Monday, May 16, 2016

BOYS BOAT RETURNS

A container ship arrived in Port Everglades, FL on Sunday and amongst its cargo is the boat belonging to the two boys lost 10 months ago.  It is due to be unloaded on Monday afternoon and NAUTICAL LOG will have more information later.

A lawyer retained by one of the families has suggested that there be a "proper forensic examination" of the boat.  The FWC had stated they would "take a look" at the boat no doubt if there were any suspicious indicators a full forensic examination would take place.  This incident is still listed as a boating accident with two missing persons.

However one must remember that this event happened 10 months ago and during that period the boat drifted in the Gulf Stream and North Atlantic Drift Current to the vicinity of Bermuda.

Good Watch.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

GEMS OF NAUTICAL KNOWLEDGE

NAUTICAL LOG has spent a career at sea of some 50 years with over 20 years in passenger vessels.  This was followed by instructing nautical science, consulting and telling sea stories, one often hears the comment "oh you should write about that" - well I think not in my case.  Of course there is this blog NAUTICAL LOG which covers nautical affairs and includes items which often irritate and hence the relative Post.

For some months we stopped publication but due to the highly inaccurate comments in another blog in particular to their Posts on the cruise vessels operating from U.S. Ports we decided to republish and so here we are a highly activist maritime blog watching the nautical world.

We also realize that not everyone who goes to sea as a passenger (called "guests" by the hotel persons who seem to run most cruise lines these days) knows anything or maybe just a little about seagoing life.  Many times on the Bridge Tour one was asked questions which showed that there was little if any knowledge of shipboard affairs.  For many of the passengers it turned out it was the first time they had ever even seen the sea !!  Therefore NAUTICAL LOG  has decided to offer an answer to your questions on the subject. Also those who operate boats have questions about Nautical Science or would like an opinion on seagoing knowledge. 

In order that you may make contact with some degree of privacy and security we are publishing a direct link.  We shall keep any e-mail received confidential and if requested will not publish the answer to a particularly private question on nautical knowledge.

Therefore if you have questions about nautical affairs or would like us to address a nautical item in one of our Posts feel free to contact NAUTICAL LOG at dpeterboucher@gmail.com  in a courteous and professional manner (abusive and unprofessional e-mails will be erased on receipt)

We look forward to hearing from you and

Good Watch.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

RELUCTANCE TO RECOVER ?

Once again the U.S. Maritime Authorities seem to be finding reasons not to recover the VDR from the SS EL FARO which sank in a hurricane off the Bahamas with loss of all hands.

This week various media sources including U.S. Military websites stated that it will take "months to cover the VDR".  One asks WHY ?  Also some of the publications say that the VDR is attached to a deck girder  to which the signal mast was also attached.  NAUTICAL LOG described this in a previous Post.  The photos shown to not appear to confirm that the VDR was still attached to that deck girder when found on the ocean floor.  Confusion or a deliberate cover-up ?

All this is not encouraging because of the appalling condition of this U.S. flag vessel which if it had been a non-U.S. flagged vessel would have been condemned by the USCG under IMO Regulations.

The various actors involved in this deplorable affair give the impression of feeling they will be better off if the VDR is never recovered and the possibility of obtaining data of the ship's last moments never known.

Good Watch.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

POST ON A COMMENT

Looking through the maritime blogs as we do each morning we were interested to read a Post in one entitled "CARNIVAL's FATHOM ADONIA DOCKS IN HAVANNA, CUBA".  Yes they spelt it with two "N's". 

This  is a so called "cultural exchange" cruise (brothels and bars perhaps?) which will also visit Cienfuegos and Santiago de Cuba on the South coast of Cuba in addition to the Havana Port call.  NAUTICAL LOG has called at Cienfuegos in March 1954 to pick up a pilot for the coastal passage to Tunas de Zaza a small Port at the end of a railway line from the city of Sancti Spiritus.  There we anchored off for two weeks loading sugar and listening to the guns firing at the Cuban rebels, led by the Castro brothers, fighting to the East of our anchorage.  Quite an experience for a 17 year old boy on his first voyage.  Well ancient history now but I think interesting.

