Friday, July 30, 2010


A Coverage system

Solar-power generated

Remote antenna

Archipelago coverage ranges

Northern islands coverage range

Some good news this week from Brasilia, Brazil where the annual UNESCO World Heritage Committee met. As a result of work by the Government of Ecuador it was decided to remove the Galapagos Islands from the List of World Heritage in Danger. For the past three years the the Government of Ecuador, the Galapagos National Park Service (GNPS) and various NGO's active in environmental affairs have been working hard to improve the situation. The Automatic Identification System (AIS) Project was introduced.

NAUTICAL LOG found the AIS Project was most interesting as funding came from the Dutch Postcode Lottery specifically for this project. The Sea Shepherds will use this funding to build a network of AIS repeaters throughout the archipelago. These will be solar powered fully self-supporting at eight (8) fixed locations as well as aboard the GNPS vessels. All information is sent to the GNPS control centre and displayed on a monitor thus all vessels can be tracked. Further the GNPS will provide AIS transceivers at rental cost to vessels entering the Park boundries if they are not equipped. Some photos above show the coverage envisioned.

Good Watch.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


Chris Reynolds, Director IRCG
Crest of IRCG - harp and anchor

Cliff rescue drill

IRCG inshore rapid response

IRCG helicopter with RNLI larger rescue boat

UPDATE Thursday July 29, 2010: We have had a remarkable comment from Mr. Kevin Bennetts the fisherman who was rescued by HS Juan de la Cosa and the IRCG. It is in the comments to the "SPANISH HOSPITAL SHIP" Post. Mr. Bennetts was kind enough to send photos of his vessel which are now added to the Post.

Recently NAUTICAL LOG reported on the Spanish hospital ship assigned to fishing fleets combining with the Irish Coast Guard to transport a sick fisherman. Just who are the Irish Coast Guard ? see their website As it happens there is an article in today's "Irish Times" that tells us something about them. Considering all the vital rescue work they do we thought a little publicity here would do them no harm. So acknowledging the "Irish Times" article by Laurence Mackin as our principle source plus some NAUTICAL LOG research here goes.

Being a small country Ireland combines its resources with the voluntary work of its citizens. The Irish Coast Guard is a vital, voluntary organization that serves the nation well. It consists of IRCG rhibs, the larger vessels of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI), government dedicated helicopters. As needed the Irish Naval Service, Irish Air Corps, An Garda Siochana, Irish Mountain Rescue Association (IMRA), Irish Cave Rescue Organisation (ICRO) and all other national resources can be called upon. The IRCG units are stationed around the coastal fishing ports of Ireland and manned, as is the RNLI, by volunteers with a nucleus of salaried professionals. One of the key abilities of the IRCG units is cliff rescue, they are highly trained in cliff rescue as well as rescuing from the sea and have the ability to combine both as needed.

When a call comes in to the IRCG Marine Rescue Coordination Centre or local Unit number the response is immediate. The IRCG Duty Officer can assign the RNLI larger boats, a IRCG close inshore boat, a cliff rescue team, a helicopter or a combination of all or part. In the photo above one can see the inshore boats and a cliff rescue team working together in a rescue. Other photos show the equipment available. Units train to a basic plan with consideration for the local conditions and the volunteers are local men and women. Around the Irish coast there is a network of 55 stations all volunteer staffed.

If it is needed counselling is available because sometimes the job can be very difficult but largely these Irish volunteers prefer to talk about things amongst themselves and move on.

Currently there is a IRCG safety campaign named BELT UP:

B buy an approved lifejacket for everyone aboard.
E ensure equipment is well maintained.
L listen to the weather forecast.
T tell someone on land what time you are expected back. You can also inform IRCG.
U understand how your equipment works such as whistle and flares.
P prepare. Lifejackets, GPS, communication equipment NOT mobile/cell phones as they may not work at sea.

If this sounds familiar it should because here in the United States we have the same requirements and advice. However we call T filing a FLOAT PLAN.

Good Watch.


