Tuesday, August 31, 2010

HEADS UP

The Lennon 'Loo'

There are many names given to the 'facilities' around the world and quite a few designs. Known as the 'loo' in the United Kingdom, the 'john' in the United States, and the 'head' to seafarers. Last week saw the sale of one such piece of equipment in the United Kingdom. It belonged to John Lennon, of Beatles fame, and was expected to fetch a few hundred English pounds however it fetched 9,500 English pounds. They still use pounds in UK never having changed to the euro used by most EU countries. NAUTICAL LOG thought that was pretty extraordinary, until this morning when our attention was drawn to another nautical Blog, which shall remain nameless.

As a result of the lifestyle of the last few decades it has become required by many industries to have a counter-drug-use programme. Approved clinics are authorised to conduct drug tests prior too and during employment. The Maritime Industry of course requires these and has a programme of random drug testing. One gets a call and has to report by a certain time to the clinic for that random test.

To the complete amazement of NAUTICAL LOG one such visit has been recorded in a series of photographs taken it would seem with one of those phones with a built in camera. These have been published by the random drug 'testee' in his nautical Blog. NAUTICAL LOG has not been able to see an educational benefit from this Post one can only therefore presume that the towing business is slowing down and some 'shock advertising' was needed.

Thankfully only the clinics equipment and a staff member were shown in the published photos and the 'testee' had the good taste and wisdom to refrain from displaying his personal equipment. Thus the result is poor taste, perhaps, depending on ones perspective, in Posts and no pornographic images - thankfully. Toujours la politesse!!

Good Watch.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

EARLY WARNING SYSTEM

Washing-down the blood from the slaughter

Would you want your kids here?

UPDATE August 26, 2010.

Further data came in this mornings Press Release folder from the Sea Shepherds. The details are in the Sea Shepherds report from the Faeroe Islands. Above are two photos from that report - is this really the way to raise kids?

Once again NAUTICAL LOG finds itself in agreement with the Sea Shepherds; will wonders never cease? It goes to show that when things are done properly and in a non-violent manner opposites can be on the same page. NAUTICAL LOG would recommend the page to go to is the latest Press Release by Sea Shepherds with regard to the work being done to stop the obscene "The Grind" in the Faeroe Islands. Now if this can be achieved up there in the Danish Protectorate why not follow the same logic in the Southern Ocean and move the whales away from the whale hunters.

On the other side of the page and not in agreement, each season down there the situation has grown more violent. The Japanese whalers are fighting back hard with tactics similar, and indeed more effective, than the Sea Shepherds. It is inevitable that someone is going to get seriously hurt and most likely even killed. Whatever 'Wats-his-name' may say to raise funds a human life is not worth being lost in this manner. It was clear last season, from viewing the current "Whale Wars" that many of the crew felt the same way. The behaviour of the New Zealand firefighter towards both the other crewmembers and the mission itself was deplorable. Self-centered and disrespectful to the Command of the MY Bob Barker with the rest of the Kiwis thinking it was a huge joke, one wonders what sort of Fire Service New Zealand operates if this is an example of one of its staff.

After they transferred to the MY Steve Irwin for repatriation to New Zealand over half the crew of the MY Steve Irwin left the ship on arrival in Australia. Editing did not show the behaviour on board during that trip but NAUTICAL LOG has learned the atmosphere aboard could be described as "tense" which no doubt led to the crew departures. The behaviour of Bethune, who should not have been aboard in the first place, in the workshop causing a serious shipboard fire on the way back to the Southern Ocean illustrates the out of control lack of management of the vessel. Ships are commanded not managed by committee even in this 21st. Century with a volunteer crew. In fact the Command atmosphere is even more critical with a volunteer crew than with professional seaman who know their jobs and relationships.

