Friday, March 26, 2010


It has come to the attention of NAUTICAL LOG via another nautical Blog that a mail order company is selling nautical equipment that includes nearly outdated items.

Seafarers should clarify the date of manufacture of items ordered as it may not be the current year (2010). Most items have a 5 year life for USCG Inspections and customer expectations. If an item is ordered and has only a 3 year inspection life left, for example, the mail order company should advise the customer before shipping and reduce the price pro rata to the remaining years.

Seafarers should be aware of this practice when ordering online for mail order safety equipment. Check all your equipment expiration dates, have everything current for Inspections and if you are not an Inspected Vessel then get a Courtesy Inspection and display your sticker.

Safe boating is no accident!!

Good Watch.

Thursday, March 25, 2010


MS Steve Irwin
Loose at sea from Hobart, TAS. Supposedly bound for Europe - but the world wonders?
UPDATE March 26, 2010:
According to Mr. Roest's statement the SS-PG vessel MS Steve Irwin sailed from Hobart, TAS for sea. However she is not showing on international ship tracking systems thus one presumes she is a 'rogue' vessel.

Opening the morning NAUTICAL LOG Press Release folder is always interesting and sometimes material for a Post. Today was no exception, we had a report from our EU correspondent based in Ireland about an ITF action there. This was followed by two Releases from the Sea Shepherd Pirate Group (SS-PG) which addressed Mr. Bethune and bluefin tuna - no surprise there. So lets have a look at the Bethune case for a start.

The SS-PG with a weak showing, compared to its usual strident outpouring of adjusted facts to suit itself, states that Bethune peacefully boarded the MS Shonan Maru #2 on February 15, 2010. Of course by doing that he violated Japanese Maritime Law which forbids the boarding of a Japanese Flag State vessel underway at sea without the prior approval of the vessel's Master. Since Bethune did not have such permission he was detained by the vessel's Master. Transported to Tokyo, Japan he was arrested by the Japan Coastguard and charged under Japanese Maritime Laws. All this has been discussed before and Bethune is very likely to appear in a Japanese Court to answer those specific charges.

The reason why he boarded the MS Shonan Maru #2 in the first place is linked by the SS-PG to a previous incident but in fact it is an entirely separate issue. It is the collision some days before between the MS Shonan Maru #2 and Bethune's vessel the Ady Gil. This collision resulted in so severe damage, she was literally cut in half, that some time later she sank. There was no loss of life due to the Ady Gil crew being rescued by another SS-PG vessel the MS Bob Barker which was standing by observing and videoing the collision. Supposedly there was an attempt to save the Ady Gil but it was clearly, from video supplied by both SS-PG and the Japanese, quite unsuccessful.

It remains to be seen if the Japanese choose to investigate the collision incident while they have Mr. Bethune in Japanese jurisdiction. For now NAUTICAL LOG will leave it there and address the collision incident at another time. Now for the second SS-PG Press Release, NAUTICAL LOG has written a Post (SILENCE OF THE "LAMBS") below on the failure of the Monaco proposal at CITES to ban bluefin tuna fishing.

A statement by Steve Roest, Chief Executive Officer of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society says:

"Sea Shepherd Conservation Society (Sea Shepherd) will be arriving in the Mediterranean this summer and will stand against the illegal overfishing of bluefin tuna. Sea Shepherd will do everything possible within boundaries of international law to protect the magnificent bluefin. By sea, air and land, preparations are well underway for the Mediterranean bluefin tuna defense campaign, and Sea Shepherd's flagship vessel Steve Irwin, having just returned from intervening against illegal whaling off the coast of Antarctica, is now on its way to enforce international conservation law in European waters."

Interestingly the statement is put out under Mr. Roest's name and not one of 'Wats-his-names' bravado ranting writings. It may well be that his influence has wained somewhat perhaps as a result of the complete disaster of "Operation Waltzing Matilda". From the above statement it would appear that the MS Steve Irwin has left its sanctuary pirate lair Port of Hobart, TAS and is heading - where? Perhaps across the Pacific to Panama for a Canal transit and on to Europe, a voyage of some 12,000 nautical miles.

Well ITF now is your chance to make a stand against maritime thuggery by finding out what Australian Unions supplied port services for the MS Steve Irwin to prepare for her voyage and which Hobart Pilot guided her to sea. If she ever reaches Europe and engages in any form of violence they can be charged with aiding and abetting maritime thuggery.

Good Watch.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


We seafarers have a set of Rules which are known as the International Rules of the Road. While not perfect, after all what is, they work pretty well when known and followed. Many countries have an Inland set of Rules of the Road for use by vessels operating within their rivers, waterways and canals. The US Inland Rules and the European Rhine Navigation Rules come to mind as examples of long established inland rules. As the size and draft of vessels increased in the 1970's it was realised that some consideration of this had to be incorporated . Because these vessels could not physically observe the Rules on occasions Rule 28 'Vessels Constrained by Their Draft' was passed. It applies to the International Rules but is not incorporated in the US Inland Rules, however signals are displayed day and night indicating the vessel is so constrained. Harbour and Pilotage Authorities have bye-laws covering this situation as necessary.

