Wednesday, December 30, 2009

HOW TO WEAR A LIFEJACKET

A popular U.S.-based cruise ship style

A popular European ferry style

Several times during the year NAUTICAL LOG has had visitors searching for lifejacket instructions. With two just over Christmas we decided to publish something for everybody to see and read.
  1. Choose a Coast Guard approved life-jacket and make sure it is undamaged.
  2. Make sure life-jackets are readily accessible, never locked away.
  3. Check the fit, there are adult, child and infant sizes, the correct one MUST be used.
  4. Choose bright colour life-jackets so as to be seen easily by Search and Rescue (SAR).Put your life-jacket ON BEFORE you leave the berth.
  5. Make sure you have a light and whistle attached AND they BOTH WORK.

Good Watch

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

NLIN #11 - 'M' NOTICES

The United Kingdom Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCGA) has issued the following 'M' Notices;

MGN 329 (M)
MGN 404 (M+F)
MIN 371 (M)
MIN 372 (M)
MSN 18822 (M)

These can be referenced or downloaded by link www.mcga,gov.uk/ and service is excellent.

Good Watch.

Monday, December 21, 2009

BOUILLABAISSE

TAAF Service vessel operated by CMA CGM
TAAF Regional flag

Well now let us see if here at NAUTICAL LOG we have got a grasp on things simmering in the pot. It seems that when the anti-whaling campaign started out some years ago it was between Greenpeace, the Sea Shepherds and the Japanese whaling fleet. The Australians came down to their own Southern Ocean Territory in a chartered civilian vessel one year. Beyond taking photographs and returning some Sea Shepherds to their ship the MS "Steve Irwin" not much was accomplished. The Greenpeace crowd then dropped out and Animal Planet boarded the MS "Steve Irwin" to shoot 'reality TV' and so Whale Wars came into being.

This resulted in some deplorable behaviour on all sides and some appalling exhibitions of seamanship - or rather total lack of seamanship by the Sea Shepherds. But now there was money coming in which could be spent on - well nobody really knows what the money is spent on.

New Zealand made it quite clear that the MS "Steve Irwin" was unwelcome in New Zealand waters. Also a New Zealand citizen was a spokesperson for the Japanese whaling fleet. At the end of last season the Australian Federal Police arrested the vessel on its return to Hobart, Tasmania. Videos, photographs, logbooks and shipboard records were all impounded for inspection, search warrants executed and various crewmembers, who were Australian citizens, were questioned. The longtime 1st. Officer left the vessel which was generally considered a positive step by a large segment of the crew. The Dutch government as Flag State decided not to enforce its authority to deflag the MS "Steve Irwin" in spite of its deliberate acts of piracy. The Australian Government as Port State declined to make any meaningful decisions and let things drift along.

Now we come to this year. In the midst of an international meeting in New Zealand to discuss the 'protection' of the Antarctic waters and the development of a 'Polar Code' the anti-whaling group sails from ports in Australia. This year there is a second vessel the DVC "Ady Gil" which so far does not seem to have got very far. That vessel has a Flag State of New Zealand. So to summarize, we have Flag States of The Netherlands, and New Zealand, a Port State of Australia and just to make things really interesting the French, who you ask - the French?

Indeed the French. You see they have an overseas territory interest in the region namely "Les terres australes et antarctiques francaises (TAAF)". As we have seen from the previous Posts there are diplomats posted by the French Foreign Office to the TAAF and as reported these diplomats have added some seasoning to the bouillabaisse. One awaits its serving with interest in the days ahead and the reaction of the Japanese, perhaps they will be adding some whale meat.

Good Watch.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

MOVING ON

The MS "Steve Irwin" reports that it has moved on from French Antarctic Waters after a call at a nearby Australian Base. In it's report the vessels Master states

"The French government strongly condemns illegal Japanese whaling in the Southern Ocean Whaling Sanctuary".

Quoting a statement by the TAAF Prefect endorsed by the District Chief who signed the letter addressed to the MS "Steve Irwin" her Master has concluded that this is official French government policy.

The time is now to have the supporting or clarifying statement from the French Foreign Office stating the National Position. At present it would seem that minor overseas diplomats are setting French National Policy. This is behaviour which if tolerated could cause serious diplomatic misunderstandings.

Students of history will recall how French Colonial Rule collapsed in Algeria in the 1960's through ill judged behaviour by French local officials of similar diplomatic ranks. This was an experience which members of my family suffered through, one is thus wary of diplomats stepping above their assigned duty position.

Good Watch.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

CHERCHEZ LA FEMME - A LETTER TO PIRATES

Chef de district Marie France Roy is second from the left.





So now the French have arrived - well actually it was the MS "Steve Irwin" who arrived at the French. As can be seen from the above letter the Chef de district de Terre Adelie has given her permission for the anti-whaling vessel to remain in French Territorial Waters. One has to wonder just how experienced a diplomat Madam is and how she reached the decision to involve herself in an international discussion.

