Saturday, October 30, 2010


STV Fryderyk Chopin

This year has seen several accidents, some fatal, in sail training vessels (STV). While it is an excellent way to teach people of all ages about ships and the sea it requires considerable planning. Just this week there have been two maritime incidents in the same general area namely the English Channel Approaches. First there was the FFV Athena which caught fire and the Master wisely evacuated the crew to survival craft keeping a small team aboard to fight the fire. The second incident was of much greater concern to the maritime community even thought things worked out well.

The UK Coastguard had to launch a rescue operation in response to a distress call from the Polish sail training ship STV Fryderyk Chopin which had lost one of its two masts in severe weather and was in danger of losing the second one. Ships in the area headed for her and helicopters were launched from bases in Cornwall and Devon. The ship was located about 100 nautical miles southwest of the Scilly Isles and had 47 people on board. So far so good one might say however of those 47 persons 36 were teenager cadets between 14 and 16 years of age - children at sea.

NAUTICAL LOG thinks this is beyond unwise with so many young persons on board it is irresponsible behaviour. Autumn storms are common in the area and the weather forecasts are superb both long range and short term. The operational planning of this training voyage leaves a lot to be desired and one wonders about a Master who proceeds with this type of voyage when the forecast is bad. With 14 to 16 year old cadets aboard there are plenty of places within the Baltic and southern North Sea to gain adequate sailing experience. In the event of poor weather there are plenty of ports and areas to seek shelter.

With the background of 60 years seafaring, including command experience, of which some 30 years involved training of both officers and crewmembers ashore and afloat, NAUTICAL LOG would suggest a complete overview of the Operational Command both afloat and ashore of those associated with the STV Fryderyk Chopin. There has been some very bad decision-making in this Passage Planning.
It is now understood that the vessel is under tow to a UK Port for assessment and possible repairs. There is a comment today from a CAPT. Jan Dobrogowski to OLD SALT BLOG, a highly respected maritime blog, that her Master is 100 years old and that the STV Fryderyk Chopin was on passage to the Caribbean. NAUTICAL LOG has asked that he comment here to explain and clarify this statement. If this is true it is extremely disturbing that 14 year old children are in his care, we should be thankful the voyage has ended as it has - safely in the United Kingdom.
Updating: CAPT. Dobrogowski did not comment to us but did to OLD SALT BLOG in which he stated that the Master was not 100 years old. His comment continued that if the ship had been dismasted in the Baltic or southern North Sea it would have been much more dangerous. Indeed no doubt, however if they had been in those areas they would not have suffered the dismasting from a Channel Approaches storm in the first place. NAUTICAL LOG would suggest his logic to be a little confused.

Good Watch.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


From our European Union correspondent came an article from the Avaaz Organisation while NAUTICAL LOG is not familiar with the organization the article was about whales. With our natural concern for whales and appalled that whaling is still practiced in several countries here are quotes from the article as sent by our correspondent. We have no way of knowing if the numbers given in the article are correct or even how they were counted.

"There are only 300 northern right whales left and 99% of the blue whales have been wiped out."

"Right now 193 governments are meeting in Japan to try and create a global agreement to create, fund and enforce protected areas covering 20% of our lands and seas by 2020."

Well there it is the meeting is in Japan, is this not rather ironic since the premier country violating the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary (SOWS) is Japan. Under the ridiculous premise that they are conducting 'research' the ICR Japanese whaling fleet is at this very time preparing for yet another season of whaling. With an attitude like this is it any wonder that the Sea Shepherds are so outraged that they resort to a strategy of violent action to prevent the annual slaughter and the violation of the SOWS. While NAUTICAL LOG continues to deplore this strategy and absolutely condemns its nautical thuggery we do in all honesty understand and those who give their support.
It is an absolute disgrace and shame on the nations of Australia and New Zealand that their Navy's are not patrolling the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary to keep everybody out unless they have an individual vessel permit from Australia and New Zealand.
By and large NAUTICAL LOG considers this meeting of little value and doubts if anything constructive will be obtained. Also the meeting organizers should have told Japan that it was quite unsuitable - shove it (as the candidate said to the Prez.) - to conduct such a meeting in the worlds premier whaling nation. Clearly the event is a political ploy - spin at its sordid highest level, shame on all involved!!