There lies a problem in the passing of bye-laws on occasions. While doing some nautical research last evening NAUTICAL LOG came across the website of the New Zealand Company of Master Mariners (NZCMM) In it was the above copy of a poster displayed prominently on the Greater Wellington Regional Council website and that had been published in Wellington, NZ newspapers.

Since the NZCMM is well able to speak for itself NAUTICAL LOG will quote them:

"The wording in the above is not the same as the rule and gives a completely false interpretation of the present international collision rules. The rule uses the word not impede but not give way. There appears to be a culture which has developed in New Zealand where large ships think that they are the stand on vessels and all small vessels must keep out of their way at all times with no rights what so ever.
This culture probably comes from Maritime New Zealand and its advisers as is demonstrated in the findings of investigations into collisions. (They then addresses two particular collisions as examples).
The non compliance of the unique New Zealand 500 tons rule by the small vessels was stated as a major contributing cause in each case and no action was taken against the Master's of the larger vessels. The operative words in this 500 tons rule are "not to impede" which are accepted internationally as not the same as "keep out of the way". In fact the international rules (and the New Zealand Rules) also state a vessel that is not to be impeded (the ship over 500 tons) remains fully obliged to comply with the Steering and Sailing Rules when two vessels are approaching one another so as to involve a risk of collision and in these cases the overriding rule would be that a power driven vessel must keep out of the way of a sailing vessel. This is certainly not the message that the above poster gives - MIGHT IS RIGHT - It is sad day that we have reached this state of affairs in New Zealand".
Now this is an example of local Councils taking it upon themselves, with the support of the National Government, Wellington is the Capital City of New Zealand, to impose maritime rules. Having spent two years running in and out of Wellington NAUTICAL LOG knows the Port Nicholson intimately having studied for a local Pilotage Exemption. Today it is even more busy with maritime traffic, sailing yachts and small boat activities. It would appear that this was why the bye-law 6.3 was originally written into Law. It also appears that there is a misinterpretation of bye-law 6.3 by the New Zealand Government body for maritime affairs, namely Maritime New Zealand, which clearly violates the International Rules of the Road.
Where the International Maritime Organization (IMO) stands on all this the maritime world, as usual. wonders.
Good Watch.

Saturday, March 20, 2010


Is it really possible that the SS-PG swords have been beaten into plowshares?

Going through the NAUTICAL LOG Press Release folder there is not a word since March 12, 2010, some eight days ago, from the Sea Shepherd Pirate Group. This has been the longest that 'Wats-his-name' has been so quiet. Are they hunkered down in their pirate lair sanctuary of the Port of Hobart, TAS plotting their next dastardly move, arrrgh!! Or perhaps they are considering a more effective approach since the violence executed this season failed totally. It did not accomplish anything positive in their declared mission and reduced "Operation Waltzing Matilda" to a joke.

Partly as a result of the failure by Monaco to pass the ban on Bluefin fishing at CITES and the ITF worldwide programme against piracy they may have serious problems. SS-PG openly declared that their intention on arriving in Europe is to attack the Bluefin tuna fisherman. In turn this places the various Port Unions, Maritime Unions and Maritime Pilotage Associations that may be involved in preparing a SS-PG vessel for sea or guiding it in/out of port, in conflict with their worldwide body namely the ITF. Should the violence against fishermen actually occur it could come back on these Unions being charged as co-conspirators to maritime thuggery and piracy. Since many Port Pilots are in individual contract with their Pilotage Association a Pilot involved could possibly be individually charged. Clearly no Union or Pilot would like to find themselves in such a position of possibly aiding and abetting a crime.

NAUTICAL LOG believes this needs careful study and attention by Unions, Pilotage Associations and Governments involved. It is an opportunity for the ITF to make an stance against this maritime thuggery which has gone on far too long, been tolerated by these same Governments particularly the SS-PG Flag State and Port State. The IMO as usual has remained complacent throughout.

Good Watch.

Friday, March 19, 2010


Running a bit late today so just got around to opening the daily Press Release folder. As it happens there was something in there that relates to previous NAUTICAL LOG Posts.

From Doha, Qatar comes a report that the 175 nation Convention on International Trade in Endangered Spies (CITES) failed to pass a proposed ban by Monaco on Atlantic Bluefin tuna fishing. With stocks of the fish reportedly down 75% the defeat was a set back for the United States, European Union and the conservationists who backed the Monaco proposal.

Fishing nations from Africa, Asia, Latin America, Caribbean and representatives of European fishermen complained that any ban would damage their fishing communities. They felt that fears of the stock's collapse were overstated. This may reflect the lack of trust in scientific studies as a result of the British global warming e-mails. In fact Libya accused Monaco of lying and trying to mislead delegates before calling for the vote.

The largest consumer of Bluefin tuna is Japan and Tokyo also raised doubts that such a radical move as banning was scientifically sound.

With the declared planned attacks on the Bluefin tuna fishermen announced by the SS-PG it would seem that a determined effort by the ITF to stop those plans is needed more than ever. In a previous Post NAUTICAL LOG suggested that the ITF work to prevent the SS-PG vessel MS Steve Irwin and possibly also the MS Bob Barker sailing from Hobart, TAS to Europe via the Panama Canal.

Good Watch.

