Tuesday, November 30, 2010


Continuing our series about the maritime Rules of the Road we turn now to Fishing Vessels. Fishing vessels get considerable consideration in the Rules, some of it may be outdated and not protect fishing vessels as was originally intended. Currently Rules 3, 10, 18, 26 and 35 all apply to vessels engaged in fishing. In Part 2 NAUTICAL LOG addressed how Rule 35 applies to vessels engaged in fishing so now lets have a look at the remaining Rules one by one.

Rule 3 (d) defines the term "vessels engaged in fishing" and divides them according to the fishing apparatus in use and how it restricts their maneuverability. It is suggested that this division be dropped and the fishing vessel is either fishing or not fishing.

Rule 10 (i) states that "A vessel engaged in fishing shall not to impede the passage of any vessel following a traffic lane". This could be changed to a prohibition of all fishing in traffic lanes. It could be expanded to create designated fishing areas and prohibit transit in those areas by non-fishing vessels. Similarly the traffic lanes could be expanded to cover all passage-making as 'Sea Lanes' between ports in littoral waters. This would separate all other vessels from the vessels engaged in fishing, a great advantage to all vessels in restricted visibility.
Rule 18 (c) states that "A vessel engaged in fishing when underway shall, so far as possible, keep out of the way of:
(i) a vessel not under command;
(ii) a vessel restricted in her ability to maneuver.
Perhaps the words "so far as possible" should be struck making it clear that the fishing vessel must keep clear and thus any doubt as to the fishing vessel action will be removed. A third (iii) subheading could then be added stating that fishing vessels must not "engage in fishing" in the Sea Lanes mentioned under the Rule 10 proposal above.
Rule 26, retain as is and remains unchanged. Rule 35 was the subject of Part 2 of this Series and is already covered.
We look forward to comments from serving seafarers particularly those in the fishing industry.
Good Watch

Monday, November 29, 2010


Continuing the question of whether the maritime Rules of the Road need a review and revision NAUTICAL LOG thinks Rule 19 should remain unchanged, however Rule 35 needs addressing.

This is the Rule that lays down the Sound Signals in Restricted Visibility which currently are dependent on how the vessel is employed. Does this employment really matter and could these signals be made more effective by simplification and supplementation by electronic visual signals. As was suggested in '1st. of a Series' is there a way to move from 18th. Century thinking to 21st. Century thinking. NAUTICAL LOG suggested that it was unlikely in very many modern vessels that someone was actually standing out on an open Bridge listening for possible fog signals. When we did this, many years ago, the person on look-out was often deafened by the blast of their own vessel's foghorn. Also in fog sound is distorted and there is no good way to assess the direction of any foghorn from another vessel that the look-out was lucky enough to hear. Many would probably agree that the look-out was really there to fulfill the legal obligations required by Rule 5 rather than effectively contribute to the prevention of collision, being wet and thoroughly miserable did not help. One may disagree of course and it would be interesting to hear just what it was thought this 'look-out' actually contributed.

Rule 35 Sound Signals in Restricted Visibility could NAUTICAL LOG believes be greatly simplified and supplemented by electronic signalling. It is therefore suggested that Rule 35 section (a), (b) and (c) be retained. Section (d) be discarded and these vessels use (a), (b), (c) as appropriate. Section (e) could be discarded and again (a), (b), (c) used as appropriate. Section (f) is superfluous, can be discarded with (a), (b), (c) being used as appropriate. In addition to sound much more important will be a radar transponder beacon which will signal on screen the particular vessels action or non-action and the AIS signal. By doing this one would have two independent electronic signals being displayed at the Bridge Console being fully and accurately monitored by the OOW.

Now lets address vessels at anchor and vessels at aground. NAUTICAL LOG would suggest that these Sections of Rule 35 namely (g) to (j-ii) are the most ignored and abused. Again it is suggested that this entire Section of Rule 35 be discarded. Instead each Port will set aside an anchorage area divided into a dangerous cargo anchorage and a non-dangerous cargo anchorage. Vessels anchored in the Area during restricted visibility will not sound fog signals just active their electronic beacons to confirm their position in the anchorage berth assigned by Port Control. Then instead of a cacophony of conflicting foghorns, bells, gongs and whistles, which nobody in the anchorage has any idea as to meaning, each vessel would be clearly and effectively marked. In the case of a vessel calling at a Port which has no anchorage area designated then that vessel must remain underway at sea or request an anchorage berth at a nearby Port which, under international maritime law, will be required to assign such a berth if one is available.

