Friday, April 30, 2010


TOKYO, April 30, 2010.

The Japan Coast Guard has obtained an arrest warrant for the head of the anti-whaling Sea Shepherd Conservation Society for allegedly ordering members of the group to obstruct operations by Japan's whaling fleet.

The Japan Coast Guard has questioned the Master of the MS Shonan Maru 2 in regard to the collision between his vessel and the SS-PG vessel Ady Gil. This occurred when that vessel returned to Japan with the operator of the Ady Gil, whose former name was Earthrace, aboard in detention. As has been widely reported the operator, a New Zealand citizen named Bethune, boarded the MS Shonan Maru 2 at sea to confront her Master. He was detained under International Maritime Law and Japanese Maritime Law for illegally boarding a vessel underway on the High Seas, an act of piracy. If found guilty at his forthcoming trial he faces 15 years in a Japanese prison.

It is not clear if the Nations involved which include, in addition to Japan, Australia, New Zealand, and possibly France whose TAAF Prefect issued the MS Steve Irwin a Permit to operate in Antarctica, will enforce this warrant. Canada is also interested in this same person, Paul Watson is Canadian born, for violation of its Maritime Laws and may cooperate with Japan in enforcing this warrant.

Good Watch.

Thursday, April 29, 2010


News came to NAUTICAL LOG today about two voyages many miles apart in distance, purpose and attitude. The first is one with an honourable purpose to raise money to fight several serious illnesses by recreating the voyage made 221 years ago by Captain Bligh of HMS Bounty in one the ships boats. He and some crewmembers who refused to join the mutineers, whose descendants now live on Pitcairn Island, sailed from Tonga to Kupang, Timor a distance of 3700 nautical miles. Rather than discuss it here may we suggest a visit to OLD SALT BLOG which gives the full story and has a video of the open whaler with four crew making the voyage, they were due to depart yesterday.

The other voyage is due to commence from New York on May 1, 2010 bound for the Mediterranean. As you may have guessed already it is MS Steve Irwin which apparently has arrived in the New York/New Jersey area. One might ask how does this pirate vessel travel around the world without getting detained - well she does. In fairness one has to admire the navigation and seamanship which her crew have displayed to accomplish this voyage from Tasmania via Panama Canal to New York. The SSCS Press Release states that 'Operation Blue Rage' will commence Sea Shepherd's 2010 Tuna Defence Campaign. SSCS further states that they will "actively enforce conservation laws by opposing the poaching currently threatening the species". While the policy is honourable their strategy is suspect when one considers the past behaviour of the SS-PG and no doubt the possibility of violent actions by the MS Steve Irwin are all too possible.

The bluefin tuna fishing season starts in mid-May and runs through August so by sailing from New York May 1, 2010 she should arrive at the start of the season. There is a new website for this latest SSCS venture Operation Blue Rage. There was no word in the Press Release regarding 'Wats-his-name' being on board the MS Steve Irwin for this passage to the Mediterranean.

Good Watch.

Saturday, April 24, 2010


UPDATE: April 25, 2010.

As usual when NAUTICAL LOG writes about the SSCS we receive comments which contain insulting language. Actually its rather childish language as one would perhaps expect from the phony conservationists of the SS-PG. Since the comments were always signed "ANONYMOUS" we choose not to publish them. It is interesting that the wording is always exactly the same so NAUTICAL LOG surmises they are prepared in advance ready for transmission. How pathetic is it that the SS-PG do not have an original opinion to make an original statement. If they displayed some real courage of their convictions and signed their opinions we would be delighted to publish them. That way everyone could see what they wrote, childish language and all, so comment, sign, and we will publish.

On rare occasions NAUTICAL LOG finds itself in agreement with the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. This occurs when it behaves like a conservation society and not like a bunch of nautical thugs. This mornings Press Release folder brought one from the SSCS regarding the ridiculous compromise with Japan allowing them to continue hunting whales under a quota system and in the Southern Ocean Sanctuary. Quite correctly the SSCS refuses to recognize this agreement as indeed does NAUTICAL LOG.