Thursday, March 18, 2010


Today NAUTICAL LOG had its 10,000 visitor as recorded on the 'sitemeter'. This is a big milestone for us because we do not use, and never intend too, 'Facebook, 'Twitter' or 'RSS'. Our visitors are those who find us, usually on a 'search engine', enjoy reading the NAUTICAL LOG opinions, sometimes commenting on them and then return again to see what's happening.

It was our intention to recognize visitor 10,000 with a Certificate however the visitor is marked as 'unknown' only an IP Address 94.230.106# they visited for 21 minutes and 45 seconds so certainly deserve recognition.

If you would like to contact us with an e-mail address we will be happy to send your Certificate. Congratulations, thank you and 'all hands' please keep on visiting NAUTICAL LOG.

Good Watch.


Welcome news indeed this morning. From the NAUTICAL LOG correspondent in Ireland (EU) comes the news that union representatives meeting in Berlin, Germany (EU) have voted to launch a new campaign against piracy. They will work to persuade all governments to commit the resources necessary to end the increasing problem of Somalia based piracy.

Seafarers delegates at the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) meeting in Germany authorised the ITF to build a campaign. It is hoped to present a petition to governments by World Maritime Day, September 23, 2010.

The Petition will call on nations to:

  • Dedicate significant resources and work to find a solution
  • Take immediate steps to secure the release and safe return of kidnapped seafarers to their families
  • work within the international community to secure a stable and peaceful future for Somalia and its people

ITF Maritime Coordinator Steve Cotton stated that "We also highlighted the scandalous negligence of countries making billions from ships they are doing nothing to protect."

The ITF will now work on an e-petition website and a cross-industry international campaign intended to deliver a powerful message to governments on World Maritime Day. Here at NAUTICAL LOG we fully support this long overdue campaign by the ITF. We would ask them to include in their campaign action against the SEA SHEPHERD CONSERVATION SOCIETY whose nautical thuggery is a disgrace to all seafarers and whom NAUTICAL LOG refers to as the SEA SHEPHERD PIRATE GROUP (SS-PG).

At least one of the SS-PG vessels the MS Steve Irwin is due to leave its pirate lair Port of Hobart, TAS on a 12,000 nautical mile voyage to France via the Panama Canal. It plans to attack fishermen in the Mediterranean. The ITF has an opportunity here to make a stand against this vessel and set an example against piracy. The ITF could persuade Tasmanian Unions not to work this vessel either in fuelling or port operations handling. Effectively this would prevent the vessel preparing for sea and in the event it was privately supplied it should not be boarded by any Pilotage Authority or allowed to transit the Panama Canal. The SS-PG thrives on publicity so lets use that against it and pirates in general.

Once the ITF website is up and running NAUTICAL LOG will Post an NLIN, we hope and expect all seafarers to respond to the e-petition positively. We have asked the Australian Maritime Unions and the Company of Master Mariners of Australia to take action against the SS-PG. Unfortunately the silence has been deafening with no response, perhaps now they will get some 'guts' and work with the ITF.

Good Watch.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


The following "M" Notices have been issued by the United Kingdom Maritime and Coastguard Agency (UK MCA)

MIN 376 (M+F)
MIN 378 (M+F)
MIN 379 (M+F) Non-UK issued SSO Certificates are now recognised by the MCA.
MGN 406 (M+F)

These are available as always from
If there is a problem the "M" Notice Administrator's telephone number is 023-8032-9391

Good Watch.

Monday, March 15, 2010


How do you ensure your boating, by insurance and preparation to give you assurance - hmmm. Now that the clocks have sprung forward one hour for most of us, we start thinking of Spring and Summer activities. This includes boating, of course for those of us here in South Florida it is a year round activity. However it is still necessary to prepare and check things out properly.

We need a basic Marine Insurance Policy coverage for the boat itself to take care of damage and loss. But we also should have repairs and towing coverage just like we have for our car probably with the American Automobile Association (AAA). There are two main organizations that offer Commercial Towing Assistance to both its members and others, Boat Assist and Sea Tow. Look around your marina and you will see at least one of them. Boat Assist are the Red guys and Sea Tow the Yellow guys whose websites are in 'Link List' below. Stop by and visit with them, get their program explained, learn how it works and have that coverage when out on the water.

Of course there are other independent Commercial Towing Assistance operators who will be more than happy to tow you should you be in trouble. Therein is the basic problem because marine towing is connected with Salvage under Maritime Law. It is a business best explained by your maritime lawyer, know this however, once you accept a towline from a towboat the operators have a maritime lien on your vessel. It will remain secured to their dock, under maritime lien, until the fee charged is paid and that can be an expensive business. Therefore if you have engine trouble and an 'independent' arrives alongside who states that since he or she is not a marine mechanic, offers to tow you to their dock for a look at the engine, be extremely wary. Think about it, here is a towboat operator who cannot repair their own engine should it breakdown out looking to tow others.

It is a personal choice but NAUTICAL LOG feels more at ease having a membership policy with those Red or Yellow guys who are backed by an experienced company operation and monitored by the United States Coast Guard (USCG). Alright that's a look at Insurance now for Preparation.

The 'Discover Boating' website also listed in 'Link List' below, has a wealth of information and useful checklists.

