, New York, N.Y., 10004.

At the request of the Navy, the Marine School trained over 5,000 men in emergency seamanship during World War I. The Marine School instituted the first radio medical service to ships

without doctors in 1921. Parts of Marine School are located in a "flying bridge” designed exactly like ship's bridge, the “highest in the world13 stories above the ground.”

A poster in the Seamen's Church Institute lobby promoting the school shouts “Your future in a pushbutton world?” The message points up the opportunity for specialized training in navigation and engineering in SCI's 49-year-old teaching center.

If there is an element of threat in the message, it is on purpose. Technological advances in the industry presage that unskilled seamen in the near future might as well pack up and go home. Automation isn't coming; it's here. The school has enjoyed a top reputation in the industry since its establishment. Last year the board of managers implemented newer teaching methods and programs to keep pace with the technical progress of the industry it serves. To meet increased enrollment, the school was forced to add additional faculty.

“Education at any level is expensive, but educate we must," affirmed Chaplain Joseph D. Huntley, Director of the Department of Education who revealed that the school consistently operates at a painful deficit of nearly a thousand dollars a month. “We have to keep the tuition low to aid seamen who have nowhere else to go, and without training will desert the industry,” he said. “What can we do? We have a deficit and our problem is to give the best possible education with the resources we have."

The full-time faculty now consists of three (all of whom came up from the ranks), and a registrar for 177 students. An annual check for $2,500 from the Rudder Club allows some scholarship help to promising seamen. Small occasional donations to the scholarship fund come from other organizations.

In addition to the modest tuition charged by the school, it attracts students because of other features. They are: (1) Intensive, accelerated preparation for licensing exams through a fully accredited school; (2) informal, small classroom situations and tutorial help with special problems; (3) coordinated self-helps through the school's technical library and the 8,000-volume Conrad Library;

(4) SCI's proximity to the Coast Guard examination center, and radar school at 45 Broadway; (5) availability of printed study material mailed from the school to active seamen to prepare in advance of class attend. ance; (6) teaching machines that can be taken to the ship for supplemental help in math and physics; (7) a thoughtful faculty of experienced seamen who anticipate bad study habits and make remedial suggestions, and (8) living and study accommodations.

For students in residence, SCI set aside a hotel area accessible to the school, and completely modernized it early this year. The entire classroom and school administrative area was modernized in 1962–63.

The Seamen's Church Institute of New York is the world's largest shore center for merchant seamen of all nations, races, and creeds. The Rev. erend John M. Mulligan is Director.

Established by the Protestant Episcopal Church, the Institute is a nonsectarian operation, serving men of all nations according to their individual needs. A tribute to the service the Institute has performed during the past century and 30 years is its growth from a floating chapel in 1844 to the 13-story building at 25 South Street known to merchant seamen the world around.

Sixty percent of the Institute's financial support comes from merchant seamen themselves, through their purchase of lodgings, meals, and other services. About one-third of its annual budget is met through endowment income and the gifts of individuals, church groups, and foundations. These contributions help provide the personal services and special facilities which make 25 South Street a complete and friendly neighborhood for men of the seven seas. Chaplaincy

Institute chaplains serve the spiritual needs of seamen, conducting services at the Institute's chapel and also at the U.S. Public Health Hospital at Staten Island. A resident chaplain is provided at the Staten Island hospital, which treats many of the seafaring profession's sick and injured. In addition, the Institute's chaplains provide a broad counseling service available to all seamen at all times when personal problems arise.

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served each year. Other hotel facilities include laundry, tailor, and barber shops. Post Office

A U.S. Government post office within the building does a first-class mailing business equivalent to that of a city of 30,000 people, annually handling over half a million pieces of mail

a for seamen in ways designed especially to meet their particular needs. Twenty-five South Street is the permanent mailing address for thousands of seamen. Recreational Facilities

The Institute maintains a social program for active American and foreign seamen. An “International Seamen's Club” opened in 1958 provides a colorful setting for regularly scheduled social events which include dancing and entertainment. Ship Visiting

The Institute is represented on board ships arriving in the port by two types of service: Ship ServiceRepresentatives from the Institute go aboard ships at the payoff and safeguard seamen's earnings through the sale of traveler's checks and the establishment of bank accounts. Rep

They also distribute foreign language newspapers and magazines, take the men on tours of New York—in general, they make newcomers to our shores feel welcome. Seminarians are assigned to this program during summer months as part of their training. Women's Council

