Tuesday, September 28, 2010


The following "M" Notices are now available at www.mcga.gov.uk/ If you have any difficulties contact 023 8032 9391 for assistance.


MGN 419 (M+F) Marine Flares disposal.

MGN 420 (M) Piracy defence.

MGN 422 (M) Overside work.

Good Watch.


UPDATE: October 01, 2010.

See the reports in the world news media of law enforcement and the President of Ecuador being held "hostage" by police.

In the NAUTICAL LOG Press Release folder this morning came news of new laws passed in Ecuador. The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, World Wildlife Fund and Conservation International presented to PROJUSTICIA a unit of the Ministry of Justice of Ecuador a legal brief justifying the need to create a 'Rights of Nature' for the Galapagos Islands of Ecuador.

In 2008 Ecuador became the first country to recognize nature as a subject of rights. The Constitution of the Republic of Ecuador recognizes the rights of nature to be respected and restored. In 2009 the 'Organic Code of the Judicial Function' was created. This provides for the creation of special judiciaries to address claims of violation of the rights of nature. The Law authorizes its establishment by the Consejo de la Judicatura, the country's Judicial Council.

en Espanol;
En al ano 2008, Ecuador se convirtio en al primer pais del mundo en reconocer la calidad de sujeto de derechos a la naturaleza En al ano 2009 entro en vigencia el 'Codigo Organico de la Funcion Judicial' que, de manera especifica, preve la creacion de judicaturas especiales para conocur reclamaciones por violacion de los derechos de la naturaleza.

Now this is no doubt all very noble, exemplary Laws have been put in place already in Ecuador and further proposed by the conservation groups. What remains to be seen however is its enforcement on an equal basis. Usually in countries such as Ecuador the application and enforcement of the Law depends on ones social status. By that NAUTICAL LOG means the higher up the social scale in the country that one is the less the National Laws seem to apply.

Hopefully Ecuador will now apply all Law equally to all persons concerned regardless of social status or position and set an example not just in Conservation Law but all National Laws.

Good Watch.

Monday, September 27, 2010

ROSE, 1910 - 2010

Today came news that the actress Gloria Stewart had died at age of 100. This is the lady who played 'Rose' in her final years in Cameron's 1997 movie Titanic. It is perhaps fitting at this time of, once again, controversy about the events of that tragic night. Of all the people involved with the making of that film she was the only one actually alive at the time of Titanic's sinking.

Good Watch.

Thursday, September 23, 2010


This year World Maritime Day is being celebrated on September 23, 2010 at the International Maritime Organization Headquarters (IMO HQ) in London, England. In many countries around the world there is similar recognition of Seafarers - and well deserved it is.

What is World Maritime Day? It is the day the United Nations (UN) through the IMO celebrates our industry's contribution towards the world's economy especially shipping. The event's date varies from year to year and differs by country but it is always celebrated during the last week of September. For us Navigators this year has a magnificent harvest full moon with Jupiter just below in the Southeast quadrant. Last night here in Miami-Dade County Florida it was spectacular, clear sky with just some patchy clouds.

This is also the 'Year of the Seafarer' and World Maritime Day focuses on shipping safety, maritime security, marine environment and the work of the IMO. There will be remembrance events for those of us lost at sea in London, England and events in Australia, Canada, and the United States. As it happens NAUTICAL LOG has served in the Merchant Service of each of those countries so the flag is flying outside the house and this is a thoughtful day of a 50 year, 1953-2003, career at sea.

Good Watch.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


Barn Owl - not 'Oasis' however

With the present design of cruise ships more like amusement parks than sea-going vessels it was bound to happen. In "The Miami Herald" there was a report this morning of a stowaway aboard the MS Oasis of the Seas at Port Everglades, FL. However instead of calling ICE as is usually done they called FWC - yes the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission.

The stowaway was a barn owl, a protected species in Florida, which had established her territory on the ships golf course - very clearly established it too. Unfortunately the turf is artifical material laid on a solid deck and she could not excavate a burrow. Two officers Mr. Bingham from FWC and Mr. Rudolph from BSO 'worked the case' spenting some thirty minutes before she was captured via a butterfly net. Barn Owl 'Oasis' was then escorted to Markham Park, Broward County where she was released without any charges being preferred.

Mr. Bingham reports that she "fixed me with the stare of death" clearly she was not too pleased. The MS Oasis of the Seas has a Central Park and lots of greenery so it is possible to see birds and butterflies aboard. In addition the vessel has some twenty restaurants so it is quite understandable that Ms. Oasis was more than a little pissed off at being removed.

Good Watch.