Spring Start-up Checklist covers;

Deck, Fittings, Safety Equipment
Below Decks
Electrical System and Components
Required and Recommended Equipment
Inboard Engines
Mast and Rigging
Water System
Outboard Motor
Head System

Semi-Annual Checklist covers;

Fire Extinguishers
Safety Equipment
Fuel System
Ground Tackle
Electrical System
Bilge Pumps
Corrosion Prevention
Through Hulls

These are all the things that you must check before that first trip of the season. Now if in reading the above you have asked yourself, even once "what is that"? then GO TAKE A BOATING COURSE because otherwise you are heading for serious trouble out on the water. Why do you think those Red, Yellow and other boats are out there in the marine towing assistance business. Finally if you have questions that you feel NAUTICAL LOG might be able to help with feel free to e-mail us, we want you to enjoy Safe Boating.

Good Watch.

Sunday, March 14, 2010


Following the COMMENTARY added to the NEXT CHAPTER Post below NAUTICAL LOG would like to direct this Post to the Sea Shepherd ships crews and those thinking about joining these vessels.

The Sea Shepherd Pirate Group have been remarkably quiet since their return to their pirate lair sanctuary Port of Hobart. This is understandable really as they have had a disastrous anti-whaling season without accomplishment. While 'Animal Planet' and 'hollywood types' will no doubt more than cover their expenses it is still nice to actually accomplish something worthwhile. So NAUTICAL LOG has a suggestion for the crew of MS Steve Irwin and possibly the MS Bob Barker.

As it happens there is an opportunity to do just that in the coming weeks and months and truly become the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. During the long planned voyage of 12,000 nautical miles to Europe via the Panama Canal and no doubt with a call at the Galapagos Islands you can get involved in several useful projects. First there is the Voluntary Observing Ships Programme (VOSP) which has ships of many nations reporting the weather every six hours. By contacting the Port Meteorological Officer (PMO) one can obtain forms and a Weather Logbook. The PMO will check the meteorological instruments for accuracy, and explain the programme. Once at sea the Bridge Watch Team completes the Weather Log at designated times, copies the data on to the form which is passed to the Communications Officer for transmission. The PMO's visit when the ship is in port and replace anything needed ready for the next voyage.

In addition there are marine scientific programmes that observe, record and report marine life. Another is reporting flights of migrating birds, pollution, sea hazards or unusual sightings of fishing fleets - perhaps using illegal procedures, that should appeal to SS-PG types. By contacting the local University one is easily directed to those programmes and the information obtained is immensely important as the ship is a marine lab. Over the years at sea NAUTICAL LOG has been involved in all these activities. It was fun and rewarding to contribute something to the World's body of knowledge.

This is a lot more conservationist than the usual 'smash and grab' nautical thuggery existence of the SS-PG and a lot more personally satisfying one would think. Also NAUTICAL LOG hopes that the Master and Officers assigned for the voyage take time to train the crew in nautical skills and encourage other studies in the long hours at sea. Such voyages are an opportunity to discover a lot about ourselves and to improve the mind with interesting useful knowledge.

Here's to a happy and constructive time at sea making a real contribution to maritime interests. NAUTICAL LOG looks forward to your on passage reports. Bon voyage!

Good Watch.

Friday, March 12, 2010


Mr. Bethune
COMMENTARY: 2200, March 14, 2010.
For those of you who watched Part 1 of "Pacific" tonight we now know that the political correctness of the 21st. Century is not applied to this miniseries. It is, as indeed it should be, the political attitude of the 20th. Century era 1940's.
It also is a reminder that the World has changed both in the Western nations and Japan. If we make persons like Mr. Bethune above "hero's" of Western culture, as Mr. Watson of Sea Shepherds has suggested he is, we regress to the attitudes of the 1940's that so many of us have worked so hard to overcome.
In the months ahead during the trial and possible punishment of Mr. Bethune let us all, both Japanese and Westerners, maintain a decorum. Remember that this person did what he did for a narrowly focused cause. It was a self-centered action which risks the greater cause of peace in this World, a partial peace which is fragile and tested each day. There is nothing heroic in this selfish action by Mr. Bethune with no honour for him or any cause.

UPDATE: March 13, 2010.

The Japan Coastguard formally arrested Mr. Bethune shortly after his arrival on board the MS Shonan Maru #2 in the Port of Tokyo. The Japan Coastguard removed him from the ship to Japan Police HQ in Tokyo. This will be the first prosecution and trial for trespassing aboard a Japanese vessel preferred by the Japan Coastguard. If convicted, which would seem quite likely, Mr. Bethune faces three years in a Japanese prison.

It is reported on the international media outlets that Mr. Bethune has had previous conflicts with Central and South American nations. He is also reported to have caused one death, in a sea collision off Guatemala, while operating the Earthrace which is the former name of the now sunken Ady Gil. Thus it appears he is no stranger to confrontations with maritime authorities of various nations around the world.

From Japan comes news that the MS Shonan Maru#2 has arrived in Tokyo and aboard is Mr. Bethune the operator of the Ady Gil. You may recall this is the SS-PG vessel sunk by the MS Shonan Maru #2 and that Bethune scrambled aboard to confront her Master. Of course he was detained and under orders of the Japanese Government brought to Japan in disgrace to stand trial for violation of Japanese Maritime Law.