Good Watch.

Sunday, October 24, 2010


FPB Ocean Adventurer 7 underway flying flag of South Africa

After waiting for an exciting announcement on a glittering Hollywood evening it all went kind of flat. The Sea Shepherd Pirate Group (SSPG) at their soap opera "Night for the Oceans" event were supposedly going to introduce their latest 'Interceptor Ship' - did not happen. No Press Release (there may have been but it was later removed or so NAUTICAL LOG was told) bursting with the usual 'Wats-his-name' bombastic phraseology and no vessel. According to Ecorazzi, who attended the event, there is a vessel somewhere however as yet it is not quite paid for, named or found a Flag State. That latter should not be a problem as the Netherlands flag is given out freely without honour by the Dutch Government and they have already registered the other two SSPG ships MS Steve Irwin and MS Bob Barker. The begging - oh sorry fund raising - continues as 'Wats-his-name' tries to raise $1.5 million to pay for - possibly - the FPB "Ocean Adventurer 7" to use as an 'interceptor ship' against the dastardly Japanese Whaling Fleet. Sounds like a Star Trek episode and indeed the FPB "Ocean Adventurer 7" has been described as looking like a Klingon vessel.

So going into Wikipedia NAUTICAL LOG found some data about this vessel. She does look a bit more seaworthy than that DVV Ady Gil and could possibly survive the season down there in the Southern Ocean if they have some real seafarers aboard.

Good Watch.

Saturday, October 23, 2010


generic iPMS console

In a recent interview the Commanding Officer of HMS Astute, now facing Court Martial as a result of the grounding in Inner Sound, stated that the vessel was controlled by a Platform Management System (PMS). This is the latest in maritime automation and is the integration of human abilities with computer abilities. Generally known as an integrated Platform Management System (iPMS) it is fitted in many warships of different nations as well as merchant vessels and even a few mega-yachts. As can be seen from the photo above it consists of a console with indicators, screens, keyboards and a 'joystick'. One person manning a console can control these applications:

  • Power management

  • Propulsion control Ship systems automation

  • Ship system remote monitoring and control

  • Alarm system including Extension Alarm Panels

  • Damage management

  • Conning displays

  • Loading and Stability computer

  • CCTV camera system

  • Data logging

  • Provide training

  • Provide electronic mail

  • Distribute video

  • Manage ship's operative manning
  • Be user-friendly

Operating consoles are placed on the Bridge, in the Engine Control Room (ECR) and at various other locations as needed for a particular vessel. While the Bridge console would concentrate on navigational, communications, loading and stability, alarm systems, damage control and response, stores inventory, in a merchant ship cargo operations, in a warship combat related functions. The ECR console would concentrate on propulsion engines, gearboxes, propellers both fixed and variable pitch, power generators, power distribution, switchboards, fire pumps, heating, ventilation, air-conditioning, water and fuel monitoring, spare parts inventory, food preparation, laundry service and sanitary systems.

Good Watch.

Friday, October 22, 2010


UPDATE October 22, 2010: The HMS Astute was floated free by the evenings high tide with the help of three support vessels. Her stern had grounded on a shingle bank in the morning while she was transferring people ashore.

The word 'astute' means clever, cunning, or shrewd however these do not, it appears, apply to the Royal Navy submarine HMS Astute. This morning she ran aground off the Isle of Skye in Scotland. The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) was alerted to the incident at 0819 BST (British Summer Time) and announced "We have sent a coastguard tug to where the submarine ran aground on rocks at the Kyle of Lochalsh near the Skye bridge". Since the tide is rising at around 1800 BST it is possible the vessel can be removed then.

The Inner Sound area is well marked with navigational buoys and the sea around Skye and Raasay is used as a training area by the Royal Navy (RN). One would think that naval watchofficers and navigators should be quite familiar with it. While the Astute is still undergoing sea trials she was commissioned into the RN in August 2010, and was expected to enter service next year.