Unfortunately of course the Sea Shepherd Pirate Group (SS-PG) will resort to violent action next season and once again place themselves in the wrong. The latest planned action is 'Operation No Compromise' and one can only hope that its strategy is more intelligent than that of 'Operation Waltzing Matilda'. One might also point out to 'Wats-his-name' that had Bethune not been in detention in Japan the New Zealand Government would be in a better position to vote clearly against any compromise. As a result of the stupid actions of Bethune NZ had to allow for some flexibility to negotiate with the Japanese Court when he is brought to trial. As usual the SS-PG actions resulting from their flawed strategy causes polarization and not the desired prevention of whaling.

'Wats-his-name' has never been able to look at the big picture to achieve big results just incidents to brush his own ego at the expense of people dazzled and foolish enough to do his bidding.

One also wonders which and what vessel he will use as the MS Steve Irwin will most likely not be available, one way or another, after tangling with European Union Mediterranean fishermen.

Good Watch.

Thursday, April 22, 2010


The following "M" Notices have been released by the UK-MCA.

MSN 1734 (M+F)
MSN 1735 (M+F)
MSN 1824 (M) EU Technical Requirements for Inland Waterways Vessels
MGN 400 (M+F)

They are available at The "M" Notice Administrator's number is 023-8032-9391 if there is a problem.

Good Watch.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


Being a great reader since childhood, often under the bedclothes with a flashlight, was an advantage for a career at sea. Before all the electronic gimmicks now available we only had books and an occasional tin box of movies from 'Walport Films'; remember those ? So it is that NAUTICAL LOG is still never without reading material particularly when travelling.

On our return from two weeks in Hawai'i, a complete vacation without even going online, there was lots to catch up on. Amongst all the mail was a copy of "Seized" by Max Hardberger, it is my current reading and it is a good one. All about tall tales of the sea which are tall enough to have that certain nautical romance without going overboard so as to be unbelievable. The characters and places are well drawn, the vessels typical of the Miami River. This is a working river where commercial shipping, tow boating, Cuban fishermen and yachting meld as one. The world of such people as Plato Cox of Auto Marine Engineers, Boucher Boatyard, the original Allied Marine, Bertram's and Merrill-Stevens Drydock.

Living a short drive from the Miami River NAUTICAL LOG can travel along South or North SW River Drive to see the ships and people Hardberger writes about on any day. Haitian freighters loaded with bicycles, mattresses, and containers with cars lashed on top - all with a minimum regard for stability calculations !!

The stories are well written and authentic, this book is definitely worth reading. For anyone who might be thinking of following this Caribbean seafaring life first learn fluent Spanish and the culture and traditions of this Spanish colonial region. French will also be useful as it forms the base for understanding Kreyol, the patois of Haiti.

Good Watch.

Saturday, April 17, 2010


HMS Albion

HMS Ocean

HMS Ark Royal

Iceland's volcano

UPDATE: April 19, 2010.

Over the weekend COBRA the United Kingdoms emergency committee met to discuss using Royal Navy vessels to repatriate British subjects stranded abroad. In fact HMS Ark Royal is due to arrive in Santander, Spain, some 598 nautical miles from Portsmouth, UK, thanks to the cooperation of the Spanish Government. HMS Ocean and HMS Albion are also assigned to this civilian transport duty.

With the volcano eruption in Iceland a gap in Trans-Atlantic transportation has quickly shown up. Since it is impossible to fly due to the debris at 30,000 feet all the needed aircraft are grounded and the airports closed to flight traffic. For travelers it is possible to travel within Europe by ferry services and trains. However what about the Trans-Atlantic passengers ? This situation could go on for a month at least quite easily.

