Thursday, December 8, 2016

NOTES ON COMMENTING

After a very polarizing General Election to choose a new President and others throughout the United States of America it seems commenting has reached the depths of rudeness.  Many commenters in their rush to publish do not read, understand and think about their comments.  It is clear that many deliberately ignore the post and/or previous comments content to spout forth their own political opinion.  They do not seem to realize that by doing so makes their comment valueless and portrays them as uneducated persons worth little or no attention.  This of course is the common trend of most if not all of the so called "liberal" population which by this continued display of ignorance of the subject matter become more and more ignored and indeed laughed at.   Asking for recount nay rather demanding recounts is not just pointless but an unjustified expense and waste of public servants time adding to the burden on the Governments of States and Counties.

This attitude has now seeped into the maritime blogs with a very popular maritime blog continually getting rude replies and putdowns to comments on its posts.  Since all are published without clarification it would seem that the blog itself approves of this type of comments.  This is a pity because once the New Administration is in place in January 2017 a change takes place there will a change of perspective by the Citizenship of our Nation.  A study of the changes slowly taking place in the European Union may show you what can happen.  That will in turn create a different viewpoint and those blogs will become less followed which in the case of some maritime blogs would be a loss of good posts but rude comments.

NAUTICAL LOG since it was republished does not seem to receive comments which disappointed us at first but now one realizes that it saves us publishing those rude comments.

Good Watch.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

WELL HERE WE GO AGAIN

It has been quite some time since NAUTICAL LOG addressed the activities of the Sea Shepherd Society.  One does not hear much about or from CAPT. Watson one of its founders and the "attack master" of the Japanese Whaling Fleet in the Southern Ocean with several vessels in various conditions, usually not very good, manned by crews of little or no experience.

Largely by guess and by god and with overworked guardian angels they pretty much survived, learnt and those that stayed with it became competent seamen.  One must really respect them for that and some were then appointed by and within the Sea Shepherd Society as "Captains".  The title is in quotes because it is given as a courtesy to Masters of civilian vessels that hold Masters papers from a recognized maritime Nation.  The Sea Shepherd Society has never to our knowledge published the Masters Certificates/Licences of its appointed "Captains".  Well never mind so far they have brought home - with one dramatic exception - their vessels and crews.

Now they are off again. The news came out of "Downunder"  namely the Australian ports of Melbourne and Hobart that two SSS vessels had sailed this past week.  One is the Steve Irwin an old British Government ship already in service and a bright new Damen built patrol vessel named Ocean Warrior.  The money for this expensive vessel built by one of the best European Union shipbuilders was raised from three published sources,  Dutch Postcode Lottery, the British People's Postcode Lottery, and Svenska Postkod Lotteriet.  Of course with the planned departure of the British from the European Union we do not know how they feel about their money being spent in this fashion but it is too late now!!

The International Court of Justice in The Hague declared the Japanese whaling programme in Antarctica not scientific.  The Japanese were also found in contempt of an Australian Federal Court Ruling.  They took time off from whaling to assess these Court Rulings but have now decided to resume whaling in the Southern Ocean in 2016/2017.   As a result the attack vessels from Sea Shepherd are foaming at the mouth ready for action.  NAUTICAL LOG used foaming because they have fitted water cannon on deck to do just that. What happens if SSS injure or kill Japanese crewmembers is anyone's guess but it would not be good.

"Sea Shepherd's 11th. Southern Ocean Whale Defense Campaign is named Operation Nemesis after the Greek goddess of inescapable justice"  so stated "Captain" Peter Hammarstedt, Chairman of Sea Shepherd Australia which now runs the Society's affairs.

Perhaps he has not read history but the same name Operation Nemesis was used by the Armenians in the 1920's for a programme of assassination, revolt and revenge for the Armenian Massacre by the Ottoman Empire during the First World War of 1914 - 1918.  Interestingly the Ocean Warrior was built at the Damen Yard in Turkey and yes sailors are quite superstitious.  

Hmmm - we shall have to wait and see whose nemesis this operation becomes.

As news trickles on to our desk we shall assess it and no doubt write a post or two.  In the meantime safe sailing in a dangerous Ocean to the SSS ships and we shall be watching with interest how Ocean Warrior holds up.

Good Watch.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

DEATH OF FIDEL CASTRO

Here in South Florida, most particularly Miami-Dade County, the Cubans have been celebrating the death of Fidel Castro the revolutionary leader of Cuba.  While it is wrong to celebrate the loss of life who can blame them after fifty years of misery clearly caused by this dictator. 