Sunday, September 19, 2010


Chuck and Dick West

From our Press Folder came news of CRUISE WEST which happens to be a part of the NAUTICAL LOG sea career history. On September 08, 2010 the Company stated it was pursuing a number of options with various parties to maintain operations, including investment, selling assets and selling the company. They suspended all new bookings and closed their reservation centre. On September 18, 2010, they ceased operations a Press Release titled Cruise West Ceases Operations stated in part;
"because of the recent dip in the markets and the continued lack of economic confidence, these options have not come to fruition".
It was signed by Dick West, Cruise West's Chairman and Managing Director, the full Release can be read online.

In the 1960's NAUTICAL LOG was living in Canada and was offered a position as Third Officer in the SS Glacier Queen operating from Vancouver, BC. She was under the Canadian Flag and sailed on eight day cruises from Vancouver, BC to Skagway, AK via the Inside Passage. Both the SS Glacier Queen and her sister ship SS Yukon Star where converted Royal Canadian Navy WW2 frigates. Back in 1947 Chuck West had formed Westours and offered Alaska cruises using three small ships operated by Union Steamship Company of Vancouver, Canada. NAUTICAL LOG had previously served as Third and Second Officer in Union Steamship Company of New Zealand. Chuck West was very successful and in 1958 bought the two ships mentioned above and formed Alaska Cruise Lines. Being once again successful in 1971 he sold out to Holland America Line (HAL), as things happen in seafaring NAUTICAL LOG later served in the MS Veendam/Monarch Star as a First Navigation Officer on Holland America/Westour Alaska cruises.

In 1973 Chuck West restarted in the tour business, bought ships and interests now operated as Cruise West the company which was passed on to Dick West. However things began to slip and slid somewhat and the Cruise West safety record suffered. In 2007 and 2008 there were four groundings. The Spirit of Columbia ran aground in Latouche Passage Prince William Sound on August 19, 2007. On November 08, 2007 the Spirit of Nantucket hit an object in the ICW near Virginia Beach, VA. During the 2008 season the Spirit of Alaska hit a rock in Tracy Arm on June 04, 2008. Then on July 07, 2008 the Spirit of Glacier Bay (formerly the Spirit of Nantucket) was cruising Tarr Inlet in Glacier Bay National Park when it grounded on a silt bar.

It is notable that all the incidents involved different ships in different areas which tended to indicate an overall operation and training problem which clearly needed to be addressed. In fact after this latest incident namely the silt bar grounding the United States Coast Guard (USCG) released a statement which stated that the Cruise West vessels were part of a programme designed to review the Cruise West safety procedures and maintenance records due to their recent incidents at sea.

So it would seem that perhaps there is a bit more to the demise of Cruise West than just the current economic situation. Chuck West, whom NAUTICAL LOG knew personally, successfully restarted several times so maybe Cruise West will rise like the phoenix.

Good Watch

Saturday, September 18, 2010


USCG Sentinel-class
which are based on the Netherlands Damen Stan-classUSCGC opened hull view
USCG Sentinel-class interior layout

USN Cyclone-class

In the NAUTICAL LOG Press Release folder comes news of Bollinger Shipyards in Lockport, LA. The United States Coast Guard has awarded a $166.1 million option to start production of four 'Sentinel-class' Fast Response Cutters (FRCs). This latest award brings a total of eight FRCs under production at Bollinger with a value of $410.7 million. The current FRC contract contains options for up to 34 cutters and is worth $1.5 billion if they are all exercised.

Recently the United States Navy limited operation of its 'Cyclone-class' coastal patrol boats stationed in Bahrain and Norfolk, VA. Any vessel operation would depend on sea state and speed restrictions. This was due to structural damage as the vessels reach the 15 year mark which is considered close to the operational limit. This is apparently not a design fault but usage issue and consists of corrosion and buckling. These vessels were also built at Bollinger Shipyards in the 1990's. Inspections are underway and a plan for necessary repairs would depend on inspection results.

As to the USCG vessels they will eventually replace the 110 foot 'Island-class' patrol boat. The FRC uses a proven in service design based on the Damen Stan 4708 patrol boat from the Netherlands. The Sentinel-class has a required flank speed of 28 knots and is armed with a remote-operated stabilized 25mm chain gun and four manned.50 caliber machine guns. For ease of handling in confined waters they will be fitted with a bow thruster. The USCG has plans to build 58 FRCs. The first of these 'Sentinel-class' FRCs is the USCGC Bernard C. Webber it and all future vessels will be named after enlisted USCG hero's. The USCGC Bernard C. Webber will be stationed here in Miami, USCG 7th. District, it is due to be delivered in the Spring of 2011.

Good Watch.