NAUTICAL LOG suggests that it is time to temporarily reintroduce Trans-Atlantic passenger ship service. Arrangements could be made to utilize cruise ships to move the stranded people from Europe to the United States and from United States to Europe. A priority system could be used to repatriate travelers immediately. Once that is done, if the situation continues, it would be a matter of purchase a ticket and travel Trans-Atlantic by sea.

The distance from New York, NY to Southampton, England is 3156 nautical miles, at 21 knots that is 6.26 days. Many cruise ships have the capability to do a higher sea speed say 25 knots which cuts a day off the passage.

Perhaps there is a cruise line out there that is already considering this service and if so NAUTICAL LOG would suggest 'go for it.' There are a lot of very unhappy people trying to survive at the European airports without too much assistance for them possible.

Good Watch.

Friday, April 16, 2010


The NAUTICAL LOG morning Press Release folder brought, thanks to the friend of a friend Great Barrier Reef Pilot, an Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) report on the grounding of the MV Shen Neng.

It is well worth reading of what actually happened and clears up the usual Media mis-reporting of these incidents. It really is beyond time for the Media both to gets the facts correct and learn industry terminology before rushing to print.

Rather than reprint or summarize here NAUTICAL LOG would like to direct those interested to the original ATSB report at their website

Good Watch

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


Today Australian Maritime Authorities arrested the Chinese Master and Chief Officer of the MV Shen Neng. It appears that the Chief Officer was OOW at the time of the vessel's grounding. The Australians believe that the vessel was attempting a 'shortcut' through an area of The Great Barrier Reef closed to navigation. Damage to the Reef has been quite extensive both from the grounding and the vessel's bottom anti-fouling paint.

Good Watch.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


Talk about grasping at straws; the latest 'spin', in the Press Release folder, from Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is a classic of that modern journalistic style. It is reported that 507 whales have been slaughtered by the Japanese Whaling Fleet this season. That alone indicates a failure of the Sea Shepherd strategy and the actions it led too. Legally, as we all know by now, there should not even have been a whaling fleet hunting. It most certainly should not have been in the Southern Whale Sanctuary which, as we also all know, is supposed to be protected by the Government of Australia but is not. The Sea Shepherds claimed to fill this gap but their actions are so 'off-the-wall' as to be totally ineffective. This year they had a vessel sunk and its operator is in detention in Japan facing numerous charges in violation of Maritime Law both Japanese and International.

It is a little hard to know just who is in charge at the Sea Shepherds these days but it does not appear to be 'Wats-his-name'. Not much is heard from him, which is somewhat of a relief, and he is not in command of the MS Steve Irwin on its Trans-Pacific voyage. NAUTICAL LOG suspects that after the complete failure of Operation Waltzing Matilda his star may have wained somewhat.

The usual fact adjusted bombastic statements from 'Wats-his-name' are not in evidence. Instead we get a political correctly worded wimpy statement in reference to Takashi Mori comments on lack of whale samples:

"We hope so, but most importantly we know that the lack of research 'samples' will impact their profits, we hit them long and hard this year and all our efforts and risks have paid off. There are 528 whales swimming freely in the Southern Ocean that would now be dead if not for the fact that we intervened. It is a happy day for my crew and I and conservationists worldwide, a happy day indeed."

NAUTICAL LOG is happy also that the Japanese do not have their 'samples' but how the conclusion can be drawn that 528 whales are freely swimming in the Southern Ocean is a mystery. No doubt if one calculates using 'voodoo mathematics' such numbers might result. So while 'Wats-his-name' abandons his ship and crew on the Trans-Pacific voyage to relax with his 'hollywood type' friends one wonders where Sea Shepherds goes from here. As to the crew of MS Steve Irwin long sea voyages are conductive of long time deep thinking. Hopefully some at least will wise up too the fact that they are being used, and without pay, for one persons self-promotion and self-glorification.