The Women's Council of the Seamen's Church Institute coordinates the efforts of 1,500 women throughout the United States who knit garments to be placed in more than 8,500 Christmas boxes. These packages are placed aboard ships which will be on the high seas on Christmas Day, and are distributed to seamen in hospitals or at the Institute. Alcoholics Assistance Bureau

The first established among the seamen's agencies to tackle the problem of alcoholism, the Bureau has instituted an effective program of individual and group therapy. Alcoholics receive not only counsel, but medical care and material aid when the need warrants. The Bureau carries on its work in cooperation with Alcoholics Anonymous and the alcoholic rehabilitation facilities of the city of New York.

sometimes circumstances at home make it imperative that he be found. The Institute's Missing Seamen Bureau is equipped to aid in the search. Credit Bureau

The lack of permanent shore contacts makes it difficult for seamen to establish credit rating as readily as the average landsman. For this reason, the Institute maintains a special Credit Bureau from which seamen can obtain interest-free loans. Employment Bureau

The crews of most all ships today are secured through the union hiring halls, so the Institute's Employment Bureau specializes in finding temporary employment ashore for seamen who are having difficulty getting a ship. This employment will last anywhere from a few months to a few days.


Medical and dental clinics are available to seamen at the Institute. Guests of the Institute are charged only to cover medication and supplies. Other seamen pay a service charge of 50 cents.


January 1966


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IT IS NOW WELL-KNOWN that "International Radio-Medical Center" (CIRM) gives free medical assistance at sea, by radio, to seamen in all parts of the ocean. During its 30 years of activity, the Center has saved many thousands of human lives.

Radio-medical communications, in Italian, English and French, are assured by two radiotelegraph stations:

IAR (Roma-Radio), the station belonging to the Ministry of Posts and Communications, linked with the CIRM by teleprinter.

IRM (the private CIRM station) Ships in distant parts of the ocean, according to the hour and their position, may make contact with the CIRM, either directly or through other ships (that act as links), with the above radio stations or with one of the other Italian coastal radio stations that are linked with Rome by teleprinter.

The message must bear the indication “Medrad” in order to have exemption from charge and absolute precedence after the SOS.

Most of the medical requests transmitted to the CIRM come from ships in distant parts of the ocean; very few come from the Mediterranean.

case of need, a group of able doctors, surgeons and specialists, ready to give their wholehearted and disinterested assistance. Every sick or injured seaman has his own medical card at the CIRM headquarters, containing all his particulars.

In view of its aims, the Center has obtained for its services the collaboration of the aircraft of the Italian Air Rescue Command, and of fast vessels belonging to the Navy and the Excise Authorities when seriously sick or injured seamen, aboard ships at sea in the Mediterranean, need to be removed and urgently transported to hospital.

The CIRM also receives the support of the helicopters of the Excise Authorities and the Fire Service.

If the ship requesting assistance is in the Mediterranean but outside the jurisdiction of the Italian Air Rescue Service, the Commands of the foreign Air Rescue Services in the Mediterranean (American, English, French, Spanish, Egyptian and Greek) are informed and requested to collaborate in the case.

Certain foreign Air Rescue Seryices, such as the Dutch, Norwegian and French Atlantic Service, have granted the Organization, within the area of their jurisdiction, all the collaboration necessary in cases where seriously sick or injured seamen aboard ships of all nationalities have to be removed, transferred or transported to hospital.

The CIRM lends assistance not only in the Mediterranean but also to seamen aboard ships in all parts of the world.

Through the support of Italian and foreign Governments and Organizations, the CIRM is connected by teleprinter with numerous coastal radio stations.

In the North Atlantic and in the Pacific, the U.S. Coast Guard has granted free transit for messages through all its coastal stations and thus these radio-medical messages reach Rome in a short time by Press Wireless teleprinter lines.

As regards the medical service, ships are therefore assured of a continuous link with the CIRM.

In the North Atlantic, when a ship is not far from the coast, the CIRM assistance and rescue services are

supplemented by the magnificent work of collaboration of the rescue vessels of the U.S. Coast Guard, which never fails to respond when the CIRM issues an appeal for assistance. On the other hand, when a ship is in mid ocean, the CIRM confines itself to transferring the sick or injured seaman onto another vessel provided with medical services.

In the latter case, AMVER (Atlantic Merchant Vessel Report system), in the space of a few minutes. provides the CIRM with the names of all ships, carrying a doctor on board, that are sailing in the vicinity of the ship requesting assistance.

It is the opinion of the CIRM that the removal of a sick or injured seaman from a ship, by means of an aircraft or another ship, should be decided by a medical Organization or by a doctor.