The above named Post had a comment and a reply to that comment both worth reading.  We have decide to reproduce the comment here:

" harry t scholer says:

I heard this story countless times on the news yesterday, both on the radio and cable TV.  My only beef is the fact that all the reporters used the same phrase : "First American cruise ship to call on Havana in decades."  The Adonia is not an American cruise ship, it is an FOC cruise ship.  An American cruise ship employs American seaman, flies the stars and stripes and adheres to all the regulations that govern U S flag vessels.  The Adonia doesn't.  Sadly most americans probably believe that report and that the assortment of ships operating out of places like Bayonne, Baltimore, Miami, etc. are just that, American.  What a deception.  BTW This is not an attack on the crew of Adonia, just a simple statement of fact."

Well now we have reproduced his comment to that other blog down to any misspelled words and lack of upper case usage so as not be accused of editing.

Let us now take a look at this comment, which is not a statement of fact it is Mr. Scholer's personal opinion, and Mr. Scholer does not live up to his name.  First of all this excellent vessel is fully compliant with the IMO requirements and British Merchant Navy Regulations.  It is registered in the Crown Colony of Bermuda and her Master is Captain David Box one of the most highly respected Masters of both the P & O line and the British Merchant Navy which itself existed before the United States was even thought about.  Mr. Scholar uses the term "FOC" in a derogatory manner, which he has done before, to try and degrade non-American flagged vessels.

The IMO Rules and Regulations are enforced in the U.S. by the USCG and one has to wonder how they enforce them on U.S. flagged vessels after seeing the condition of the SS El Faro which resulted in its tragic loss.  Due to the Rules of Mr. Scholer's Seaman's Union attempts to use U.S. flagged vessels from Hawaii ended in complete disaster as did an Inter-Island ferry service.  NAUTICAL LOG was in Hawaii at that time so saw and heard about the operation firsthand. 

Mr. Scholer has a lot to learn and indeed apply to his comments, about both his own American Merchant Marine and the Merchant Navies of other Nations. One suspects that his mind is somewhat blocked by having to always and fully follow his Seaman's Union's line otherwise he would likely be "blacklisted" and not be employable in American Merchant Marine U.S. flagged vessels.

Good Watch.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

LOST BOYS SMALL BOAT FOUND

On July 24, 2015 two 14 year old boys left West Palm Beach Florida to go fishing.  This was not something new for them as friends they often went fishing together usually in the Intracoastal Waterway or nearby - but not that day.  For some reason they decided to go offshore in spite of a poor weather forecast.  It is reported that they filled the tank with 122 gallons of fuel and headed off to sea.  They were never seen again.

A search by USCG and others was initiated when they did not return that evening.  On July 26 their boat was sighted and reportedly its position marked by the USCG.  The USCG arranged for a private  contractor to recover the boat however the contractor was not successful in finding the boat next day.  Why the USCG did not recover the boat has not really been explained by them. 

Recently the boat was sighted up near Bermuda by a Norwegian vessel who recovered the boat and it has been taken to Norway where it will be placed in a container and returned to Florida.  A full investigation should then take place.  Surprisingly personal items belonging to the boys were also found and these are, we understand, at present going through forensic processing.

Video taken by surveillance cameras as the boat and boys passed under a Bridge at Jupiter Inlet on their departure has now been released.  One of the boys was reported as being a very experienced boatman and in the video he is shown transiting on the starboard side of the channel, this impressed me however what did not impress me was that neither had shirts on or were wearing lifejackets.  Also the other 14 year old was sitting on the port gunwhale facing the helmsman.  No such good seamanship for stated experienced boaters - even 14 year olds.

Once they arrived offshore in degrading weather conditions we of course have no idea what happened that day nearly a year ago  Hopefully an investigation will reveal something useful but it will be extremely difficult to do so.  What has not been in the least helpful is a remark by apparently a lawyer involved on behalf of one of the families that the possibility of foul play existed because the Norwegians found the ignition key in the OFF position and also the main battery switch, which was fitted in the console, also in the OFF position.  We do not know if this lawyer has any boating experience to make such a judgment from one fact like this is wildly speculative.  As an experienced seaman would know, indeed one local captain has mentioned this, if there was a problem with the engine it would be wise to conserve the battery power by placing these switches in the OFF position.

When conducting maritime investigations there are 500 page manuals to guide one from several Nations and the IMO, visit "Google®" to see one.   My own system is to make a page with several columns list possible events to speculative events (excluding aliens and the so called Bermuda Triangle) and as the facts develop moving items from the possible column to the probable column.  Finally developing the scenario in a logical manner.

