Book Review: When the Ship Hits the Fan
When the Ship Hits the Fan
Rip Roaring Tales from a Life at Sea
By Captain Rob Anderson
Paperback: 288 pages
Visceral, charming and definitely not for the faint of heart, When the Ship Hits the Fan is a rare treasure trove of tales from a bygone era, with special resonance for a country girt by sea. Captain Rob’s tales of a life at sea are compelling and you’ll find it hard to put the book down. It will make an excellent Father’s Day gift but I have a feeling most Dads will get a dog-eared copy because once you start flicking through you’ll read the entire book.
Rob Anderson was a magnet for trouble long before he went to sea at 15. But when he became Captain Rob Anderson, one of the youngest Australian masters ever, it was suddenly his responsibility to keep everything afloat – no easy feat when the seas were unregulated, full of madmen, and more like the Wild West than anything on land.
In his uproarious memoir When the Ship Hits the Fan, Captain Rob spills the beans on a lifetime of hilarious incidents, accidents and seafaring shenanigans from working on every type of ship in every ocean of the world. He was there for the explosion of marine activity following the introduction of shipping containers to Australia in the 1960s and the boom of oil and gas drilling in the Bass Strait, when there was no instruction manual and shipmasters had to make it up as they went.
Whether stashing a headless body in a cargo freezer, dodging pirates in Singapore Straits, losing the deceased before a sea burial, or treating a crew member who had swallowed a pair of knickers, it was all part of the job for Captain Rob.
About the author
Captain Rob Anderson took his first job as a deck apprentice in British flag ships when he was 15. After many years serving around the world as an Officer in general cargo, container, salvage and passenger ships, he gained his first command of a Foreign-going ship at age 29 – one of the youngest in Australia.
He served for 40 years as Master (Class 1, unlimited) in a wide range of ships including ro-ro vessels, oilrigs and specialised diving-support ships. Captain Anderson also gained a license as a Great Barrier Reef and Torres Strait Marine Pilot, navigating a wide range of ships of every size and shape in the Reef for 12 years before returning to sea as an Unlimited DP Master.
He has held a Private Pilot (Aeroplane) License for more than 30 years and has lectured part-time over 10 years, proudly helping nearly 400 seafarers gain their Master 4 Certificates. He is one of three ship captains in Australia who also happen to be civil celebrants. These days Captain Rob lives on a small farm in Gippsland and rides high-performance motorcycles.
Buy the book: Affirmpress.com.au