In her letter she makes a clear and strong statement in support of a pirate group playing at 'enforcing' an unclear international legal decision. Here NAUTICAL LOG quotes,

"Notre sympathie va dans le sens des activites menees par ce bateau pour faire respecter les preconisations de la Commission baliniere international".

As a French diplomat representing her Government this is the expression of her Governments will - or is it. She has taken a strong stance on one side always an unwise practice in politics and certainly in diplomacy.

Meanwhile back in France the French Government is left with a 'fait accompli' by the Chef de district de Terre Adelie. President Sarkozy is not one to take kindly if and when his diplomats overstep their authority. Is this such a case for France? How will the Japanese react to this diplomatic slight and with a new Prime Minister just taken Office. One has to wonder if Madam is going to spent Christmas in French Antarctica or in France explaining herself to her President.
Good Watch.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

RESPONSIBILITY - AN EDITORIAL

The publishing of a Blog gives a writer the freedom to express a viewpoint on just about any subject. Along with that freedom goes a responsibility to Post truthful and accurate information. If not the Blog quickly degenerates into a 'rant' of meaningless writing of little or no value.

When one opens the Blog to comments from readers it must be remembered by the publisher that the comments form part of the Blog. They are and must be open to moderation. While in the interest of freedom of expression NAUTICAL LOG is reluctant to withhold publication we will do so.

So it was with the second comment to our Post "SHEPERD'S PIE". The writer "MIKE" gave the sense to us that it was created and not a factual report of an authentic incident. After some deliberation we decided to publish it with an update in the Post itself. This we considered fair and balanced to all parties concerned.

Whatever we might think of the behaviour of the MS "Steve Irwin" and its deplorable methods they have always been very upfront and truthful about their operations. To date they have never used lasers in an attack on the Japanese whalers. Now it is of course possible that they have developed new tactics but NAUTICAL LOG could not confirm the use of lasers as part of this year's tactics.

We encourage comments from all our readers whatever their viewpoint but these must be comments not 'disinformation' presented as comments. NAUTICAL LOG will not be used as a platform to present inaccurate or created comments which have little basis of truth.


We also look forward to hearing from the MS "Steve Irwin" with a clarification of any such incident in the last couple of days. A visit to each party's website, using the Link provided in our Link List, will give the respective versions of this incident.

It is the opinion of NAUTICAL LOG that a laser was not used. It is possible that a Aldis signal lamp with a green filter was directed at the MS "Shonan Maru #2" giving the impression of a laser light being used. What is clear is that both parties are in an aggressive stance and there could be a scenario ending in tragedy. In addition, somewhere around with the possibility of turning up, is the DVC "Ady Gil" which in ice covered seas is a near certain tragedy about to happen.

The Australian Government should sent units of its Navy to patrol the Australian Sanctuary, enforce its authority and take control for the season.

Good Watch.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

SHEPHERDS PIE




The silly season has started with playing for the cameras it seems. A report from the MS "Steve Irwin" indicates that she and the Japanese tracking ship MS "Shonan Maru #2", that has followed them from departure Fremantle, exchanged cannon fire - well water cannons anyway. Still it's something for the cameras and from the Japanese perspective they are encouraging the MS "Steve Irwin" to burn up fuel. By having them burn up fuel by the time they arrive at the whaling fleet they will be at short stay and have to return - somewhere - to fuel. Some great photos as they play 'ring-a-rosys' around the ice.

Meanwhile the Japanese can refuel from their factory ship and keep catching whales. Last year the fleet actually killed and captured whales right in front of the MS "Steve Irwin" and they could do nothing about it. Interestingly the ship identified as the MS "Shonan Maru #2" is now grey whereas before she was painted white, as mentioned in the previous report. Could it be that two Japanese ships are tracking the MS "Steve Irwin".

Good Watch
RE THE SECOND COMMENT
The second comment by "MIKE" has raised our suspicions at NAUTICAL LOG as a piece of 'disinformation'. It has not been the practice of the MS "Steve Irwin" to use dangerous weapons such as lasers. In the interest of fair and balanced posting we would urge caution in dealing with this comment. If we find it is incorrect we shall not publish further comments from "MIKE" in fairness to all parties concerned.
Good Watch.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

POLAR CODE

As the season of Japanese whaling operations and the anti-whaling operations comes upon the Southern Ocean once again interesting news comes from New Zealand. Meeting in Wellington, NZ are the forty-seven signatory nations of the Antarctic Treaty. The Treaty was first signed in 1959 (at that time I lived in NZ) with New Zealand as one of a dozen Founding Nations. This is interesting in itself because the latest addition to the anti-whaling group is the DVC "Ady Gil" whose Flag State, we understand, is New Zealand. In the past years New Zealand has declared the anti-whaling groups unwelcome in their country. One of the spokespersons for the Japanese whaling fleet was from New Zealand. Some interesting cross currents there NAUTICAL LOG thinks.