Her commanding officer CMDR. Andy Coles RN talked recently about Astute:

"We have a brand new method of controlling the submarine, which is by platform management system, rather than the old conventional way of doing everything of using your hands. This is all fly-by-wire technology including only an auto pilot rather than a steering column."

The British Government is planning huge reductions in its Armed Forces and new buildings of the Royal Navy will go into mothballs or put up for sale. NAUTICAL LOG does not think they planned to lay up fleet units by this method. According to our friends at OLD SALT BLOG the RN is now the size of Henry the Eight's fleet - he had as many wifes as ships !!

Good Watch.

Thursday, October 21, 2010


A generic Corvette-sized Ocean Patrol Vessel
A generic Corvette-sized Ocean Patrol Vessel

A couple of weeks ago NAUTICAL LOG received some information that frankly we thought was a bit far out in left field. This being the time of the year when we hear of preparations for the coming whaling season in Southern waters on both sides of the issue. Then came some other announcements from Sea Shepherds that their anti-whaling patrol vessel MS Bob Barker had completed a major refit in Hobart, Tasmania. Also that there would be a Hollywood event October 23, 2010 to announce their new Darth Vader 2 "interceptor craft". While there has been no Press Release to date about the MS Steve Irwin she is due soon to voyage from the Mediterranean to the Southern seas once again. So where does all this leave the Japanese and what can they do to protect themselves. We turned to that information received to see what could be put together.

According to the data there is an organization named Oceans Guardians, they offer private maritime security to protect vessels from piracy and defend against terrorists. It appears they have acquired three vessels which are described as "Ocean Guard Vessels, corvette sized ocean patrol vessels with fast response capability". Named OGV Defender, OGV Protector, OGV Preserver they are available by charter agreement for unit or fleet protection. While the data was rather vague we did manage to get an answer on whether the vessels are armed. NAUTICAL LOG was informed that suitable modules could quickly be loaded aboard in preassigned positions similar to the procedure used for the armed merchant vessels and famous Q-ships of World Wars 1 & 2.

So something is available to the Institute for Cetacean Research (ICR) that operates the Japanese Whaling Fleet (JWF). The problem that the ICR has is Japan's Constitution does not allow its Armed Forces to engage other than in defensive mode. This is why the Japan Armed Forces are always described as 'Self-Defence Force'. How this applies to the Japan Coastguard is a little vague under both Japan National and International Law. The last two seasons one of the JWF vessels was operated by the civilian whaling crew but had a Japan Coastguard armed team on board. There was considerable discomfort in many circles in Japan about this being done. Now it appears a possible solution has emerged by the hiring of non-Japanese private maritime security and the chartering of their OGV's.

So silly season - maybe not.

Good Watch.


Yangtze River delta

News has reached NAUTICAL LOG by several sources of a collision between the Costa Cruises MS Costa Classica passenger ship and the Belgian Flag State MS Lowlands Longevity a bulk carrier. The damage to the passenger ship is along the starboard side well above the waterline.

It appears both vessels were in the deep water channel of the Yangtze River and both were in bound. According to the Shanghai Maritime Safety Bureau (SMSB) "liner lost control due to a power glitch". This is the sort of statement made when too deep an investigation would lead to possible embarrassment to the local authorities. NAUTICAL LOG surmises that the pilots were aboard each vessel and this is, once again, a case of things going wrong when Master is in Command and Pilot is advising the Bridge Team.

NAUTICAL LOG suspects that the 'liner' was overtaking the bulk carrier, got too close alongside and the vessels were 'sucked' together by water displacement causing the impact damage. The SMSB remark saves face for the Shanghai Pilots involved - so important in Asia.

Good Watch.

Sunday, October 17, 2010


This week NAUTICAL LOG was asked a question about correcting GPS readings prior to plotting a position on the chart. Apparently what triggered the question was a post in another maritime themed blog about a ship that ran aground because of a GPS reading. Well NAUTICAL LOG did the research and found that the post was a copy from a MARINE LINK article. What caught our eye however was the comment to the post, we quote:
"I assume that the corrections they are referring to are related to the chart vs the GPS horizontal datum. Is that correct?"