A few famous words modified for him  with acknowledgements to William Shakespeare.

Amici et Quirites prolesque Iuli, aures praebete.  Veni ad Castro sepeliendum, non ad laudandum.  Malefica superstites maleficis.  Beneficia una cum ossibus lorem luimata sunt.  Fiat sic Castro.

Indeed so far one has not heard a single thing about him that was good just tales of families torn apart, some never seen again from the political prisons of that tragic Island of Cuba.  One could also mention the many lost at sea, perhaps thousands we really do not know how many, trying to reach Florida across the Florida Straits in homemade craft.  Now while there are some expectations of change it will be slow to come and not without further misery.

With many Nations expressing sympathy and praising Fidel Castro for his revolution it is good to know the real truth from those who have suffered at first hand from his dictatorship.

Good Watch.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

IMO AWARD

Many years ago now when one sailed in Andrew Weirs Bankline ships we had Indian crews.  At that time we had some Sikh engineers but no deck officers or even deck apprentices.  Later Indian shipping companies were formed and maritime schools organized to train crews for the Indian Merchant Navy.  It seems the programme has been quite a success as nowadays there are many Indian Masters of vessels including the first Indian women Master.  Captain Radhika Menon has recently been awarded the IMO Award for Exceptional Bravery at Sea for her rescue of fishermen from a sinking fishing boat in severe weather.  The incident occurred off Gopalpur, India in 25 foot seas, winds of 60 knots and torrential rain.

Captain Menon has had an interesting career beginning as a Radio Officer then becoming a Deck Officer and rising through the ranks to an appointment as Master.  Coming from a country that has traditions and lifestyle not always easy for women it is particularly encouraging to see this Master selected for the IMO Award recognizing her fine seamanship and courageous act.

NAUTICAL LOG offers congratulations, well done and

Good Watch.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

EUROPEAN UNION LOVES REGULATIONS

If you read the header remarks of the Blog you will notice an additional sentence regarding the EU and its beloved Regulations.  Recently though with the pending departure of the British there have been rumblings of discontent from several other Member States.  Sitting in Brussels are vast numbers of petty bureaucrats writing, at great expense, these Regulations which range through all facades of the society.  They cover such things as maritime interests, fishing rights, crop planting, selling your products and yes the design and size of a British teapot.  Good lord is it any wonder that the British populace voted to leave the EU - that sacred and revered object was actually examined, critisised and regulations drafted covering its size, design and usage. 

That's it OUT - we are NOT amused !!

Now one receives a lengthy notice from the European Union via Google that we blog writers must inform y'all that there are regulations covering blog writing for cookies, spam and other internet goodies.  One can imagine a Brussels bureaucrat proudly going home by bicycle, being concerned about global warming, having drafted the British teapot regulation.  Dodging around large numbers of refugees and of course avoiding those sections of the City reserved for those who detest the people who have allowed them to cross into their country via its open borders to live in Brussels.

Is this really the way to live just pretending everything is good and if there is a difficulty just write a regulation, don't face the reality just relax with the latest comfort medication because that too is legal now ?

Sadly we have been through all this before in the days of the Weimar Republic with its rampant, relaxed, depraved, lifestyle and lack of social responsibility which in turn led to violent reaction, reversal and the rise of the Fascist States leading to millions of dead during World War 2 and indeed since.

Perhaps the first steps against this unwise lifestyle have taken place with British departure from EU and the election in America of a President-elect who is putting together an administration that is prepared to take action to direct a change, painful as it might be in some cases, that will lead to an overall better approach to living our lives. 

One hopes so for the sake of yours and my children and grandchildren.

Good Watch

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

PERIGEAN SPRING TIDES

It sometimes happens that one is going to write a Post on a subject when lo and behold there is already an excellent one.  Such is the case today; so rather than repeat everything let me refer you to the source of that Post

At present we are experiencing Perigean Spring Tides which occur when the Moon is at perigee on its oval path that is the closest point to Earth.  One of the principal results are higher than usual Spring Tides as against the Neap Tides.

Should you be interested in the full explanation of this phenomenon then you might like to reference "Old Salt Blog" which has an excellent explanation of this event and uses all the correct terms - quite unlike our Media here in South Florida.

Good Watch.

Friday, November 11, 2016

VETERANS DAY 2016

Here in the United States of America and in many Nations around the World it is Veterans or Armistice Day and best wishes to all fellow veterans.

After a very scruffy campaign in the USA we have elected a new President the 45th. in our relatively short history.  He has promised to look after veterans considerably better than has occurred in the past, the 44th. Administration was particularly bad at that job, so hopefully those of us who need care will be looked after decently and those of us that can will help.