The SS-PG Press Release covering his arrival is an amalgam of quotes over the years by its fearless leader who likes to risk other peoples lives while he remains safe and sound. In fact looking at his upcoming schedule he will be parading around on a speaking tour and generally socialising with the 'hollywood' types. In this false and unrealistic world he will be the latest cocktail party buffoon until something else comes along to occupy their boring and trivial lives.

Meanwhile of course in the real world Mr. Bethune is the focal point of all that is worst in peoples behaviour. The Press Release raises the spectacle of the Second World War and touts this man as a 'hero' of western nations. On the Japanese side nationalists waved Rising Sun flags and displayed signs. This person has in a self-centered thoughtless action endangered years of diplomacy and constructive treaties to develop a sound working relationship after a bitter conflict.

To add to this situation a Mr. Spielberg and a Mr. Hanks both, so NAUTICAL LOG understands, are 'hollywood' types who are currently producing "Pacific" a 10 part HBO miniseries about the World War against Japan. There is an ongoing discussion about the controversial approach to the conflict this series "Pacific" takes. No doubt, without regard for the greater responsibility of maintaining world peace, 'Wats-his-name' will play the part of the swashbuckling pirate captain for his continued personal glorification in the name of a narrowly focused cause. Were it not so serious it could be regarded as pathetic.

Good Watch.


Well it is said that no good deed shall go unpunished but one has to wonder. Back in the SS-PG pirate lair sanctuary Port of Hobart, TAS the Australian Federal Police (AFP) returned the logbooks of the MS Steve Irwin and MS Bob Barker. No real surprise there, it is a simple matter to copy them and they are needed aboard to record daily events in accordance with maritime law. The AFP have made no arrests to date and that does now seem unlikely. Also as usual The Netherlands has not taken any action against its Flag State vessel thus indicating that it approves the SS-PG actions. No surprise there, what is a little surprising is that according to Australia the West African nation of Togo has not informed them that MS Bob Barker is deflagged. She was therefore entered into Australia as a Togo Flag State vessel and Australia is currently her Port State.

In passing one could note that Togo is very inexperienced in maritime affairs and is in a state of political turmoil. It really does not matter that much because The Netherlands will offer the MS Bob Barker registration and proudly become its Flag State. Little would be gained by punishing any of the crewmembers most if not all are volunteers or called such anyway. They join in these farcical expeditions dazzled by that swashbuckling pirate captain 'Wats-his-name'. In turn the now not so 'swash' pirate captain deserts them to return home in triumph to a hero's welcome in his new home town of Fridays Harbor, WA. They of course face a 12,000 nautical mile voyage to Europe. I don't suppose 90% of them have any idea what they are facing on that passage of at least 45-50 days.

Good Watch.


UPDATE March 23, 2010. THE "HUMP" IS OVER

See what can be achieved by non-violent protest. The "Hump" has announced its closing due to being found serving whale meat. Perhaps SS-PG can learn from this, reassess their methods and find an effective strategy. Certainly "Operation Waltzing Matilda" was a disastrous campaign.

On rare occasions it happens that an organization that usually sets a bad example does something good. It must therefore in fairness be recognized. Such is the case with the Sea Shepherds Conservation Society, yes indeed, our SS-PG 'friends'. It turns out they were behind the action that revealed the well known restaurant 'Hump' at Santa Monica Airport, CA was serving whale meat. In a sting operation members of the SSCS ordered the 'omakase' (chef's choice) and asked the server if they could have whale. They were duly served eight slices of what the server called "whale" according to the affidavit. The entire incident was recorded on a tiny video camera. The whale meat was put into a baggie and then removed from the restaurant for testing. A Mr. Scott Baker of Marine Mammal Institute at Oregon State University determined that the meat was indeed whale actually Sei Whale.

Under the Marine Mammal Protection Act it is illegal to sell any kind of whale meat in the United States. In addition Sei Whale are listed as endangered. Armed with a search warrant US Federal officers entered the restaurant to obtain evidence. The Investigation involved NOAA, USFWS, USCBP, and CA Department of Fish and Game. Now named in the Complaint filed in US District Court LA, CA were 'Typhoon Restaurant' owner of the 'Hump' and chef Kiyoshiro Yamamoto.

Of course all the local politicians and environmentalists are now "shocked" that this could have been going on under their collective noses for a period of time yet to be determined. Well whatever - one must give a 'well done' to the SS-PG as finally this season they have done something constructive for the whales.

Good Watch.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


From their pirate lair sanctuary the Port of Hobart, Tasmania comes news that the SS-PG vessel MS Steve Irwin will depart later this month. It is bound across the Pacific for the Panama Canal, after transit it will sail across the Atlantic to France, quite likely the Port of Lorient in Brittany. There no doubt a warm welcome awaits from those hardy Breton fishermen.

As an indication of how the French enjoy pirates in the NAUTICAL LOG Press Release folder this morning there is a report entitled "France captures 35 'pirates' in three days off the Somali coast". The French Navy frigate Nivose seized four 'mother-ships' and six skiffs. After firing warning shots French and EU forces used helicopters to make the 'Stop and Capture' operation. The French Naval and Special Forces have captured nearly 100 pirates and killed 6 since the capture of a French luxury yacht in April 2008. Captured pirates are usually flown to Kenya for trial and about 10 are in French jails awaiting trial in France.