This type of 'conservation' is a complete fraud. If their voyage concludes in Europe as is planned any action taken against the Mediterranean fishermen could all too easily end in a tragedy. Perhaps European Union government action on their arrival will prevent that happening.

Good Watch.

Monday, April 12, 2010


Fish Aggregating Device (FAD)

Catching up on nautical news this morning we read that the Australian Maritime Authorities have removed the MS Shen Neng from the sandbar off The Great Barrier Reef. It seems that damage from oil has been kept to a minimum which is a relief. NAUTICAL LOG awaits further data as to other damage from the actual grounding apparently at full speed.

We were also interested to learn that the pirate ship MS Steve Irwin called at Pitcairn Island which is on the great circle route from New Zealand to Panama. The now retired island communications officer Tom Christian MBE is a former shipmate of mine. We sailed aboard the TSS Tamahine in New Zealand some 51 years ago he as Radio Officer me as a brand new Third Officer. Tom and his wife recently returned to Pitcairn after a long stay in New Zealand. It is good to read of the SS-PG doing some nice things for a change and NAUTICAL LOG is sure it was a interesting experience for the MS Steve Irwin crew and of course Pitcairn's residents had a chance for trading. With the demise of the Trans-Pacific passenger ships calls at Pitcairn must be few and far between these days.

A second report tells of a Fish Aggregating Device (FAD) found some 400 nautical miles from Galapagos, it was fitted with a satellite transponder. The MS Steve Irwin crew recovered the equipment, destroyed it and recorded the serial number of the transponder. This would seem to be a good thing and certainly a lot better type of work than ramming ships.

Good Watch.

Sunday, April 11, 2010


Diamond Head from '1812'.

After an absence of two weeks NAUTICAL LOG is back and catching up on nautical news in particular and things in general. Not least of this is the yard which looks as if it never had any care whatsoever so a busy week is ahead. The family had gathered in Hawai'i for the Easter wedding of our second daughter. NAUTICAL LOG decided to stay on in our Waikiki Beach hotel for an extra weeks vacation. The assigned room was '1812' which was a good number for someone so interested in history, it also had a perfect view looking eastwards to Diamond Head and sunrise through the lanai sliding glass door. It was really a complete break as we did not even check our e-mail, of course when we got back there were 140 of them!! This was how we finally learned of the MV Shen Neng grounding on Australia's Great Barrier Reef.

We caught the 'red eye' from HNL to LAX and then on to MIA. Before leaving LAX the pilot announced a short delay while he had another 3000 pounds of fuel loaded due to uncertain weather at MIA. NAUTICAL LOG thought fuelling with 300 passengers already on board was an interesting safety issue!! Some five hours later the flight landed at MIA on time with some low hands on flying by the flight crew on the approach. A short taxi ride by a hilarious Pakistani driver, (I love America), and we are home again.

Thoughts about the responsibility of pilots got us thinking about nautical pilots and the relationships between the Bridge Team and Port Pilots. In view of the MV Shen Neng and MS Mimosa incidents Compulsory Pilotage in the Great Barrier Reef Areas would seem necessary. This has been discussed many times over the years and no firm decision has really ever been reached. Here in Florida there is an on going discussion regarding reform of the harbor pilot system. This is as a result of a study and report by The Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability (OPPAGA). After examining Florida's current regulations overseeing harbor pilots, OPPAGA found that the Pilotage Rate Review Board may not be operating in compliance with the mandated members composition as dictated by State Law.

Florida Pilots can and do make $400,000 a year while Tampa and Jacksonville for example have a long and tricky pilotage, Miami and Port Everglades are pretty easy about an hours work for over twice the pay of a top cruise ship Master. Is it any wonder that the Bridge Team/Pilot relationship varies from a 'necessary evil' to 'overpaid prima donnas' who do not even handle a modern cruise ship.

Now as too adding 3000 pounds of fuel to a 757 with a full load of passengers aboard - hmmmm.

Good Watch.