Therefore we should give him the chance to do his job, not expect results in two weeks or even two months after his Inauguration but over the first two years of his term of Office.  Most of us, one believes, were glad he was the choice and not that other candidate who clearly was neither truthful or dependable and thus not capable of doing the job in spite of lengthy political experience.  In fact that experience so misused was what helped bring her down.

So instead of moaning, groaning and whinging, as has already started, lets back him up and find out if there is a way to help the First Term be the success him is looking for.

Thank you everybody for your Service and

Good Watch.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

BENDING RULES - AN UPDATE

As hoped there were updates to the NAUTICAL LOG Post "BENDING RULES".

We would direct those interested to the excellent "OLD SALT BLOG"  and read the comment by Doug Nash who is a member of the S.S. John W. Brown crew.  Mr. Nash explains the USCG procedure which is similar to that for non-U.S. registered vessels.  It might be well for their website to reflect this data so that peace of mind is given to those of us who know the hazards of the sea only too well.

How sad that it appears the S.S. El Faro was not so well cared for. 

Good Watch.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

BENDING RULES?

Today is the 15th. Anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on the United States and is now known as Patriot's Day.  One can remember with horror watching the second plane ram into the tower and the resulting fires in both towers leading to their collapse and the destruction of The World Trade Center.  Sadly it is now known warnings were ignored which led to this terrible Islamic Terrorism act.

As part of the remembrance of this dreadful event the S.S. John W. Brown based in Baltimore, MD is due in New York.  This vessel is one of two, the other being the S.S. Jeremiah O'Brien based in San Francisco, CA., World War 2 Liberty ships.  Both these vessels have been fully restored, are registered as vessels of the United States Merchant Marine and are manned by USMM volunteer Union crews.

As part of their role as active floating museums they are open for daily visits and tours of the ship.  Also offered for about $145 per adult are "Living History Cruises" which depart in the morning around 0900 returning, safely one hopes, around 1700. Why is NAUTICAL LOG concerned about their safety?  Well these vessels are not passenger vessels and  it seems do not have lifesaving appliances to cover the allowed number of persons on board. 

According to the reply to my question of the S.S. John W. Brown they stated -
 "We can carry 730 passengers on a Living History Cruise". 
Frankly one was shocked!!  How can this be certified by the United States Coast Guard (USCG) ?

Having spent many years as a cruise ship Officer in various positions particularly that of Safety Officer one knows at firsthand the incredible nitpicking that goes on when the USCG inspects these vessels, which already meet International Maritime Organization (IMO) standards, for US Passenger Ship Certificates.  Yet here we have two  WW2 Liberty ships allowed to carry hundreds of people on "Living History Cruises".  So it appears that the Rules applied by USCG to non-US flag vessels are different to those applied to US flag vessels.  This was already evident from the disgraceful condition of the S.S. El Faro when she was lost with all hands last year and whose VDR was recently recovered and is being examined.

Remembering all those lost fifteen years ago today and hoping that there is never an accident with those two old WW2 Liberty ships we say

Good Watch.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

WHEN

Now that the VDR from the SS El Faro has been in the hands of the NTSB since early August 2016 one hopes that the results of the data recovered will soon be made public. The NTSB has stated that 26 hours of information is available.  That information includes Bridge audio, navigational data, onboard radar images and wind data.  The timeline begins at 0537 on September 30, 2015 some 8 hours after the vessel left Jacksonville, FL.  The ship was then about 150 nautical miles southeast of that city.

On the morning of October 01, 2015 at 0613 the Master and crew members are heard discussing action regarding the flooding, the vessels list and the loss of propulsion.  The Master then notified the shore office about the critical situation and said he was going to send out a distress signal.  At about 0730 he sounded the abandon ship alarm.  The recording ends some 10 minutes later and the SS El Faro is now about 39 nautical miles northeast of Crooked Island, Bahamas.  As this data is refined the times may be adjusted but appear to be generally accurate.

So it appears that at about 0600 or earlier the vessel is already listing, flooding and without propulsion clearly in very serious negative condition.  However it is not for another one hour and thirty minutes at 0730 that the abandon ship alarm is given.  One has to wonder why the apparent delay, sadly no one survived from the vessel and only one body was sighted which was not recovered.

Clearly there will be questions about the Masters decision making process and it is easy to "monday morning quarterback" but one has to wonder knowing this area as NAUTICAL LOG does for some 40 years why the vessel was where it was in the first place and not making its passage via the Straits of Florida.

Good Watch.