So SS-PG crewmembers this is an indication of the warm reception the French Navy will offer you should you continue on this 12,000 nautical mile voyage and interfere with Mediterranean Bluefin tuna fishermen. Remember besides the French you will be dealing with all the other European and North African nations who fish Bluefin tuna.

Good Watch.

Monday, March 8, 2010


Panama (Flag State) illegal bluefin tuna boat in the Mediterranean.

Well finally today comes word from the Sea Shepherd Pirate Group who arrived back in Sanctuary on Saturday. After a weekend of relative silence which included a visit from investigation teams of the Australian Federal Police (AFP). They had allowed 'Wats-his-name' to disembark to the dock to talk with a small group of media people. The normally swashbuckling pirate captain was remarkably subdued, in fact he seemed to be more buckling under life and had lost all his 'swash'.

SS-PG produced an 'Antarctic Campaign Report' covering "2009-2010 Antarctic Whale Defense Campaign: Operation Waltzing Matilda". As it turns out it was quite a good choice of name as the SS-PG have been waltzing around accomplishing something between very little to nothing. Other than perform for the 'Animal Planet' TV coverage the whole venture was a complete waste of time, burnt fuel oil, a lost toy boat and damaged ship. Lets not forget the shameful episode of the captured boat operator now on the way to Japan in disgrace.

The Report rehashes events and tries desperately to put a positive spin on what took place but fails miserably. It is the Report of a very tired, confused and disappointed person the usual bravado statements totally missing, in fact it does not sound like 'Wats-his-name' at all. What little enthusiasm there is, is reserved for the Australians who apparently approve 91% of pirate operations. Of course since Australia provides sanctuary for the SS-PG it naturally must be kow-towed too.

This might explain why the Australian Maritime Unions and the Australian Master Mariners Association have been stunningly silent in this abuse of Australia's Maritime Facilities and use of its Ports as pirate lairs. One wonders what has happened to the courageous ANZAC spirit which once set an honourable standard for us all.

Now according to a contact of NAUTICAL LOG the SS-PG vessel or vessels are preparing to leave Australia on passage to Europe. They wish to stop the Mediterranean Bluefin tuna fishermen from fishing. How they are going to get there one has to wonder, around the Cape of Good Hope or run the gauntlet of their fellow pirates, real armed pirates, of the Horn of Africa. Should that be accomplished they would then have to go up the Red Sea and transit the Suez Canal. Now one suspects that Egypt may not be wildly enthusiastic to allow them to make that transit. After all as well as the European nations the nations of North Africa also fish for Bluefin tuna. The distance from Hobart, Tasmania to Port Said, Egypt is 7960 nautical miles. The distance from Hobart to Cape Town, South Africa is 6229 nautical miles and from Cape Town to Lorient, France is 5739 nautical miles for a total of 11,968 nautical miles.

However the same contact has suggested only the MS Steve Irwin will go to the Mediterranean and that it will cross the Pacific to transit the Panama Canal. Also it appears that the SS-PG fearless leader is unable to travel on this real sea passage. More buckling and no swash from 'Wats-his-name'. The distance from Hobart, Tasmania to Cristobal, Panama is 7673 nautical miles and from Cristobal, Panama to Lorient, France is 4462 nautical miles for a total of 12,135 nautical miles.

If you think the Japanese Whaling Fleet were a little aggressive this year just wait to see the welcome the Mediterranean fishermen will give the SS-PG. These are people even the French President is very cautious and diplomatic in dealing with. Already there have been some plans to welcome the SS-PG with open arms to the Mediterranean, after all the 'Black Ships' are well known to French fishermen. You may recall the 'Black Ships' warm welcome from the fishermen of St. Pierre et Miquelon, France. One has to believe with plans like this 'Wats-his-name' has truly lost his 'swash' and as for anyone joining these vessels as a crewmember - well better have your paperwork all in order before sailing.

Good Watch.

Sunday, March 7, 2010


Yesterday the two Sea Shepherd Pirate Group ships the Dutch MS Steve Irwin and the stateless MS Bob Barker returned to their sanctuary port of Hobart, Tasmania. Both ships were boarded on arrival by teams of Australian Federal Police (AFP). In keeping with the traditions of the sea the senior Master was the only person allowed ashore so 'Wats-his-name' was free to be interviewed but was notably subdued - at least for him.

The Investigation is in response to about 100 complaints by the Japanese Government. Warrants were apparently served for video material, computer records, logbooks, charts and anything that will assist their investigation. The crews were interviewed and statements taken for now they remain aboard their individual ships. By allowing an unregistered vessel the MS Bob Barker into one of its ports the Australian Government has taken responsibility for it. Until the vessel can find a Flag State it must remain in Hobart under Maritime Law. As Port State the Australian Government must place the vessel under a detention Admiralty writ and maintain its condition.

NAUTICAL LOG requests and expects the Australian Master Mariners Association to appoint a ship guardian to see that this is done and not allow this vessel to proceed to sea undocumented. Regretfully this Association has done nothing to prevent the use of Australian ports as pirate sanctuaries or to express any public disapproval of the continuous violation of maritime laws over the last several years.