NAUTICAL LOG looks forward to your comments on this Series most particularly those of serving seafarers who face these problems daily.

Good Watch.


NAUTICAL LOG would like to pose the question, is it time for a review and revision of the maritime International Rules of the Road ?

Reference material used in writing this Post was "NAVIGATION RULES International - Inland COMDTINST M16672.2E" and "The Colregs Guide" by Klaas van Dokkum. Comments are based on personal experiences and reviews of recent maritime incidents.

The Rules of the Road have always tried to be all things to all seafarers in all vessels, from small craft to ocean-going ships on international voyages all were bound by the same set of Rules on how to signal and respond when meeting at sea. It has worked remarkably well and provided one knows and follows the Rules incidents are largely avoided. However with the ever increasing size of personal yachts, now known as megayachts, and the unbelievable size and design of the current cruise ships, container ships and ones building, are they becoming outdated.

Why should the size matter? Take a look at the photos above of a typical ships navigation Bridge in the 21st. Century. In the first one the Officer of the Watch (OOW) is observing the other crossing vessel while standing in front of a bank of electronic instrumentation, the Bridge Console. In the second photo that Bridge Console is viewed more closely plus the two comfortable airline pilot type seats to "stand" watch from. From this it is clear that the OOW's place is close to that instrumentation so that the Navigation Watch can be safely and properly conducted. Available to the OOW at the Bridge Console are details of navigation, the surrounding ocean by ARPA Radar that is the look-out and collision avoidance data, main engine and auxiliaries conditions, cargo conditions, weather data both local and long-range, all safety information with emergency response equipment activation, communications and the Automatic Identification System (AIS). This latter is required by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) in all vessels of 300 GT (gross tons) or more.
Clearly the OOW is a very busy person multitasking receiving and processing a large amount of data continuously. Also in many vessels, certainly passenger ships, there may be a Bridge monitoring system and a response timer which must be reset at regular intervals. In addition in recent decades the number of crewmembers in vessels has been reduced, some would say to dangerous levels, with the addition of regulations for mandatory rest periods doubling the watches is no longer a viable option.
All this is busy enough in decent weather in daylight, the workload clearly increases at nighttime and even more so in bad weather and fog. Now this is one of the points of concern to NAUTICAL LOG - passagemaking in fog. As the Rules stand today they state and require that the Watch shall under 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."
Now think about this International Maritime Organization how are you going to advise the Masters and Watchofficers to observe this Rule 5. Should they abandon the Bridge Console with its wealth of required information for safe navigation. Should they open the sealed air-conditioned Bridge and stand outside to listen for possible fog signals as required to be sounded by both their own ship and other vessels. In modern vessels this is not just impractical it is impossible because of the design of modern totally enclosed Bridges. Yet that is what is required by the Rules of the Road, 18th. Century thinking in the 21st. Century.
As this series continues NAUTICAL LOG will address other points of concern not least of which are the fog signals themselves.
NAUTICAL LOG looks forward to your comments most particularly serving seafarers who face these problems every day.
Good Watch.

Saturday, November 27, 2010


Who is happy to see 10,000 containers lost each year ?

The data for this Post came from one of our European correspondents who sent NAUTICAL LOG TT Talk Edition 136. It is from this article that we shall be quoting freely because frankly it is not something that we had addressed previously. Comments on the causes are based on the personal experience of NAUTICAL LOG serving as Chief Officer and Master in container ships.

In a recent European Parliament debate the number 10,000 containers lost each year was quoted. Surprisingly the shipping lines and the insurers seemed content to accept this figure and do nothing about it. While there are some questions by Insurers as to the validity of the number "lost" it is clear that containers go missing. The Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) suggested that shipping lines and insurers be held responsible for the after effect of non-chemical toxic releases into European waters. The reasons cited for lost containers involved poor stowage by those involved in loading and lashings released prior to entering port.