With regard to this matter, it must be remembered that it is one thing when the request is made by the captain, who may attach too much im. portance to a simple case, and quite another thing when the request comes from a medical Organization that has kept the seaman under treatment and is fully acquainted with his condition.

The CIRM informs the rescue aircraft through the ship itself. In fact, the CIRM, which maintains continuous contact with the ship by shortwave radio, requests the ship's captain to transmit a CIRM message direct to the foreign Air Rescue Command on a frequency of 500 kc S. The message is forwarded through the nearest coastal radio station and is drafted as follows: SAR . . FM CIRM ROME ITALIAN SHIP ... HAS ON BOARD SERIOUSLY INJURED (ILL) MAN URGENTLY NEEDING HOSPITAL TREATMENT STOP PLEASE SEND RESCUE PLANE OR FAST SHIP TO TAKE OFF PATIENT AND GET HIM TO HOSPITAL STOP SHIPS POSITION ... COURSE ... SPEED BOUND FOR ... SAILING FROM


CIRM Thus, in the space of a few minutes the foreign Air Rescue Service has


The radio-medical services assured by the CIRM are as follows:

Radio-first-aid: for very urgent first-aid and accident cases on board

Radio Consulting-Room: for receiving medical information regarding patients under treatment

Radio-Consultations by appointment

Consultations between doctor and surgeon or specialist

Transfer of patient onto other ships

Removal of sick or injured man from the ship by aircraft or ship for transport to hospital (in the Mediterranean and other parts of the ocean)

Circular call to all ships (for transmission of messages)

By means of these services, the CIRM assures a real and complete medical assistance organization, placing at the disposal of the seaman, in

(Continued on page 18)

Universal Connection

The International Convention for The United States is signatory to the Safety of Life at Sea, 1960, re- this agreement and its effective date quires a universal coupling for con- was 26 May 1965. The U.S. Coast necting the fire mains of a merchant Guard is responsible for its implemenvessel either ship to ship, or ship to tation with respect to merchant ves

equipped with these fittings at an early date.

The National Fire Protection Association, International Association of Fire Chiefs, American Association of

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shore. The arrangement specified is a pair of flanged and threaded fittings, one “International Shore Connection (Ship)” provided on each vessel with female threads corresponding to the vessel's hydrants and firehose, the other "International Shore Connection (Shore)” provided by the local shoreside firefighting forces with female threads to match the local threads. The flanged faces can be gasketed and bolted together quickly, and thus enable emergency water for firefighting to be pumped aboard. It was agreed that all merchant vessels of 1,000 gross tons and over on an international voyage would be required to carry at least one International Shore Connection (Ship). It was further recommended that the signatory Governments request port or other appropriate local authorities to provide the shoreside counterpart, International Shore Connection (Shore).

sels of the United States. The appropriate Coast Guard vessel regulations were amended effective 26 May 1965, to require all merchant vessels of 1,000 gross tons and over on an international voyage to be equipped with an International Shore Connection (Ship). Many vessels both foreign and domestic are now equipped.

These new vessel regulations will only partially fulfill the intent of the agreement, however, in that they will provide only for merchant vessel to merchant vessel connection. If the fittings are to be completely effective, the shoreside counterpart, International Shore Connection (Shore), must be available at the docking facilities and fire departments of port areas where vessels of this size can be expected. It is expected that the appropriate Coast Guard and Navy vessels and shore facilities will be

Port Authorities, and the International Association of Ports and Harbors, have been requested by the Coast Guard to encourage local authorities of seaports, particularly the fire service, to equip themselves with the “International Shore Connection (Shore)” so that they will be prepared to utilize this advance in ship fire protection when the need arises.

All concerned with vessel or port fire protection are encouraged to update their firefighting facilities by including the International Shore Connection (Ship) or (Shore), whichever is appropriate, with their present equipment.

Should any questions arise concerning these connections, inquiries may be addressed to Commandant (MMT3), U.S. Coast Guard, Washington, D.C., 20226. Copies of specification Subpart 162.034, International Shore Connections (Ship) are available upon request.


lessons from casualties

Do you play Russian Roulette?

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Casualty reports frequently state the cause of death or injury to be "the hazards of the job.” This sort of attitude automatically places everyone in the marine industry in a massive game of Russian roulette. The odds are in favor of survival, but who knows? Careful analysis, however, usually indicates that inadequate supervision or uncertainty of conditions are the real causes, NOT "the hazards of the job.” Although time is of the essence, it is often the case that the time saved by proceeding with repairs and maintenance without proper supervision or under uncertain safety conditions results in either injury, loss of life, or a greater loss of time than originally anticipated. The following cases are representative of these problems which face everyone in the industry.