Several times a week NAUTICAL LOG sees in our visitors log references to the Passage Planning Posts. If you would like a copy of the "Nautical Log Passage Planning Guide" just send your e-mail address, and resident country, we shall send a copy by return e-mail. You can then download it, print it out or put it on disc and start passage planning. It is free of charge and that is a good deal in itself these days!!
Also welcome to some new "Followers" thank you for your interest in NAUTICAL LOG. Feel free to comment and suggest subject matter for nautical Posts.

Good Watch.

Sunday, July 25, 2010


FV Ben Loyal WK3

Spanish hospital ship Juan de la Cosa
One of the nice things about being a seafarer is that the learning process is continuous. This morning on reading the "Sunday Irish Times" NAUTICAL LOG learned about a Spanish Hospital ship the MS Juan de la Cosa. She had taken aboard a seriously ill fisherman from a British owned vessel the FV Ben Loyal. Then being concerned about his condition they had contacted the Irish Coast Guard Marine Rescue Coordination Centre at Valentia Island. This resulted in a rendezvous with an Irish Coast Guard helicopter for his transfer to hospital ashore in Ireland. Apparently the hospital ship accompanies various fleets of Spanish fishing vessels in the North Atlantic. Due to being outside the IRCG helicopters range the ship had to proceed at best speed towards Valentia Island, County Kerry.

Interested in the hospital ship NAUTICAL LOG did some research and found that she is operated, together with the MS Esperanza de Mar, by the Insituto Social de la Marina (ISM) of Spain. We also found out that Juan de la Cosa whom the ship is named for was the owner of the SV Santa Maria the nao that Columbus sailed in on his first voyage westwards across the Atlantic to the islands of the Caribbean. Juan de la Cosa sailed with him on that voyage - wise owner keeping an eye on his ship no doubt.

Good Watch.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


South Africa - before
South Africa - after

Faeroe Islands - quay full of pilot whales

Faeroe Islands - local people and pilot whales

UPDATE Sunday July 25, 2010:
This Post has been commented on below and NAUTICAL LOG has replied to each one. We shall continue to do so as necessary, while still considering SSCS to be a pirate group that has a strategy of maritime thuggery. Judging from the recent "Whale Wars" series they are also grossly incompetent seafarers and portray themselves as being nautically impaired.
However when they do something that is positive in conservation then we shall report that also and in a positive way. Most certainly it is a rare enough event. That is fair and balanced posting which we want NAUTICAL LOG to be as a maritime affairs blog. It is therefore perhaps worthy of respect by you the reader rather than being another ranting forum of one-sided views. The Internet abounds with those already.
ORIGINAL POST July 21, 2010:
The NAUTICAL LOG Press Release folder brought two whale stories today from different ends of our world. The first was from South Africa in which a sailing yacht was possibly attacked by a breaching whale. The South African maritime authorities are investigating to find out if the whale had been harassed in any way prior to breaching and crashing down on the yacht. As one can see the attack was quite successful and fortunately the couple on board were not injured.

The second story is no less serious and in fact it is extremely disturbing so much so that NAUTICAL LOG is not publishing all the pictures of the event that are included with the report. The Sea Shepherds and NAUTICAL LOG are rarely in any form of agreement as to their activities. In this case however we praise Mr. Peter Hammarstedt, whom you may know is a crewmember of both the MS Steve Irwin and the MS Bob Barker both Netherlands Flag State pirate vessels, for his courage in photographing the slaughter. From the Faeroe Islands comes his report with photographs of a barbaric viking slaughter of a pod of 236 pilot whales. This slaughter was completely indiscriminate and the entire pod of bulls, females, pregnant females and juveniles were slaughtered. This makes no sense to a former fisherman because one is killing the future, not that these people could be called 'fishermen' in this case. Go to the website to read the full report and view the photos which be warned are very graphic. Mr. Hammarstedt, who is Swedish, was 'cleaned-up' from his "Whale Wars" days but was still recognized, he transmitted the photos and after police interrogation had to immediately leave the Faeroe Islands. Both the Faeroe Islands Administration and the Kingdom of Denmark should be deeply ashamed of this barbaric behaviour by their nationals.