The Antarctic Treaty is the world's tool for managing the continent and the International Maritime Organization (IMO) is discussing the possibility of imposing a 'Polar Code' to control shipping in the region. All this sounds very noble but it is a political smokescreen. Over the last years the Australian Government has declined to take any effective action against the Japanese Government for sending its whaling fleet into the Australian Southern Ocean Sanctuary. Quite easily the Australian Government could have stationed its Naval vessels in their own Sanctuary to protect it. The Japanese could have been instructed to observe international maritime law and not enter the Sanctuary. But no instead we have the seasonal whale wars and piratical actions of the anti-whaling group all of which is ignored by the IMO which is charged to prevent this type of nautical thuggery.

So now once again we have the International Maritime Organization imposing its viewpoint as yet another maritime regulation, which can then be ignored without penalty by those who choose to do so.

The Polar Code will cover vessel design, safety equipment, ship operations and crew training for ice navigation. It is due to be put in place in 2013, with a ban on heavy fuel carriage or usage to come into effect in 2011. One would have thought and indeed hoped that after fifty years the Founding Nations would patrol the area and impose the Antarctic Treaty that currently exists before imposing a whole new collect of maritime laws which, judging from past behaviour will not be enforced. Meanwhile of course the Japanese hunter-killers continue whaling in a Sanctuary and the anti-whaling pirate group continues attacking them.

Is it any wonder that there is a high degree of sympathy for the anti-whaling pirate group even if their methods are deplorable.

Good Watch.

PS. We do not know how the "Ady Gil" is powered. A nautical acquaintance referred to it as "Darth Vader's boat" thus Darth Vader craft (DVC).

Friday, December 11, 2009

NLIN #10 - 'M' NOTICES

The following 'M' Notices have been issued and the link www.mcga.gov.uk is now working fine,

MGN 398 (M+F)
MGN 289 (M+F)
MIN 365 (M+F)
MIN 368 (M+F)
MIN 369 (M+F)
MGN 402 (M+F) Oil Pollution regarding bunker fuel
MGN 403 (M+F) Oil Pollution regarding bunker fuel

Good watch

Monday, December 7, 2009

ANTARCTICA BOUND - YES REALLY


UPDATE December 11, 2009;
It is reported from Hobart, Tasmania that the anti-whaling activist vessel DVC "Ady Gil" has sailed once again. She received 'Clearance' from Australian Customs to proceed on passage to the Southern Ocean. It is also reported that shortly after a spotting aircraft circled the MS "Steve Irwin" a white vessel appeared and positioned herself eight nautical miles astern. This vessel fits a description of the MS "Shonan Maru" a hunter/tracking vessel of the Japanese whaling fleet. This year it would seem that instead of covert tracking the direct approach is being used by the Japanese. The MS "Steve Irwin" reverses course and turns off in different directions when being tracked which must suit the Japanese immensely. All this does is burn up fuel which is wasted by the anti-whaling vessel doing 'crazy ivan' manoeuvres and it will later limit her time in the Southern Ocean. After all this is done the MS "Shonan Maru" was still eight nautical miles astern.
We hope to have updates regularly from directly aboard the anti-whaling vessel again this year as our contact worked so effectively last whaling season.

Voyages start out with a concept, a vessel, and a passage plan. Sometimes it seems that while the concept and the passage plan are alright the vessel is in question. These days ill advised voyages seem to be popular in certain parts of the world. NAUTICAL LOG wrote about children setting off on their own to sail - well supposed sail anyway - around the world. Several of these seem to be from Australia and so it is just now a notice came across our desk of yet another shall we say - strange - adventure.

On December 08, 2009 from Hobart,Tasmania we have the vessel "Ady Gil" sailing for the Southern Ocean. This as many of you know is an area of horrific storms, bitter cold, mountainous seas and ice. Ice can slice an unsuitable vessel into pieces causing her to vanish without trace with all hands.

Have you seen this "Ady Gil" ? In case not we have reproduced it above. If one was to select the most unsuitable vessel for the voyage planned for her she would be it. Can you imagine living in this contraption for any length of time much less in Antarctica. We shall await this voyage with amazement and one must admit quite a bit of interest.

Good Watch.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

NLIN #9 - TO SEAFARERS PARENTS



This very useful map was published in the "OLD SALT BLOG" this morning and NAUTICAL LOG is reproducing it here. Experienced seafarers, ship owners and managers refer to data like this when Passage Planning. They must balance cargo shipping revenues against the dangers of the sea, Port difficulties and most definitely include 'pirates'.

So it is with wonderment, as the father, grandfather and uncle of both male and female mariners, that parents would even consider letting children make world voyages single-handed.

NAUTICAL LOG reads of the parents of 16 year old children, for that is what they are being under 18 or 21 depending on a country's laws, encouraged to set off alone in small boats. Once again there have been a series of hijackings by pirates of vessels and yachts. Whether these 'pirates' are West Africans, Somalis or the Revolutionary Guards of the Islamic Republic of Iran, they are nautical thugs, people to avoid and must be regarded when Passage Planning. They are most certainly not for 16 year old children to deal with alone.

Good Watch.