Good Watch.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

PROTECTING THE PROTECTORATE

MY Golfo Azzurro
HDMS Triton F358



HDMS Thetis Class frigate

Thetis Class frigate Navigation Bridge

The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society (SSCS) really keeps one supplied with material. This morning the NAUTICAL LOG Press Release folder and various e-mails brought more news. For the last month the SSCS has had an undercover ship operating off the Faeroe Islands. Named the MS Golfo Azzuro she been engaged in "covert surveillance operations in the Danish Protectorate of the Faeroe Islands" as the SSCS Press Release states. It appears that in addition to having personnel ashore in the Islands they had the ship operating at sea through funding from the Brigitte Bardot Foundation. Yesterday they were exposed, boarded and searched by the Danish Police and are currently under escort by the Danish Navy. Denmark's Thetis Class frigate HDMS Triton F358 is assigned to monitor their actions as this vessel patrols Greenland and the Faeroe Islands.

It should be pointed out that the whale killing is in violation of the Berne Convention which Denmark has signed. As a signatory Denmark should prevent her Protectorate from hunting and killing whales. For whatever reason Denmark has chosen not to do so.

Good Watch.

Friday, August 13, 2010

DISTRACTED BOATING


For the second time in two days NAUTICAL LOG has received reports of electronics in the marine environment 'taking over'. In the last decades marine electronics have grown in capability and convenience however they have caused a new hazard. Now that just about everyone it would seem has a cellphone and as a result there has arisen the problem of inappropriate use. The NTSB has just commented on the use of cellphones when Chairwoman Debbie Hersman said:

"The use of wireless communication devices while operating vehicles in any mode of transportation poses an unacceptable distraction"

This remark resulted from USCG officers being involved in two particular collisions in which cellphones were a contributing factor. These occurred in San Diego,CA and Charleston,SC the San Diego crash resulted in one death and at Charleston there were six people treated for injuries. Here in Miami-Dade County,FL NAUTICAL LOG has observed on many occasions the USCG RHIB's travelling at high speed in Miami Harbor. This is most notable when the cruise ships are in at weekends. Driving an armed high speed craft while on 'port security watch' is definitely fun and a great temptation for showing off by young bosun's mates. Couple that with a cellphone call to that 'significant other' and one has an accident about to happen. Near misses are quite frequent and wake damage pretty much disregarded as one sees other boats bouncing around.

This is known to the USCG 7th. District as the cruise industry has on many occasions pointed it out. So what is being done ? Since the NTSB has no regulatory power they urged the USCG to tighten restrictions on cellphone use by its officers. They also asked the USCG to issue broad safety advisory to the entire maritime industry warning of risks from cellphone usage at inappropriate times when underway. In response on July 16, 2010 the USCG prohibited cellphone use by its boat operators and restricted their use by the other crewmembers.

In closing NAUTICAL LOG must point out that the NTSB has not ruled on what caused the accidents mentioned above but said crewmembers on each USCG boat were using cellphones. They added the USCG considers all crewmembers on small boats to be lookouts while the boats are underway.

Good Watch.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

CURRENT STATE OF THE ART


During the last decade of actual sea-going NAUTICAL LOG became concerned with the skill level of Junior Officers in Celestial Navigation. It most likely started when a Swedish 'Third Mate' joined with his guitar and hair dryer but no sextant. As it happened he had no OOW knowledge anyway and left as soon as NAUTICAL LOG could activate his open return ticket. So it was greatly interesting to read in OCEAN NAVIGATOR-online today an article by Mr. Gary LaPook of a passage made aboard the SV Royal Clipper as ad hoc celestial navigation teacher.

Having been trained in the methods of the British Merchant Navy NAUTICAL LOG worked out sights using Nories Nautical Tables and the full formula. This was because at that time, 1953-1966, the UK Board of Trade required the full calculation method in their 'Certificate of Competency' examinations and only Nories or Burtons Tables were permitted in the examination room. Once one was comfortable and confident we switched to the Sight Reduction Tables for Marine Navigation while at sea for our 'Days Work'. There were several sets of Tables published by both the UK Admiralty and in the US Hydrographic Office, Pub. 229 Volumes 1 to 6, NP 401 Volumes 1 to 6, H.O. 249 Volumes 1,2, Stars and H.O. 216. Until the advent and eventual take over of the various electronics we got around the world quite safely and accurately by the 'Intercept Method' and 'Marc St. Hilaire Method'.