Denmark is a member of the European Union and ignores the fact that pilot whales are protected under European Union Law. Under the Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats pilot whales are classified as "Strictly Protected". In 1973 when Denmark joined the then European Community, now the European Union, the Faeroe Islands declined to join with them as a result today it is not a European Union member. Denmark has failed miserably to abide by its obligations as a signatory of the Convention to deal with this pilot whale slaughter known as the 'grind' in the Faeroe Islands.

Good Watch.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


News came in the NAUTICAL LOG Press Release folder this morning of a collision between two tankers in the North-East Passage. It might at first glance seem strange that in a area of relatively few ships there would be a collision. Having had the experience of serving in icebreakers as an OOW NAUTICAL LOG knows only too well they can occur surprising easily. Vessels move in convoys under icebreaker escort and depending on ice conditions may be quite close to each other. Add in poor visibility and the difficulty of stopping quickly in ice if the vessel ahead should suddenly have to stop. Very often there is a lot of engine power being applied to make forward progress and the restriction effect of the ice can change quite rapidly.

In fact this seems to be what happened as the report states that the MT Varzuga (1977) hit the stern of the MT Indiga (1976) whose hull was damaged. Both vessels have 1A-Super ice-classification. Hull integrity was maintained as both the tankers are double-hulled and none of the 15,000 tonnes of diesel fuel cargo each carried was spilled. There were difficult ice conditions and poor visibility at the time of the incident.

Good Watch..

Monday, July 19, 2010


The following M-Notices are available at or if you have difficulty please contact the M-Notice Administrator on 023-8032-9391.

MIN 390 (M) Navigation Safety ECDIS and BNWAS.
MGN 413 (F) Code of Practice for fishing crew.
MGN 416 (M) Inspection, Survey and Certification.
MSN 1796 (M) Amendent to Vessel Traffic Services in the United Kingdom.
MSN 1825 (F) Certificates of Equivalent Competency for Fishing Vessels.

Good Watch.


1863 -

For the second time this year comes news in the NAUTICAL LOG Press Release folder of a fall from aloft resulting in a tragic death. Earlier this year we reported on the death of a young English cadet from a sail training vessel. This weekend a former U.S. Navy officer Mr. Gregory Vance Gushaw a volunteer in the museum ship Star of India slipped from a rope ladder, stuck his head and was pulled unconscious from the water. He was pronounced dead some 40 minutes after he fell from a yard on the 140 foot foremast. The SV Star of India belongs to San Diego's Maritime Museum and Mr Gushaw was some 50 feet aloft training fellow crew members. It is reported he was wearing a safety harness and was familiar with the training exercise. At this time it is unclear if the safety harness was attached or failed, it is also possible that Mr. Gushaw suffered a medical episode before falling. Mr. Gushaw was a longtime volunteer, tour guide and member of the museum's board of trustees.

The SV Star of India is the world's oldest ship that still sails regularly. NAUTICAL LOG expresses sympathy to Mr. Gushaw's family, and his shipboard seafaring family.

Good Watch.

Saturday, July 17, 2010


From our European correspondent comes news this morning that Ireland built the cap that so far is preventing the oil spill increasing. The cap was manufactured in County Longford in a subsidiary of the United States company based in Houston,TX.
Such a cap would usually take months to make and assemble. As it happened one had been made for a Norwegian oil company and shipped to them. When the enquiry came from BP it was found that the Irish made cap was lying unused in the Norwegian company's equipment yard. It was quickly arranged to have it shipped to the Gulf and as we now know installed successfully. So a little bit of Irish made is doing a good job down the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico.
As our Irish correspondent says "great news all round".

Good Watch.

Monday, July 12, 2010


UPDATE: NAUTICAL LOG received a photograph of what is alleged to be the Caribbean Sea pushing an empty barge. As you can see in this condition it is necessary for whomever is piloting the tow to be in the upper pilothouse so as to see ahead. Even in that position the view forward is severely limited once other vessels get close to the tow due to the length of the barge. It is therefore essential that a lookout be kept from forward on the barge so that the pilot is kept informed. In fact both the International and Inland Navigation Rules state this in Rule 4 and Rule 5 and the wording is the same in both sets of Rules. Since the Inland Rules applied in this incident they state:

Rule 4 Application "Rules in this subpart apply in any condition of visibility."