Another reason suggested during debate was that of containers being mis-declared that were overweight. Mis-declaration of the cargo mass is a serious problem and MEPs demanded that containers were weighted at the port prior to loading.

This caught the eye of NAUTICAL LOG because some years ago when Chief Officer of a container ship operating from three US ports and one Canadian port to eleven ports in West Africa there was a continual problem in one particular port. After discharge of empties and high value loaded containers from Zaire, West Africa we would commence next voyage loading. All usually went quite well in the US ports, however when we went to our Canadian port - Halifax - the problems began. It was clear that the Halifax containers were all overweight some to the point that the ships gear, which was used during cargo operations there, was under excessive strain. It was of course quite easy to work out a containers true weight from the stability calculations. Finally one voyage we, the Master, Chief Officer and Chief Engineer, had had enough and refused to load the cargo as offered. Of course all hell broke loose and the ship remained in port overnight. The end result was it was agreed that the containers were indeed excessively overloaded. They were stripped and restuffed to the correct weight causing an overall three day stay in port. For the remaining year of the contract we had no further problems with overloaded containers in the Port Of Halifax. One might note that during the entire two year contract we had no "lost" containers, which is no mean feat when running to West Africa !!

On January 01, 2011 the International Maritime Solid Bulk Cargoes Code (IMSBC Code) comes into force. This Code is the former Code of Safe Practice for Solid Bulk Cargoes (BC Code). The new Code is aligned with the International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code (IMDG Code) and will be similarly regularly revised.

Well it will be interesting to see how things go under this IMSBC Code and if the true number of "lost" containers can be more accurately tracked and decreases from that 10,000.

Good Watch.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


From our Press Release folder comes comment from the Sea Shepherds on the Maritime New Zealand (MNZ) Report, released on November 18, 2010, into the collision between the Japanese and New Zealand vessels in the Southern Ocean.

Following a revised Policy at NAUTICAL LOG we are listing the sources used to research and compile this Post. MNZ Report of November 18, 2010 summarized, and the Sea Shepherds Press Release of Tuesday, November 23, 2010. Additional comments are based on extensive seagoing experience, maritime accident investigation, and instructing in maritime law.

From the MNZ Report:

"The Director of MNZ, Catherine Taylor said its report into the collision between the New Zealand registered whaling protest vessel Andy Gil and the Japanese vessel Shonan Maru 2 on January 06, 2010 found no evidence that either vessel master had deliberately caused the collision. However both were responsible for contributing to and failing to respond to the "close quarters" situation that led to the incident."

Be that as it may NAUTICAL LOG cannot see how any reasonable person with just the minimum nautical knowledge can reach this conclusion. From the beginning we have always believed the Japanese Master rammed the Andy Gil because that vessel had been placed to cripple his vessel by deploying trailing lines to foul his propeller. We further believe the available videos show that action quite clearly.

"MNZ reiterates the Government's and the international maritime community's calls for all masters to take their responsibilities seriously and exercise appropriate restraint, particularly when operating in an environment as isolated and as unforgiving as the Southern Ocean, where access to any assistance is extremely limited. We also echo the International Maritime Organization's denouncement of any action that puts lives at risk and reaffirm the responsibility that all vessel masters have to ensure the safety of lives at sea."

One way or another a paragraph similar to this is found in just about every maritime accident report all over the world. It is the paragraph which is supposed to indicate what a fine job the maritime authorities are doing to protect the seafarers. In actual fact it is virtually totally meaningless. At no time has the Australian Government sent its Navy to detain either or both the Sea Shepherds and the Japanese. As for the New Zealand Government they were dragged kicking and screaming into investigating the incident at all and that only because they had too the Andy Gil being NZ Flag State.

"The report is the culmination of an extremely robust and through investigation, based on the facts and information made available, and we acknowledge all parties who came forward and assisted us."