Friday, September 17, 2010


University of Greenwich, Kent/the former Royal Naval College on River Thames

This morning NAUTICAL LOG received information and a Press Release covering a project of the University of Greenwich, Kent, England, website (www2.gre.ac.uk/). Named SAFEGUARD it is a study of how passengers react to an emergency aboard ship.

The University Fire Safety Engineering Group is researching evacuation on three types of passenger vessels. The SAFEGUARD Partners are using Royal Caribbean International, Colorline and Minoan Lines to conduct their research

Here at NAUTICAL LOG we were most interested in the exercise conducted in RCCL's MS Jewel of the Seas. Having served as a Safety Officer in Florida based cruise ships for many years we have become increasingly concerned with their complexity.( see our Post 'BIGGER IS BETTER - NOT'). The vessels have become overblown floating amusement parks carrying thousands of passengers, now known as guests, in typical amusement park style. They are manned by hundreds of crewmembers of many nationalities speaking many different languages, though the shipboard language is supposed to be English. This is spoken at many levels of competence depending on education and daily usage. In an emergency nervousness and fear can greatly effect a persons communication skills particularly if one is not using ones native language. How to arrange effective communication and evacuate all these people in an emergency is a nightmare for the Safety Officer and his/her Staff. The crew training alone is clearly very complex, costly and in spite of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) setting international standards, varies in competence from country to country. The reaction of so many different cultures responding to the shipboard emergency and performing their duties is frankly an unknown parameter in developing the vessels 'Evacuation Plan'.

With this background NAUTICAL LOG believes that the SAFEGUARD Project is long overdue and is greatly relieved that the three year study is underway. So how was it done?

Passengers response times to the alarm were measured by one hundred video cameras specially positioned by the Project Team. Passengers wore infra-red tracking tags throughout the exercise. These allowed the researchers to locate each person's exact movements and reconstruct the path's they took to the assembly points on board. The passengers had been told 24 hours ahead of time that the exercise would be conducted but not the exact time. So unlike the standard pre-departure required drill an unknown element of surprise was introduced. In addition to cameras and tags passenger questionnaires were filled in by the passengers.

Overall the exercise took nine months of planning and will take six months of assessment to obtain the results. This in itself should give Shipowners some serious thoughts about what it takes to develop and achieve passenger ship safety. The planning paid off as nearly all the passengers wore their tags and cooperated with the assembly drill, of course those who did not are themselves a useful percentage indication of how many 'problem' passengers their will be in any passenger vessel on any voyage. In conclusion NAUTICAL LOG would like to congratuate the SAFEGUARD Project Team and thank them for their most valuable contribution to 'Safety of Life at Sea' - well done.

Good Watch.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


Once again Broward County Florida was in the news this morning. The incident can act as a reminder that all boat captains and particularly charter boat captains should know the Maritime Laws.

Many seafarers including NAUTICAL LOG wish to be buried at sea. Broward County homicide detectives (BSO) went into action when a body was found floating off Fort Lauderdale, FL. When everything had been investigated it turned out to be a 'burial-at-sea' improperly performed. The remains had been taken out in a chartered boat, MY Mary B III, by the family. The chartered boat captain should have been familiar with the maritime law that applies to 'burial-at-sea' prior to accepting such a charter. Broward County detectives (BSO) are conferring with the USCG before reaching any conclusion on whether any burial laws were violated.

We shall not deal with the religious burial issues here. Firstly it is legal to bury a body at sea, secondly the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved procedure must be followed. Human remains that are not cremated must be buried at least three (3) nautical miles from land. The water depth must be at least 600 feet deep, that is beyond the 100 fathom line. The body must be so weighed as to sink to the bottom "rapidly and permanently". The Naval weight used to execute this was two cannonballs sewn into the body's canvas shroud. Finally the EPA must be notified within 30 days of a 'burial-at-sea'.

In order that the burial is carried out properly and correctly in Maritime Law NAUTICAL LOG suggests using the services of a Maritime Funeral Provider. There are several in business, these can be found on the Internet along with some special burial sites. For those of you living in Europe the Societe Nationale de Sauvetage en Mer (SNSM) of France will perform 'burial-at-sea' when requested. There is no required fee however it is customary to make a contribution to the SNSM in return.

Good Watch.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


In the State of Florida new boating restrictions have been proposed. In order to protect the manatees boaters in Broward County will have to slow down. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) proposed the restrictions in July 2010 in the first review of the County's manatee protection zones in 17 years. A committee of Broward boaters and environmentalists reviewed the State's proposals and issued a report in August 2010 which agreed with most of them.