Rule 5 Look-out "Every vessel shall at all times maintain a proper look-out by sight and hearing as well as by all available means appropriate in the prevailing circumstances and conditions so as to make a full appraisal of the situation and of the risk of collision"

In the recent NAUTICAL LOG series about towing we addressed most but not all of the issues in Assistance Towing and the responsibilities of First Responders. One point we did not not address and indeed should have is the right under Constitutional Law to 'keep your mouth shut' which we had suggested you do. It may cast some suspicion on you as a possible guilty party but it is most likely the wise course and when one gets 'lawyered-up' no doubt your lawyer will be pleased. The Constitutional Right is that of the Fifth Amendment which states in part:

"No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury,"

the Amendment then continues on and addresses conditions in time of War and public danger.

Last week there was a tragic accident in Philadelphia,PA in which a tourist 'duck boat' and an empty barge and tug were in collision. According to statements the 'duck boat' had broken down and was drifting when it was struck by the pushed barge. Two tourists drowned when the 37 persons in the 'duck boat' were dumped into the water. Over the weekend National Transport Safety Bureau (NTSB) interviews were conducted. The crew of the 'duck boat' stated that they radioed the tugboat pushing the barge ahead and got no response. The worker in the tug Caribbean Sea invoked his Fifth Amendment Right and refused to be interviewed about the fatal crash.

The tug crew is reported to consist of an master, mate, engineer and two deck hands, the NTSB said that the unidentified mate "exercised his Fifth Amendment rights and refused to meet with investigators" over the weekend. Other vessels in the area reported to the NTSB that they had heard the radio calls from the 'duck boat' to the tug. This would seem to confirm that the 'duck boat' did indeed transmit those calls. Other than the tug's mate the company itself was cooperating fully with the probe and had provided legal counsel to all five employees involved. The NTSB is ongoing so NAUTICAL LOG has no further comment on the incident, however it is wise to pay attention to such incidents legal responses and learn from them. If in doubt 'take the Fifth' and then follow the guidance of legal counsel.

Good Watch.

Friday, July 9, 2010


MS Sunward 1966-2004

This week the latest cruise monstrosity - alright then ship - arrived in the Port of Miami, FL. Yes NAUTICAL LOG knows very well it has every possible dining experience, nightclubs, top line shows, fabulous public rooms, drinking establishments and beautiful staterooms for the passengers - oh right we call them 'guests' nowadays - whatever. Indeed it is a floating Las Vegas resort but it is not a ship. It does have a vaguely ship like hull but after that it is a series of boxes stacked like the containers on the container ships that berth further down Dodge Island, with an enormous three deck box over the navigation Bridge.

This is an incredibly ugly design, one really has to wonder why because this is a NCL cruise vessel. NAUTICAL LOG remembers when they first started operating in 1968 between Miami FL and Nassau Bahamas. The yacht like Sunward caught everybody's attention and started a great improvement in the cruise industry from Miami in everything from shipboard amenities to crew uniforms. She in turn was followed by the elegant Ward class, Starward, Skyward, Southward, and Sunward 2, stylish beautiful ships so it is hard to understand why NCL of all people would have this Epic design. Sorry NCL but yuck!!

Good Watch.

Thursday, July 8, 2010


Further to our Post "BE CAREFUL OF"; in our local paper "The Miami Herald" there is an article this morning about disaster in the Gulf scams. The first warning is about expensive training to net jobs in oil cleanup 'Craigslist' is full of them. OSHA has said that most oil spill cleanup should not cost anything at all. The work is being done by BP and its contractors so compulsory training is free.