This borders on the asinine because the entire Japanese personnel involved refused to be interviewed at all. NZ investigators were denied access by the Japanese Authorities. The entire Report is a piece of Government spin and from the beginning it was a foregone conclusion to being merely a Political Report. This report is therefore valueless to the seafaring community. It is doubtful that citing this case and its Political Report, in future maritime collision trials under Common Law, would be helpful to the parties involved.

As to the Sea Shepherds one can read in their press release to see what they think. However one point is worth quoting here as it is absolutely hilarious, particularly since the facts are recorded in those Whale Wars videos:

"Sea Shepherd Conservation Society was shocked and deeply saddened to discover that Captain Bethune was responsible to a significant degree for loss of his own vessel".

Where does one begin to comment on this piece of absolute nonsense, even by 'Wats-his-names' standards this is really deck sweepings.

Good Watch.


The following "M" Notices are now available at www.mcga.gov.uk/ if there are any difficulties contact the Administrator at 023 8023 9391

MSN 1826 (M) International Safety Management (ISM) Code Amendments

MGN 414 (F) Fishing Vessels - Domestic and Overseas Management Beyond European Waters

MGN 415 (F) Fishing Vessels: The Hazards Associated with Trawling, including Beam Trawling and Scallop Dredging

MIN (M+F) MARPOL - Amendments to Annex 1: Effect on the Oil Record Book Parts 1 & 2

MIN (M) Approved Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) Small Vessel Certifying Authorities

To our American readers Happy Thanksgiving and as always,

Good Watch

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


MS Herald of Free Enterprise

WSF Chetzemoka

A FINAL WORD: Sunday, November 21, 2010.

Between this Blog and comments in other maritime blogs we have pretty much discussed this vessel's issues fully. In fact we have beaten them to death!! The sad truth is that this is a politically operated ferry system to serve the public in the State of Washington. Being politicians they were able to convince another highly political federal agency, namely our USCG, to bend to their will. Nothing will be changed in this vessel and any further building will be done in the same way with the same results. The only possible change could be through the ballot box to replace those politicians and proceeding from there. So potential passengers may we suggest that prior to embarking you carefully check the current weather report. NAUTICAL LOG has been informed that the crossing is only 30 minutes and so doors are not an issue. We disagree and would refer you to the MS Herald of Free Enterprise ferry accident which occurred after leaving the Belgian port of Zeebrugge on March 06, 1987. Your research will show you the ferry was overwhelmed by flooding because the available car deck doors had not been closed correctly allowing water to enter. Wikipedia has that complete report of this incident in which 193 lives were lost. Please note the time frame that the entire incident took.

There has been criticism of some NAUTICAL LOG Posts and our comments to Posts in other Blogs. Please note that any 'speculation' is based entirely on both personal experience as a long time seafarer in many types of ships, sailing worldwide and actual incidents such as that mentioned above. Here at NAUTICAL LOG we fully intent to address maritime issues taking an activist role. This is particularly so when the issues put the safety of our fellow seafarers at risk. Not having to be concerned any more about renewing paperwork with government bodies such as the IMO, MCA or USCG due to our now full retirement we can call the issues as we see them (also known as kick-ass!!).

If any fellow seafarer as an issue they would like addressed by NAUTICAL LOG please feel free and confident in sending us a personal e-mail. Rest assured we would never betray your trust, as some of you already know, all information received is closely held.

Good Watch

Many years ago NAUTICAL LOG served in the Canadian Coastguard and was for a time stationed at Esquimalt, Vancouver Island. Between that service and many calls to SEATAC Ports we got to know the Washington State Ferry System (WSF). Strangely and regretfully now, we never made a trip in them, we always travelled in the BC Ferries. So it was that with all the whingeing, moaning, groaning and complaints in comments to Posts in various Blogs about both the system and the fleet we started to follow-up.