The SS-PG ended its campaign against the Japanese Whaling Fleet in complete disarray having failed in each tactic executed supposedly to prevent whaling. Amongst the various counter strikes against the SS-PG was the sinking of their Ady Gil and the deflagging of their MS Bob Barker as well as the detention and removal to Japan of the operator of the Ady Gil.

While the vessel searches and crew interviews were going on by the AFP the heroic Prime Minister Kevin Rudd reiterated the Australian Government's stance to prosecute Japanese whalers in an international court if they fail to cease their annual cull. Now Kevin knows quite well that by the time the case would be considered, let alone heard, he and his administration will be long gone from office. This is just a piece of political theatre and grandstanding at its pathetic worst which insults the Japanese and does nothing for the already Australian stained maritime image.

Good Watch.

Saturday, March 6, 2010


This mornings Press Release folder brought news of a cruise ship returning to Florida with sick passengers. As it happens it is a vessel of one of my former company's so NAUTICAL LOG took more than usual interest.

The report states that "a large number of passengers and crew members complaining of flu-like symptoms during a two week voyage". Of course the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) arrived and determined that 168 passengers of 1,211 and 19 crew of 559 were sick.

One passenger Mr. (77) stated "I feel the ship didn't do what they were supposed to do to take care of us. They should have cleaned the damned place up". But another Ms. (66) stated "They were so careful they sprayed our cabins down with chemical to kill it".

Having served in cruise ships for three decades these are typical reactions of passengers/guests. Cruise ships are cleaner than most hotels ashore, just about all restaurants and most likely Mr. 77's own home. Cleaning goes on 365/7/24 and is monitored by the ships own command, the CDC and the water quality continuously recorded on graphs for examination by Health Authorities. It is unlikely that Mr. 77 does that in his home either.

As will be found in this case no doubt a passenger or passengers came aboard for the cruise already sick and of course in the relatively confined shipboard atmosphere spread the germs. Many times when boarding there are passengers coughing and sneezing in the Cruise Terminal and we used to comment about it. Unfortunately unless they collapse and paramedics have to be called the Law requires they are allowed to board.

So Ms. 66 thank you for your gracious comments about the crew, as always they work long and hard. Mr. 77 look to your fellow passengers or perhaps even yourself - but don't blame the cruise ship.

Good Watch.

Thursday, March 4, 2010


Typical example of a UKHO paper chart

Last year on June 18, 2009 NAUTICAL LOG published a Post entitled "Voyage & Passage Planning". At that time the United Kingdom Hydrographic Office were in the final stages of the development of the future of navigation. Indeed that is just what it was named "The Future of Navigation" and there is a link to it and the UKHO in our 'Link List' below. We would suggest a visit to learn all the details of this onboard and ashore system.

In Shanghai, China on December 01, 2009 the UKHO 'Admiralty e-Navigator' was duly launched so it has now been in operation for three months. To quote the International Maritime Organization (IMO)
"e-Navigation is the harmonised collection, integration, exchange, presentation and analysis of maritime information onboard and ashore by electronic means to enhance berth to berth navigation and related services, for safety and security at sea and protection of the marine environment"
One thing the IMO can be always be counted on for is a well worded statement.

In our previous Post we made some suggestions and NAUTICAL LOG is pleased to see that in its 'Passage Planning' section UKHO 'Admiralty e-Navigator' covers all those points including:

  • VTS diagrams and calling points

  • Pilot information

  • Anchorage locations

  • Port approach details

  • Arrival and departure requirements

  • Terminal details

  • Stevedore working hours

  • Port regulations

  • List of chandlers and Port agents

  • List of other services

Visit the UKHO website at and contact your nautical chart distributor for the latest updated information covering your area.

Good Watch.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010


cleaning up broken glass this morning

MS Louis Majesty

SAFETY NOTE: March 04, 2010
Looking at the crew cleaning up the debris from the broken windows NAUTICAL LOG was struck by how close those unprotected windows are to the bow. Taking the crew average height of say 6 feet it appears the sets of three windows are only 24 feet from that bow jackstaff forward. The widows should be fitted with steel shutters for protection in heavy weather, and preferably capable of being closed by a remote control from inside. There are several roll-up brands available used for hurricane and storefront protection. That forward windowed bulkhead is acting as a breakwater - which it did.
UPDATE: March 04, 2010.
There seems to be some confusion as to where this incident occurred and where the ship was on passage from and to. At NAUTICAL LOG we read reports this morning in Greek, French, Spanish as well as English to try and clarify. It seems that the MS Louis Majesty left Cartagena, Spain and headed for Genoa, Italy. Due to poor weather conditions it was decided to bypass a planned call at Barcalona, Spain. Initially it was reported that the incident occurred "off Marseille, France" however this was just a general area mention and not an accurate navigator's position. The navigator's position remains "off Capo de Begur" as the location of the incident. One would really like to see the Media make an effort to report accurately as it seems to be a worldwide malaise to just write something down in whatever language and print it regardless of accuracy.

March 03, 2010.

