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The Providence Socony

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Early '51 found me right out of High School and sailing for Socony Vacuum, my first ship being the tanker S. S. Shabonee in March, and in April, the M/V Providence Socony as Ordinary.

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Nils Gjerstad...Chief Mate, relieving Captain, and great guy. Nils would relieve our regular skipper for vacations - Captain Paul Herzick - shown further down the page. Though all the officers were licensed, and licensed to the teeth with Pilotage Endorsements up, and down the coast, it was customary to use their first names...something at first, strange to me. Of course that didn't include "Cap'n" Hank. Ha ha.
Except for the Captain, who sat on the end of the bench near the door, seating was first-come, and first served...the Mess Hall small, accomodating eight, or ten at the most at one time. The Mess Hall was the Galley also, so you get the idea. It was "homey" though.

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Looking forward Port side.
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Hank ( Cap'n ) Tavernor - AB; and ME - OS in Port Jefferson


Hank was called "Cap'n" even by the Captain...everyone did because you'd think he was the Captain by the way he tried to boss everyone around. A nice fellow, he hailed from Nova Scotia, and was a good seaman, but sometimes a pain in the rear-end.
The Providence had a compliment of sixteen - Captain ( who stood watch ); Chief Mate, Second Mate, Pumpman/Bosn, three ABs, one OS; Chief Engineer, and two assistant engrs, three oilers; and a cook, and messman.
We were on three weeks, and one week off ( with pay ). I didn't take my week off, but stayed for ten-months, accruing my vaction time. My tenure on the Providence ended when I was called up for active duty in the Navy.

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Port side looking aft. Product in tank melted snow on deck
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Dan Manning - AB, by deck gear box; and "Cap'n" Hank - AB on catwalk.

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Gus Esswein - Second Mate, preparing a snowball for "Cap'n" Hank - AB
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Good fishin' in Frenchman's Bay, Hancock, Maine. Jim Hetrich - AB; John Rogers - OS; Captain Paul Herzick - Captain; and Teddy Petersen - Chief Engineer. I'm sailing as Acting AB on this trip.


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Port Quarter of Providence Socony

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