Good Watch.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

VDR FOUND UPDATE

Further to the previous Post a reason for the possible deliberate release of the SS EL FARO VDR is that VDR's come in both floatable and non-floatable designs.  The floatable design can be combined with an EPIRB which would aid to it being found in the event of a ship sinking - which the SS EL FARO did in the hurricane.

Therefore we would suggest that the "Senior Officer" thinking that the VDR was possibly of the floating type deliberately released it so it would float clear and be found after the vessel sank. The action therefore was done with the best of intentions and not part of a coverup

Good Watch

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

VDR FROM SS EL FARO FOUND APRIL 26, 2016

 

After an absence of 18 months an event has occurred which has led to the decision to publish a Post. Normally one would have made a comment to a popular maritime blog however due to an exchange of comments at the end of 2015 we no longer comment to other Blogs.

As a Maritime Consultant data crosses my desk which leads to consideration of maritime incidents as an independent investigator.  Such was the case with the find yesterday Tuesday April 26, 2016 of the VDR of the SS EL FARO.  The search had been abandoned by the NTSB no doubt much to the relief of the USCG, TOTE the vessels owners and U.S. maritime Unions involved.  Their overall incompetence and the behaviour of the vessel's all American crew and Master in severe weather with in addition the several Polish workers on board for whose lives they were responsible is to say the least questionable.  At the insistence of U.S. Senator Nelson (D) of Florida the search was resumed by the NTSB. 

The persons who contacted me have suggested that the VDR was deliberately detached from the vessel and dumped prior to the sinking with a view to hiding the recorded evidence of the voyage. The last service record on this VDR does not clearly record if its battery was replaced.  According to the manufacturer this could mean there is in fact no record available on the VDR because the battery had expired.  This of course will not be known until the VDR is recovered and examined.  Thus a possible planned cover-up could still be successful.

Well at first glance this seemed a conspiracy theory and wild speculation.  However on examining the photos of the placement of the VDR where and how it was attached to the vessel and how it could be released from its stowed position the picture changed.  In a photo originally published after the event the VDR is seen attached not to the signal mast as described in articles about the event but to a deck girder.  There are two stainless steel bands with finger hooks which if pulled appear to release the VDR and it is disconnected from the girder. The underwater video appears to show the VDR unattached to any of the ships other structure.

Now the speculation is not so wild as it first appeared - who would want to do such a thing?  It was further suggested that a "Senior Officer" of the vessel performed this operation for reasons known only to that person.  Sadly all 33 persons on board were lost at sea when the SS EL FARO sank and so this theory is pure speculation but clearly a definite possibility.

In view of the seriousness of this possibility comments will be entertained and if professional answered.


Good Watch.


Sunday, August 31, 2014

NO LONGER PUBLISHED - CHANGE OF HEART


In April 2016 we decided to republish NAUTICAL LOG and Post on and for special occasions due to issues not or not well covered, in our opinion, in other maritime blogs.  Since the end of 2015 we no longer comment to other blogs. 

Also we will again respond as appropriate to your comments.  Thank you and

Good Watch.

Monday, August 11, 2014

NLIN #8 - 2014

The following M-Notices have been published and are available at www.gov.uk/government publications.  Call 023 8032 9391 if you have any difficulties.

MIN 487 (M+F) Navigation: Safety of Navigation - Counterfeit Nautical Charts and Publications.

MIN 488 (M) Navigation: Safety of Navigation _ Amendments to SOLAS Chapter V and updates to various performance standards.

MIN 489 (M) Navigation: Vessel Traffic Services V103 and Local Port Services Course Dates 2014-2015.

MGN 477 (M) Maritime Labour Convention, 2006: Seafarers Employment Agreements.

MGN 481 (M) Maritime Labour Convention, 2006: Merchant Shipping (Maritime Labour Convention)( Crew Accommodation)

MGN 517 (M) Maritime Labour Convention, 2006: Substantially equivalent accommodation standards for Large Commercial Yachts of 3000GT to less than 5000GT.

This will be the final publication of M-Notices from NAUTICAL LOG as we cease publication.

A final "Good Watch".

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

YET ANOTHER BOATING ACCIDENT

In the Florida Keys the search continues for a missing boater whose empty sailboat was found drifting near Dixie Shoal.  The person is the holder of a USCG 50 ton license, a pilots license, is an enthusiastic free diver and is a dive master.  It is reported that he was free diving on his own - amazing a person of his apparent experience would do this - so it is possible that this resulted in his going missing.

If unfortunately he is found deceased his will be the 8 death in this area this year.

Good Watch.