Now NAUTICAL LOG thought it was an excellent question, worth further research and comment, so from MARINE LINK here is what happened. During a coastal passage a containership ran aground after the Watchofficer (OOW) altered course about half a mile before he reached the intended alter course position. An investigation suggested that the OOW was reading GPS alone to plot positions and was not aware that a correction needed to be applied to the readings prior to plotting on the chart. The investigation suggested that a "more detailed passage plan would have alerted the inexperienced officer to the danger and required him to cross-check his position by more than one method". All NAUTICAL LOG can say is - possibly - however a properly trained OOW is taught to confirm the position by at least two methods. On a coastal passage a bearing and range is quick and accurate, the range can be from radar or a sextant angle - remember those - which leads to a whole other question of how many ships even have a sextant on board these days. Certainly one does not see officers carrying their own anymore and few ships, including passenger ships, have one supplied as part of the Bridge navigational equipment.

Anyway the investigation went on to say that seafarers must be aware that on many charts still in use a correction has to be applied to satellite-derived positions before that position is plotted on the chart. To comply with current regulations all this data should be entered up in the Passage Plan and OOW's be made aware of the corrections. So in answer to that comment which started all this - correct the charts and correct the GPS - correctly !!

GPS Error Correction

The Pennsylvania State University has done work on the causes of GPS error. The sources of error includes the clocks in satellites and receivers, the atmosphere, satellite orbits, and reflective surfaces near the receiver. The arrangement of the satellites in the sky can also increase 'dilution of precision'. Many of these errors are correctable within the equipment however navigators should be aware of a correction needed to correct readings prior to plotting.

Good Watch.

Friday, October 15, 2010


"Water, Water everywhere
And all aboard did shrink
Water, water everywhere
Nor any drop to drink"
from "The Rime of the Ancyent Marinere" (1797-98)

Today is International Blog Action Day 2010 and the theme is to write about water, not just any water but clean water around the world. For seafarers we are on the water all the time but it is sea water (NaCl+H2O) and so we need places to obtain fresh water (H2O). For thousands of years this was always the seafarers problem how to obtain and then carry clean fresh water for sea voyages particularly the long sea voyages of the world explorers. Then reverse osmosis was discovered at the University of Florida in the 1950's and basically the problem was solved. Now all that sea water could be purified into drinkable fresh water (FW).

Reverse osmosis is the method of forcing solvent from liquids using a suitable membrane. Just about all over the world drinking water purification systems include a reverse osmosis step. On board ship the sea water is pumped through the reverse osmosis system and pumped out as usable fresh water to be stored in the FW tanks. So the old problem of obtaining and using FW at sea is solved, with the system operating continuously the FW is used and replaced.

The system consists of :
  • a series of sediment filters
  • an activated carbon filter
  • a reverse osmosis filter, which is the membrane
  • a second carbon filter, to back up the membrane
  • an ultra-violet lamp for disinfecting any microbes

So there it is potable fresh water from the sea, not exactly free of course but always available. For a full explanation of 'Reverse Osmosis' and the words of "The Rime of the Ancyent Marinere" visit Wikipedia.

Good Watch.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


MT Mindoro

MS Jork Ranger (note bow damage)

' Aim for the name'

It is said things happen in 'threes' and there in the NAUTICAL LOG Press Release folder this morning was number three. A Greek tanker and a Cypriot container ship have collided 19 miles off Scheveningen, Holland. First reports are no injuries and since the tanker was loaded with kerosene any cargo that escaped has evaporated. The tanker Mindoro has a crew of 25, and the Cypriot Jork Ranger has a crew of 12. Perhaps they should rename it Jerk Ranger as from the photo she hit the tanker on the tankers port side forward. This was clearly a crossing situation under Rule #15 of the International Rules of the Road. Rule #15 is straightforward, clear and it states:

"When two power-driven vessels are crossing so as to involve risk of collision, the vessel which has the other on her own starboard side shall keep out of the way and shall, if the circumstances of the case admit, avoid crossing ahead of the other vessel".

