Merchant Navy Day – Sunday 3rd September
GTMaritime was founded by Robert Kenworthy who started his career in the Merchant Navy.
“I joined the Merchant Navy straight from School in 1975 and after a 2 week induction at Plymouth School of Maritime Studies, I was detailed to join the Clan Matheson, my first ship, which was a training ship.
Unusually, and for the first time ever, it was a joint Deck and Engineering training ship with an Engineering Officer as the training officer. We sailed from Birkenhead for South Africa and I can remember the excitement now as we set off on my first trip to sea, the beginning of my voyage which has got me to where I am now.
The Clan Matheson was a general cargo ship which transported nearly everything from bags of fertilizer or other chemicals, small delivery trucks, vintage cars, huge mining equipment, gas cannisters, hundreds of tons of spirits (under lock and key), pallets of cans beer and much more. The Clan Matheson could carry up to 12 passengers and in her hay day and that’s what she did. The passenger accommodation comprised of elegant staterooms, very plush and a reminder of the old days when the well off members of society would travel to Africa for months on end. It’s worth noting that the General Cargo ship is no longer in use, as the Container Ship supercedes it. So, I was living and working on a piece of history and what a life it was.The first trip to South Africa on the Clan Matheson involved a “crossing the line” ceremony for those that had not ventured into the Southern Hemisphere before and of course there were 12 young Officer Cadets. King Neptune came from the deep to preside over his court (2nd engineer dressed up) and we were each brought before the King to hear our offence and then verdict. Traditional punishment was to be “Tarred and Feathered” but as we didn’t have any spare tar or indeed feathers, we were dunked in a barrel full of ice water and fire hosed down liberally on the after deck.
I remember my introduction to Africa, that great myserious continent, as yet not full explored. I was on watch with the Mate and as the sun started to rise in the east I watched Table Mountain slowly rise above the horizon and just as slowly I saw little twinkling lights of the City of CapeTown. I couldn’t help thinking that this was how those early settlers and explorers would have seen Africa for the first time.
Join the Merchant Navy and see the world was indeed the life I was living, and the start of a great adventure.”
Robert Kenworthy, CEO