The son of a Rye fisherman, Cliff Arkley joined the Merchant Navy at an early age and gradually progressed up the ranks until he held a master’s ticket and a nautical surveyor’s ticket, latterly gaining Fellowship of the Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers. After a few years working around the UK coast, he started to work abroad, mainly in association with the off-shore oil industry. His recollections range from Africa and South America to Siberia, the Far East and the Caspian littoral countries, with a period living in, and working from, the USA.
Cliff’s recollections cover not just the technical issues, for example moving oil rigs and operational tasks, but also the human side of the industry. This includes the sometimes poor treatment of the sea-going crews by the administrators in large companies and the lack of understanding by desk-bound jobs-worths of the realities of operating in often difficult political regimes. Cliff has visited more than 80 countries and worked in over 40 of them.
Within the book are described situations, often dramatic, that are both tragic and comical, as Cliff describes some of the characters and incidents that he has encountered in his 50 years in the industry. In addition, he has been in a position to critique many types of society. At times a little near the knuckle, his comments are perceptive, to the point and honest.
For a picture of life in the Merchant Navy and the off-shore oil industry over the last fifty years, this is the book to read.
2021 ISBN 078-0-9933203-7-9-8 Price £19.99