How to avoid getting scammed:
Before investing in a company that says it is working on a project related to the oil spill read the warning at . If you believe you have been scammed call the National Center for Disaster Fraud 866-720-5721 or e-mail In my state of Florida call the Attorney General's office at 866-966-7226 or or

Suspicious e-mail solicitations or fraudulent websites report to the FBI at their Internet Crime Complaint Center

Note the group mentioned in our Post showed up as 'suspicious' in the NAUTICAL LOG inquiries so please BE CAREFUL OF them.

Good Watch.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010


Recently NAUTICAL LOG has had a series of posts about Assistance Towing in which we addressed in Part 4 "Issues and Points" the importance of 'Confidentiality'. We also addressed the required behaviour under First Responder laws and how this should be applied by Assistance Towing Responders in "Response and Responders". We gave examples of indiscreet remarks which ended up on Media reports.

Our research had brought up that when the USCG ceased to supervise the assistance towing industry an organisation was formed called 'Conference of Professional Operators for Response Towing' (C-PORT). On NAUTICAL LOG making further inquires their Executive Director was kind enough to reply with an explanation of their programme. The Executive Director states that "ACAPT Accreditation is available to any marine assistance company who wishes to participate in the process". She further states that "membership in C-PORT is not required to obtain ACAPT certification nor is it a requirement to be connected to the TowBoatUS/VesselAssist or Sea Tow networks". So that was clear, precise and answered the NAUTICAL LOG inquiry.

As mentioned in the previous posts there are some assistance towing companies that have their own blogs, two in particular are well known. These are fun to write and are an inexpensive form of getting business for the company. Actually it was from one of these that we had drawn our examples of improper comments which ended up in the Media. Now NAUTICAL LOG has been advised of a third incident by this same towing company. It appears they were in better position and had a faster vessel so got to the vessel requiring assistance first. Fair enough you say - well not quite as it appears the vessel requiring assistance was contracted with the second arriving assistance tower. The understood seamanlike procedure is to let the contracted vessel take the contracted tow. It is reported that this was not done and the first vessel demanded the tow. Now this incident was duly reported in their blog as a business victory. Amongst the comments it received was one from the other company that has a blog. They praised this improper behaviour in a comment complete with capitalization (CAPS), exclamation points (!!!) and funny faces (no funny faces here). On doing further research NAUTICAL LOG was astounded to find that the author of the comment praising this unseamanlike behaviour was in fact one of the Board of Directors of C-PORT who particularly represents an important section of their business. Now we wonder just what sort of an organisation that offers 'Accreditation' to the assistance towing industry behaves in this manner. Just what is its value to the industry if this is how one of its Board of Directors responds to such an incident. It would seem to NAUTICAL LOG that personal honour, courtesy and a decent waterfront reputation would have much more value than a colourful sticker on the pilothouse window.

Good Watch.


Well there are much more important things in our world today but it is still disappointing to read our Press Folder this morning.
First of all there was apparently a contest on eBay to vote for your favorite charity and according to Sea Shepherd they won a $15,000 grant to continue piracy operations. Also it was reported that 'Wats-his-name' is busy shopping in Friday Harbor,WA where he has a home. Since he is under an INTERPOL Blue Notice it is hard to understand how he can travel around the world at will - but that's how it is.

Secondly Peter Bethune who faced fifteen (15) years for piracy in Japan was sentenced to two (2) years due to the decency and understanding of the Japanese prosecutors, who decide the sentencing under Japanese Law. Due to further understanding by the Japanese Court judicial panel of three judges the sentence was suspended for five (5) years and Bethune will be deported back to New Zealand on July 09, 2010. One can read the long ranting report of the SSCS Press Release but NAUTICAL LOG is not going to publish any of it.

So now we can look forward to more ramming and violence in the 2010-2011 whaling season and one fears the inevitable death of a seafarer in these ships. Then we shall have the usually outpouring of pompous statements, hysterics, flowers, and teddy bears that these occasions bring on. We seem to be living in a highly irresponsible world.

Good Watch

Saturday, July 3, 2010


LE Aisling P23 at Irish Naval Service Base Haulbowline, Co. Cork.