A cruise ship the MS Louis Majesty was hit by an 8 metre wave in the Mediterranean today. The accident happened off Capo de Begur, Spain some 80 miles northeast of Barcalona, Spain. The ship requested emergency berthing in Barcalona and injured passengers were removed. Spanish reports that two were dead a German and an Italian man.

Cmdr. Bernand Celier of the French Maritime Authority based in Toulon said "no signs of the least problem with the Louis Majesty" he noted however that winds of over 100 kph./60mph had been reported.

Louis Cruise Line's Michael Maratheftis said the ship was hit by three abnormally high waves up to 26 feet high that broke glass in the forward section. The vessel is 207 metres/680 feet long has 10 passenger decks and 732 staterooms.

Good Watch

Tuesday, March 2, 2010


Just a reminder that due to the Earth axis shift as a result of the 8.8 earthquake in Chile navigation is effected. All seafarers on South American West Coast voyages should be aware of the physical changes to the sea bottom and the coastal islands of Chile. It is reported that some islands have risen by two metres, this will change the range they are picked up on radar for example. March 09, 2010: Latest studies indicate that some areas have been moved 3 metres to the West.

Navigation Officers must build this data into their Passage Plans, allowing for possible depth changes and missing navigational marks. It is suggested that the sounder/sonar be operated continuously, give land masses a wider berth than usual where possible and obtain navigational data from the Armada de Chile prior to entering Chilean waters. The Consular Officers of Chile may have useful data however it must be realised that there has not yet been the opportunity to survey for chart corrections.

Mariners may find that at this time and for some time in the future areas may be closed to shipping particularly private yachts and cruise ships. Search and Recovery is underway.

Full cooperation with the Armada de Chile is necessary as the country has a lot on its hands at present. Also there is an Administration change on March 11, 2010. Obtain, read and follow all SHOA 'Notices to Mariners' regarding Chilean Waters.

Servicio Hidrografico y Oceanografico de la Armada de Chile charts that are affected are numbers 5000, 6000, 6110, 6111, 6112, 6120, 6121, 6122 covering the Talcahuano and River Bio Bio areas. Electronic charts are available on the usual CD for each area. All SHOA data and information is available in Chile's native language Spanish or in English at their website.
UPDATE: March 06, 2010
There has been a change of command at SHOA, Commander Mariano Rojas as been relieved by Commander Patricio Carrasco. This is generally considered a result of the lack of tsunami warnings after the 8.8 earthquake.

UK Hydrographic Office of British Admiralty charts that are affected are BA 1314, BA 1389, BA 4247, BA 4248 for same area.
With regard to another earthquake hit area, Haiti, the UKHO has prepared a chart Preliminary BA 466 for Port-au-Prince and Approaches. An example of this chart can be seen by linking to 'The Future of Navigation' in the Link List below.

Good Watch.


After some chilly weather here in South Florida this morning was somewhat warmer. Got the coffee going went to collect the newspaper, from under the front wheel of the car furthest from the road. Now there's a good question how is it the worlds newspaper deliverers are all able to completely defy the Laws of Physics. From our avenue it is quite impossible to make such an angled throw to this mornings 'point of landing'. Newspaper collected NAUTICAL LOG refilled the bird feeder and headed for the kitchen for coffee. But we digress as those SS-PG supporters, who lacked courage to sign their names to their opinions, would say the 'Old Fool' is at it again.

Indeed now with coffee at hand we can read the latest SS-PG Press Release, I think so anyway. Today quotes a Dr. Andrew Pershing from the University of Maine who got a bit carried away with his writing, we all do at times, and describes whales as the "forests of the ocean". Really NAUTICAL LOG kids you not, - I think that I shall never see a whale as lovely as a tree - with apologies to a famous poet but it was just too tempting!!

Now you will perhaps forgive me as I was born 100 metres from the sea, have spent my 73 years closely connected to it and I have great trouble following this. But please let us read on and quote the good scientist, "Whales like any animal or plant are made out of a lot of carbon". There you go turned out to be quite easy to understand after all. He goes on to point out that originally whale were a source of lamp oil which when burned released the carbon directly into the air. Pointing out further that "In their initial calculations the scientists calculated that 100 years of whaling had released an amount of carbon equivalent to burning 130,000 sq.kms of temperate forests or driving 128,000 Humvee's continuously for 100 years" - note in passing he did not select Toyota's.

All this science study stuff is laudable except for one small problem those guys at the University of East Anglia in England whose e-mails became public makes one just a little suspicious now of these 'scientific' studies.

Dr. Pershing (seems like a nice guy) stressed that this is a tiny amount when compared to the billions of tonnes produced by human activity every year. He said the whales undertook an important role in storing and transporting carbon in the marine ecosystem. Leaving groups of whales to grow could sequester the greenhouse gas in amounts that are comparable to some of the reforestation schemes that earn and sell carbon credits. He suggested that a similar system of carbon credits could be applied to whales in order to protect and rebuild their stocks. Pretty neat idea actually.

Now for the ultimate 'greenhouse gas' because this is the point that SS-PG jumped in and stated they should receive carbon credits for every whale they prevented from being killed this year and over the past five years. In fairness you have got to hand it to those nautical thugs, be it selling ramming 'T' shirts or whale credits they are right there with money making schemes, and full of - greenhouse gas.

Good Watch.