Starting out as a deckhand to eventually docking the Queen Mary II, Bernard Murphy is all set to cruise into retirement after working at the Transnet National Ports Authority for 41 years.
Murphy joined the now Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) on January 20 1973.
As an open pilot licence holder, he completed 3,224 vessel movements at the Port of Port Elizabeth and moved a total of 120,121,410 tons.
He also piloted 205 vessels when the Port of Nqura opened in 2009.
“The most difficult part about leaving the TNPA and my marine family is having to say good bye to those who supported me and fuelled my passion to be at sea,” he said after retiring on December 31 2019.
“It is not that life ashore is distasteful to me, but life at sea is better.”
Murphy’s career started on the steam tug FT Bates as a deckhand, but little did he know what he had let himself in for.
“In 1973 it was a little tough-going, as the job demanded a lot of physical labour as there were no mechanical winches like today to assist with the recovery of working lines, which were very heavy wire cable,” he said.
Murphy then moved on to work on various floating craft for a number of years.
But during this time he realised that the maritime life was his calling and started to study for various grades within the marine services.
He quickly obtained qualifications as a berthing master, coxswain, signalman and pilot boat master.
“There have definitely