From my birthplace Waterford, Ireland comes news this morning that a local seafarer has been elected President of the Nautical Institute. Captain James Robinson, DSM FNI Irish Navy. CAPT. Robinson, recently retired from the Irish Navy, was elected at the Institutes Annual General Meeting held at Ringaskiddy, Co. Cork and will serve a two year term. He is the first non-British President of the Nautical Institute.

CAPT. Robinson retired as Officer Commanding Naval Operations Command and Second in Command of the Naval Service. Born in Waterford and reared at Rockenham, Ferrybank he has been a mariner for 42 years of which 36 was in the Irish Navy. Six years was spent in Irish Shipping Ltd. as Cadet, Third Officer and Second Officer. He was commissioned into the Irish Navy in 1973.

In 1985 while in command of LE Aisling he was the On-Scene-Commander for the first 18 hours after the crash of Air India 182; for which service he was awarded the DSM.

Good Watch.

Friday, July 2, 2010


Well fellow seafarers here we go again, more law for us to try and figure out, apply and follow. A Bill that requires cruise ships to report alleged crimes and increase security awaits the United States President's signature. The United States Senate has passed the Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act. It already passed in the U.S. House last year by a vote of 416-4.

Frankly it seems to NAUTICAL LOG, who spent two decades as an officer in passenger ships that Big Brother is now watching every move. Serving in passenger ships is now like living in London, England with thousands of cameras watching one constantly. The new Act requires peepholes in cabin doors, rails no lower than 42 inches and information packets on how to report crimes are some of the changes that commercial cruise passengers can expect to see after this legislation takes effect. New ships built after the legislation's passage must be equipped with time sensitive security technology - you know just like every United States city, town and village has. What do you mean our town does not have any of that stuff? Of course it does not because the ACLU and other organisations would go crazy at this flagrant abuse of power and the United States 'Bill of Rights'. However once they go on cruise ships U.S. passengers seem not only willing but demand that Congress have them give up their freedoms.

The authors of this Bill are Rep. Doris Matsui, D-California, and Sen. John Kerry, D-Massachusetts and it applies to all ships that dock in U.S. Ports. Vessels must also keep a log of incidents and contact the nearest FBI field office "as soon as possible" after a homicide, kidnapping, assault or disappearance of a U.S. national is reported.

The legislation originated from a letter sent to Rep. Matsui by one of her constituents, Laurie Dishman, who has gone public with her story before U.S. Congress and International Cruise Victims. While the Bill has a certain merit it stems from a bundling of incidents on many different ships, of many different companies and of many different Flag States. The total of these incidents is relatively small when compared to similar incidents in any U.S. city, town or village which could not pass a similar law by 'bundling' many towns statistics in the manner that this Bill has done for cruise ships. Recently a Federal Judge overruled the Government when they bundled oil rigs in this very same manner and ordered drilling to resume. This argument would seem to have merit in being applied to the cruise ships. NAUTICAL LOG just feels that there is a strong element of discrimination against seafarers and cruise ship crewmembers in particular. Perhaps there will be international legal challenges to clarify the Bill's legality by the various Flag States that register passenger vessels.

Good Watch.

Thursday, July 1, 2010


Well it took at few weeks but the pirates are now making plans to operate in the Gulf of Mexico. In the NAUTICAL LOG Press Release folder comes notice that the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is trying to cash in on the BP oil spill. They are advertising that they are going to "train" volunteers in Hazmat and Hazwoper duties to work on the BP oil spill. NAUTICAL LOG has both trained in at Texas A&M and instructed in these duties when OPA 90 came into law. It is quite specialized training which must be conducted by qualified government authorized trainers. One doubts if SSCS has that in place and if you go along with their latest con you may find that both time and money has been wasted. Of course in the same SSCS Press Release is a begging logo for that money, this is called the OCEAN RESCUE FUND. The money will of course go for the upkeep of 'Wats-his-names' lifestyle as usual. It is your money to do with as you want, just don't waste time crying over spilt milk, or perhaps spilt oil, after you figure you've been conned.

Also remember Paul Franklin Watson is under INTERPOL Blue Notice so you could be aiding and abetting a fugitive if you give funding to his scams.

Good Watch.