The 10 member committee which acts as an advisory board seconded the State's proposed requirement for seven-day-a-week speed reduction zones on the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW) during the winter months rather than the current week-end only restrictions. It also supported increased restrictions on the Hillsboro Canal.

There is public support for speed restrictions on the ICW and not to eliminate the current Summer restrictions. As to the Boating Industry the usual split decision, just as there is for Compulsory Licensing, about all this.

In the State of Florida Broward County is one of the most important counties for manatees. During deliberations, which included 12 meetings and a public hearing, the largest number of public comments were from those supporting the restrictions. These were often from homeowners along the ICW and other waterways who are tired of engine noise, speeding and seeing at risk manatees injured or killed. There have also been some very bad accidents over the years resulting in injuries and deaths to humans.

NAUTICAL LOG thinks it is strange that the Boating Industry is so reluctant to accept the planned slow down zones just as it is reluctant to accept Compulsory Licensing. Most of the manatees one sees are scarred by propeller blades and it is surprising to NAUTICAL LOG that the FWC
www.myfwc.com has not proposed propeller guards - surely these would help greatly at any speed.

Good Watch.

Saturday, September 11, 2010


Following "M" Notices have been issued and can be downloaded from www.mcga.gov.uk/ The Administrator's number is 023 8032 9391 in case of any difficulty.

MIN 394 (M+F)
MGN 214 (M)
MGN 417 (M+F)
MGN 418 (M)

Good Watch.

Thursday, September 9, 2010


Unlike the other Posts in NAUTICAL LOG this Post is an opinion written in the 'first person'. It is subject to all Copyright Laws and may not be quoted or republished in any form without written permission of the author. However short sentences may be used in any 'comment' sent to NAUTICAL LOG.

NAUTICAL LOG is a Blog that as it says in the heading is about Nautical things in particular and Life in general. Sometimes however an event occurs which so effects our lives that one feels moved to write and in the first person - such was 9/11. On that dreadful morning in 2001 I was in the kitchen preparing my breakfast when I caught remarks from the Florida Room television. When I saw the picture I quickly got my hearing aid and breakfast forgotten sat down to watch. So it was that I saw the second plane impact the South Tower of the World Trade Center. All of us know only too well what happened next as the Twin Towers collapsed and it seemed all of Lower Manhattan was destroyed. Now we are amazed to find out that this happened nine years ago, where did the time go, being Americans we are already rebuilding but not without controversy. This is also what happens in a free society where we can express our feelings and opinions. However the point of this freedom is that we express our opinions in a responsible way and our actions should reflect that point.

Not being a religious person I try to respect all religions and their expression. I also try to respect the peoples of all ethnic and social groups and hopefully do so, most of the time anyway. They will have that respect until they themselves by their own actions show themselves undeserving of it. Being a student of history it seems to me that most of the world's troubles stem from religious beliefs held from an inflexible point of view. The religious conflicts and scandals have gone on for thousands of years. Focused currently on the three religions founded in the Middle East namely Judaism, Christianity and Islam they cause untold misery for millions of persons around the world.

It does not matter to me personally where any one of these religions builds one of its facilities, provided they follow the Laws that apply to its siting and construction. However the religion concerned would do well to consider, in a responsible way, any local opinions and objections, this being the expression of our United States Constitutional Freedoms.

So it is we come to something that has really pissed me off !! Here in my adopted home State of Florida there is a person being referred to as a 'pastor'. He it seems is planning to burn copies of the Koran/Quran the religious book of Islam on this Saturday 9/11/2010. What he hopes to demonstrate or gain from this act is a mystery to me other than portraying unbelievable ignorance. It might be well to point out to him that when I was a child in Europe the Nazis held similar book burnings and this led, as had happened before in history, to burning people an event known as the Shoah. This act will of course inflame Muslims worldwide, as indeed it should, and will put our United States at further considerable risk of violence. It should be remembered that just as not every Irish Catholic was or is an IRA terrorist not every Muslim was or is a member of the Taliban or an Al Qaeda terrorist. Also keep in mind the adage that 'one persons terrorist is another persons freedom fighter', dealing with situations from that point of view may actually help to find solutions. Just maybe we can learn to live together if not in 'peace and friendship' at least in toleration of one another - after all we have nowhere else to go to.

Good Watch

Friday, September 3, 2010


"Red Duster"
MN Blazer crest

Today September 03, 2010 in many parts of the world there are celebrations for Merchant Navy Day. Officially recognised in United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada memorial services are held for those lost at sea. Here in Coral Gables, FL it is just NAUTICAL LOG but no less are all the "lads" remembered particularly those that see the "Red Duster" keeps flying.

Today especially we wish all seafarers,

Good Watch.