Clearly however the Officers joining later in my career did not have the same level of comfort with these methods, they were electronic navigation officers. Even more disturbing to NAUTICAL LOG they did not use the time at sea to practice and develop a level of skill in celestial navigation.

Aboard the SV Royal Clipper passengers had an opportunity to learn and practice some basic celestial navigation skills. As Mr. LaPook points out at least one of the Ukrainian officers needed some training as well, something NAUTICAL LOG found considerably disturbing. To our mutual surprise, indeed amazement he had no idea what the H.O. 249 Sight Reduction Tables was used for even though the volumes were sitting on the Bridge bookshelf. Later in the voyage another officer at least had the foresight to ask Gary LaPook to teach him celestial navigation.
The SV Royal Clipper, SV Star Clipper and SV Star Flyer of the Star Clipper fleet do not call at any United States mainland, USVI or Puerto Rican port at present thus they never come under Port State status of the USCG. They have some of the most expensive rates for cruises in the industry. So NAUTICAL LOG believes there might be justifiable reason for passenger concern judging from the remarks of Gary LaPook's article in OCEAN NAVIGATOR-online. When one OOW does not know the use for H.O. 249 Sight Reduction Tables and another asks a passenger, which was the status aboard of Mr. LaPook, for instruction in celestial navigation and the Master has dead batteries in the calculator he says he uses for navigation there is clearly something seriously amiss.

As a former cruise ship officer NAUTICAL LOG would strongly suggest that this company, Star Clippers, 760 NW 107th. Ave. Suite 100, Miami FL 33172 info@starclippers.com or their Head Office at Star Clippers, Clipper Palace, 4 rue de la Turbie, 98000 Monaco info.monaco@starclippers.com who operate the SV Royal Clipper and the other two vessels, would be well advised, in accordance with IMO-STCW 95 to review and re-examine the training, competence and skill levels of their Masters and Deck Officers as OOW/Navigators. There is a lot more to being an OOW than just reading sail trim computers, and navigational electronics to know from them ones sailing condition and position within half a metre - apart from those dead batteries what if the damn fuze blows?

Good Watch.

Friday, August 6, 2010

TANKER TERRORISM


In the NAUTICAL LOG Press Release folder this morning comes a report from the United Arab Emirates that the attack on the MS M Star was terrorism. The tanker which was attacked last week in the Strait of Hormuz off Oman suffered its damage from a home-made explosive device. Two days ago a group working with al-Qaeda claimed responsibility. A statement signed by the Abdullah Azzam Brigades said one of its suicide bombers was responsible for the blast.

The report from a UAE Coastguard source states:
"An examination carried out by specialised teams had confirmed that the tanker had been the subject of a terrorist attack. UAE explosive experts who collected and examined samples found a dent on the starboard side above the waterline and remains of home-made explosives on the hull."

However Mitsui OSK the vessel owners said it could not confirm the report. Japanese Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada said his government were aware of the report but had not yet confirmed its details. We look for the final report.
Good Watch.

Monday, August 2, 2010

NLIN #22 U.S. COAST GUARD DAY



The United States Coast Guard was created by Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton on August 04, 1790 when he authorized the building of ten (10) revenue cutters. This week we shall celebrate United States Coast Guard Day on Wednesday - no they will NOT get a day off!!

In other news U.S. Coast Guard Sector Puget Sound has been established. On July 30, 2010 USCG Group Port Angeles, WA and USCG Sector Seattle, WA were combined and renamed USCG Sector Puget Sound. This brings operational control of all Coast Guard resources within Captain of the Port Puget Sound under one command. USCG Sector Puget Sound offices will be located in the CMDR. Raymond J. Evans Shore Operations Building, Pier 36, Seattle, WA. Useful telephones numbers are:

Emergency or Distress: 206- 217-6001
Communications Center: 206-217-6004
Non-emergency Business: 206-217-6002/6003
All VHF-FM and HF radio frequencies will now be monitored by USCG Sector Puget Sound.

Good Watch.