While an American cargo vessel was moored in a foreign port, eight men were turned to by the boatswain to paint out the tank tops in number three lower 'tween deck. The after section of hatch boards was removed, and the cargo ventilation-dehumidification system was put into operation to ventilate the area. Natural ventilation was minimal due to light variable airs. The crewmembers commenced work and proceeded without incident for about 20 minutes, using a paint which had been used many times before for the same purposes, when there was a sudden explosion and flash fire. One crewmember died as the result of burns which covered 90 percent of his body. The fire was extinguished quickly using portable extinguishers and a firehose with a fog spray applicator.

The investigation revealed that the fire started in the vicinity of the decedent and spread over the entire painted area and to each paint pot. The paint had a flashpoint below the temperature of the hold which was approximately 100 degrees and the ventilation was limited. Two cigar butts were found, although the hold had been thoroughly cleaned prior to the painting.

While the direct cause of the explosion and fire was not determined, it could probably have been prevented if some of several precautions had been taken: (1) Increased natural ventilation to lower the temperature

and to reduce paint vapors by removing all of the hatch boards; (2) recognition by personnel that the cargo ventilating-dehumidifying system was probably not sufficient for such purposes; (3) recognition of the need for adhering to the NO SMOKING rule in cargo holds; and (4) provisions for adequate supervision at all times.

Another similar fire and explosion recently occurred on board a small foreign tank vessel in an American port, and two workers were killed. The vessel was undergoing repairs, and the victims were in the process of cleaning tanks prior to the loading of grain. A gas chemist's certificate had been issued that the tanks were safe for men, but not safe from fire.

The men entered a tank with their equipment which consisted of a chemical tank cleaning solvent and a number of portable cargo lighting fixtures of the open globe variety. A blower was located on the deck adjacent to the tank opening; however, it was not placed in operation. The work progressed smoothly, and there was no indication that anything was wrong until the explosion shook the vessel.

The subsequent investigation, however, revealed that the bulbs in all the fixtures were broken while the cords remained intact and showed no defects. It was, therefore, concluded that some of the cleaning solvent probably came in contact with one of the light bulbs causing it to break and trigger the explosion. Lack of approved explosion proof portable lighting fixtures and inadequate ventilation again took its toll.

A third casualty in which lack of supervision and uncertainty as to the vessel's condition played a major role involved a tank barge which was undergoing survey in an American yard. The vessel is fitted with port and starboard skegs which extend from the after end of the barge to a bulkhead which separates them from the cargo compartments. Since the vessel's last cargo was gasoline, she was gas freed prior to entering a drydock so that a survey for sale could be made. During this survey, gas was noted to be dripping from the starboard skeg. Further inspection disclosed a crack in the plating between a cargo tank and the skeg. When the threaded plugs at the after end of the skeg were

found to be frozen, holes were drilled with an air powered drill while a stream of water was played on the drill to reduce the possibility of sparking. Approximately 10 gallons of gasoline poured from the holes. The work shift was changed, and additional holes were drilled from which 25 to 30 gallons of gas poured. When the gas had drained, water and air were applied alternately at each hole in order to clean and ventilate them.

Since there appeared to be no odor of gasoline, the victim, who had previously been warned “to be very cautious," passed the flame of a burning torch over the floor of the drydock and in the vicinity of the skeg. No fire or explosion ensued, and it was considered safe to begin hot work. No gas chemist was called, and no explosimeter was utilized although one was available. Work began, and two holes were closed by inserting a bolt and then welding it. At the third hole, the decedent was holding the bolt in place and stooping with his head very close to the skeg. The welder struck his arc, and there was an immediate explosion. The plating was blown outward and struck the victim on the side of the head. He died instantly.

The fact that a flame was used to test the area for gases is glaring evidence that the procedures and work habits were saturated with poor judg. ment and lack of supervision.

A second barge casualty of interest involved a cargo barge which was undergoing repairs which included replacing the weather deck plating and painting of the vessel's double bottoms. Work was progressing well on the day of the casualty. Welders were fitting up new plating above the number one port double bottoms. Painters were simultaneously painting the number one port double bottoms.

When the painting was completed, one of the painters began to move the equipment and noticed that the welders were about to resume welding in the newly fitted plate. The painter attempted to stop the welder, but as soon as the arc was struck, an explosion occurred followed by a fire. Ten men were injured and the barge suffered extensive structural damage.

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