Long-standing service engineer Jim Moody is retiring after 28 years working for Simplex-Turbulo.
A sterntube seal specialist, Jim has been working on vessels all his life following an apprenticeship straight out of school in 1965. After working at other jobs, including a six-year period in Brunei, Jim first started working for Simplex in 1989. We sat down with him to ask him a few questions about his life and adventures as a service engineer.
You’ve been servicing vessels for 52 years, and working for Simplex for 28 of those – how does it feel to be retiring after all this time?!
I’m feeling a bit lost, but looking forward to not getting up at stupid-o’clock! I started my apprenticeship in 1965, and apart from a few brief periods I’ve always been at work in a dockyard. It will be a strange adjustment, but I’m looking forward to it.
You’ve travelled the world throughout your career – what has been your favourite place to travel to and why?
I’m not sure if I have a “favourite” – there were a few that were certainly eye opening. My favourites were probably the ones where I got to know people well. If I had to choose one, it would be Turkey. It was always nice to be greeted by the guys I knew there. Certainly the people make the places – the travelling isn’t as glamorous as it sounds. At the end of the day it’s mostly hotels and dockyards!
There was one incident, back when the Icelandic volcano erupted and all the flights were cancelled, that I was “stranded” in a particularly nice hotel in Istanbul. That wasn’t such a bad experience.
Have there been any places you’ll be pleased never to have to visit again?
Some of the west African countries always made me feel slightly uneasy.
What would you say have been your most memorable experiences while out on the job?
There have been a few…
Once in Daku, Azerbaijan, I was almost mugged by a policeman! I was walking through town with a co-worker one night when I felt a sharp object stick into my back. It was a policeman holding me at gunpoint! My companion quickly said – “English!” – and the policeman backed away. That was certainly an adrenaline rush.
On another occasion, I was sent out to the Falkland Islands to work on a positioning propeller on an oil rig. As this was around the time of tension between Thatcher and Pinochet, flights to the Falklands were quite limited. I took a chartered flight over there, knowing that the flight home would be a month later, despite the job only being about three days’ worth of work. With the prospect of a lot of free time on my hands, I packed my fishing rod in the hope of sharpening my skills out there.
Upon arrival I was given a map of the local beaches, most of which were covered in red lines signifying that they hadn’t yet been swept for mines. Luckily, a local lad offered to take as to a safe fishing cove. We were admiring the view when a flock of penguins appeared out of the sand dunes and rushed passed us into the ocean. Suddenly, a large wave formed and the penguins came fleeing back out again – an elephant seal launched itself up onto the beach and missed me by about three feet!
What are you looking forward to the most about retirement, and is there anything you think you’ll miss?
I’ll certainly miss the camaraderie in the office, and the people I work with. Although my job has always involved a lot of travel, I’m looking forward to being able to take my partner with me from now on. And hopefully I’ll be able to see a bit more than a dockyard!
You’ve been working on vessels since 1965 – does the sea still call to you, or are you content to stay inland for the foreseeable future?
I live in Portsmouth, which is on the coast, and I grew up on Hayling Island. I have always lived on the coast. I don’t feel the need to go out to sea, but I do like being by the sea. I enjoy fishing. It’s something that’s around me all the time, and I wouldn’t change that.
Everyone at Diesel and Marine Group wishes Jim a very happy retirement.