Looking at this incident from the perspective of over 60 years as a seafarer NAUTICAL LOG gets the sense that this last sentence of Rule #15 may have been violated. Looking further at this incident the Cypriot container ship also violated Rule #8 (a)

"Any action taken to avoid collision shall be taken in accordance with the Rules of this Part and shall, if the circumstances of the case admit, be positive, made in ample time and with due regard to the observance of good seamanship"

The Cypriot container ship is returning to the Port of Rotterdam with non-serious damage. The Greek tanker remains at sea with its cargo being pumped to another tanker, there remains risk of explosion from the kerosene.

For the AIS plot of this incident from its development to actual impact go to OLD SALT BLOG, (there is a direct link in 'My Blog List' or go to the 'YouTube' link), which clearly shows the lack of action by the Cypriot container ship, eventual action too little too late leading to impact. This will be a useful instruction tool for 'Rules of the Road' classes in nautical training facilities around the world. With three incidents in recent days two of which were caused by improper application of the 'Rules of the Road' it would seem additional time needs to be spent on the basics of Watchkeeping and acquiring the skills to be a truly qualified OOW.

Good Watch

Monday, October 11, 2010


The following M-Notices are now available on the website

MGN 423 (M) Dangerous spaces

MGN 424 (M) Safety on Dive Boats

MGN 425 (M) Sleeping on 'Dead Ships'

MGN 426 (M) Means of escape


MIN 399 (M) PBC2

If any difficulties contact the Administrator at 023 8032 9391

Good Watch

Sunday, October 10, 2010


Well seafarers and their 'guests' the International Maritime Organization (IMO) is at it again. Starting on August 01, 2011 all heavy fuel will be banned from Antarctica. So what does this mean? Most large ships including passenger ships use heavy fuel to steam on passage. They use lighter marine diesel oil (MDO) to manoeuvre in and out of ports then switch to a blend finally operating on the heavy fuel. Later they switch back to blend and finally operate on MDO to manoeuvre on arrival in the next port. Now with the ban to use and carry heavy fuel many large passenger ships are automatically banned from Antarctic cruises.

These larger ships are at present allowed to visit Antarctica but are not allowed to land passengers. The current limit is 100 passengers landing ashore at a time so landings are impractical for the larger ships that now carry hundreds or thousands of passengers. Smaller ships will still be able to make an Antarctic cruise, land 100 passengers but must carry and operate entirely on MDO. Larger ships could of course carry only and operate on MDO but would still not be allowed to land passengers. One of my former companies Holland America Line (HAL) is planning to do just that.

Good Watch.


New Flag State ensign

As of today 10/10/2010 there is a new country, new ship register and therefore new Flag State in the Caribbean. The islands of Curacao and Sint Maarten (an island shared with France) are independent countries under the above new national flag, their capital will be Willemstad, Curacao. Formerly several Dutch islands in the Caribbean where known as the Netherlands Antilles. Now Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba become part of the Netherlands directly as "municipalities".

Under the new status former Netherlands Antilles registered vessels will be transferred to the new Flag State and will fly the new ensign. All codes, treaties and governance responsibilities will be in the hands of the new country's Government. It seems likely that this could become a popular new Flag State rather like the Marshall Islands.

Good Watch.

Saturday, October 9, 2010


MS Lisco Gloria

For the second time in two days there has been a maritime incident in Europe, first an overtaking collision off Ushant, Brittany, second this fire in Western Baltic Sea. As can be seen from the photos supplied by the German maritime authorities the davits are swung outboard indicating rescue craft were launched. It appears all 250 (approximately) persons on board were saved, 21 are reported injured none seriously. The cause of the fire was an "upper deck explosion" source at this time is not known. The ferry was en route from Kiel, Germany to Klaipeda, Lithuania.

Good Watch

Thursday, October 7, 2010


WOW Look out Japanese whalers

Sea Shepherdess Michelle Rodriguez
UPDATE: Relax Japan no Sea Shepherdess after all!! MR has dropped out on plans to join the SSPG for the 2010-2011 is anyone really surprised by this news in early November 2010.
The NAUTICAL LOG Press Release folder brought news of open disagreement between members of the Sea Shepherds. Usually 'Wats-his-name' claims that they are one big happy family dedicated to saving whales or whatever is the current object of their affection. In fact a great deal is known about the real situations and conflicts aboard their vessels. In the years before and continuing since the "Whale Wars" film crew were on board, each season as had at least one crew member who in reality is a maritime intelligence operative. Of course 'Wats-his-name' denies this completely and claims crew members are vetted and it would be impossible to place such a person on board. In fact nothing is easier with such an organization because they are dazzled by an apparently loyal, hard-working, willing crew member at no cost to them. For any intelligence organization creating a 'legend' and placing an operative in such organizations is done on a regular basis. One such operative has been in place for several years and 'Wats-his-name' would be astonished, NAUTICAL LOG believes, if that person was ever revealed. Usually there is a second seasonal operative also in place and they most certainly do not know about each other. The exception was the DVV Ady Gil as Bethune is as 'Wats-his-name' described him a 'cowboy' and it was thought that he would end up destroying himself - which worked out as estimated.

So it was that while the general public may have been surprised those in the know have been expecting an outburst from Peter Bethune of the DVV Ady Gil since his vessel sank during that unmitigated disaster of last seasons operation in the Southern Ocean. On his return from Japan Bethune has had several such outbursts which rant against the NZ Prime Minister, Sea Shepherds and life in general. A few years in a Japanese prison might actually have helped him curb a permanently angry personality prone to violent behaviour. We have seen this in the videos of "Whale Wars" and the rude discourteous behaviour of the New Zealand crew from Ady Gil towards the Master and crew of the MS Bob Barker, which Bethune seemed to think this was a huge joke, in spite of having been rescued by them. Later they transferred to the MS Steve Irwin and by the time that vessel arrived in Australia half the crew had announced their departure from the vessel. One operatives report stated that during the passage the atmosphere was extremely tense.

For whatever reason 'Wats-his-name' allowed Bethune to return with him in MS Steve Irwin and we know what happened from "Whale Wars", the resulting arrest and trial of Bethune in Japan. Both the Sea Shepherd Press Release and todays coverage in OLD SALT BLOG lay out the 'he said, he said whatever' and NAUTICAL LOG will not repeat it all here again. One suspects the real reason is money, due to the violent nature of the action the DVV Ady Gil was involved in no Marine Insurance claim is viable. No doubt Bethune's legal people have suggested his public separation from the Sea Shepherds thus preparing the way to sue them for compensation for the vessel loss.

Regardless of the true circumstances of the vessel sinking it was in fact an act of good seamanship. The vessel was a derelict as a result of the collision and after efforts to limit pollution effects the vessel sank. Efforts to tow it - where? - were clearly unsuccessful due to the nature of that damage.

So one moves on to the next stage in the Sea Shepherd saga and one admits that 'Wats-his-name' who looked really a very sick person in "Whale Wars" last season seems to be rejuvenated. His latest Hollywood addition is Michelle Rodriguez who was in Avatar and Machete, and lets be honest she would rejuvenate anyone. Ms. Rodriguez whom NAUTICAL LOG remembers from filming 'Lost' in Hawai'i had her run-ins with the HPD for partying a little too much even by the very liberal Oahu, Hawai'i standards. She wants to be a crew member in Operation No Compromise 2010-2011, one wonders if she will last longer than that other Hollywood addition Daryl Hannah who joined in Brisbane and lasted on board only a week. After his training with trying to control Bethune maybe 'Wats-his-name' will try to manage this Latina spitfire - good luck mate!!
Complete transcripts can be read at

Good Watch

Saturday, October 2, 2010


This morning NAUTICAL LOG received an e-mail from the Master of the Spanish Hospital ship which was much appreciated. We have posted it with the other comments on our original Post regarding the rescue of Mr. Bennetts. CAPT. Javier de la Andres was on vacation from the ship when Mr. Bennetts was rescued, however on his return he has taken the time to write us. Best regards to the Master, crew and medical staff of SSAM Juan de la Cosa and

Good Watch.