The latest addition to the fleet is the WSF Chetzemoka. The vessel looked a little odd and strange in photos that NAUTICAL LOG saw during building and trials. As it turned out from information and Posts in Blogs the vessel has a list which, so we understand is a 'permanent' list of maybe up to 5 degrees - open to correction on that. Still a list, alright so correct it by the ballast tanks or even some permanent ballast perhaps. Well now for some reason that NAUTICAL LOG does not quite understand this, apparently, cannot be done. Further study of the vessel showed that she has no closeable doors on her car deck openings. This is surely an IMO requirement for ocean-going ferries and at least a strong IMO recommendation for unsheltered open water ferries. The WSF Chetzemoka operates across Admiralty Inlet, San Juan Islands, State of Washington. It is a miserable body of open water at times and the vessels track is across unsheltered open water with prevailing weather, wind and sea right abeam. The vessel is required to be commanded by an Unlimited Master (Oceans/Inland ?) according to USCG Maritime Safety Office (MSO) SEATAC area. The United States system of qualifying maritime officers is very weird and confusing, even it seems to MSO, because the previous ferry on this route only required a 100 ton Master in command, again according to USCG MSO SEATAC. How all this is decided NAUTICAL LOG has not the slightest idea. Having spent half of a 50 year seagoing career in passenger vessels one would look for the highest trained, qualified and experienced officers available when transporting human lives - not the minimum - maybe WSF can explain this NAUTICAL LOG certainly cannot.

Now we come to the most amazing fact of all and the most puzzling, the USCG Stability Test. To qualify a vessel and most particularly a passenger vessel, its stability must be tested. Please tell me how a brand new vessel with a permanent uncorrectable list of whatever degrees can pass a plumb bob test when the vessel must start out lined up within 1/8th. inch of the zero of the graduated scale. One may research the Stability Test procedure. Start by reading up 46 CFR 171.030 for the US Law, then go to CG-4006 (REV. 7-94) the USCG form which shows everything, data to fill in, formulae, drawings and that plumb bob test procedure and standard required to pass. ASTM F 1321-92 (2008) will also be helpful in researching.

From the point of view of a now retired cruise line Safety Officer who has investigated numerous cases and conducted extensive training of passenger vessel crews, this is a maritime incident waiting to happen. One gets the rather sick feeling that politics has overruled basic common sense let alone the maritime safety requirements of the USCG itself. One hopes there never will be an incident but it does not look very good from the NAUTICAL LOG viewpoint.

Good Watch.


Those of you who read NAUTICAL LOG must think that we are obsessed with the Sea Shepherds and we fully admit they are interesting. It seems they always have something going to draw attention to themselves and it works. For the activist maritime Blogs such as NAUTICAL LOG they provide good copy - so here we go again.

In this mornings Press Release folder comes the announcement that the "The Countdown is On for Operation No Comprise" seems that title has been used before by the US Military but no matter. We quote from the PR:

"Final preparations are being made to launch our 7th. Antarctic Whale Defense Campaign, Operation No Compromise. In the first week of December our ships will depart from Tasmania bound for the frigid Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary and rugged desolate coast of Antarctica."

Wow! these guys can write dramatic copy, but it would seem this is not written in the bombastic style of Captain, now called Admiral we understand, 'Wats-his-name'. The PR continues:

"With three ships we will, once again, be able to track and intervene against the poachers in the Southern Ocean for the entire season."

Yes! indeed! really!! Do you mean like last season? When you Sea Shepherds got well and truly beaten up by the Japanese Whalers, one vessel sunk, one holed by collision and the "Admirals" command slinking away in the night to hide amongst those confused Aussies in Tasmania. And not to mention the Mad Kiwi - so we won't. Oh! and if you guys thought that was bad just wait and see what the Japanese Whaling Fleet has developed to counteract piracy this season. Now that you will not have that super-warrior sea shepherdess Michelle with you just remember you are on your own down there.

Soon NAUTICAL LOG will add the SSPG and ICR to our Link List for a one-stop to get all the latest information. In the meantime one can go to the SSPG "Operation No Compromise" website and get all the latest - whatever.
Oh! As to that promotion of 'Wats-his-name' the more correct title, since he is in overall command of three ships, is not Admiral its Commodore.

Good Watch

Friday, November 12, 2010


The following "M" Notices have been issued and may be obtained at www.mcga.gov.uk/ . If any difficulties contact 023 8032 9391 for assistance.

MGN 421 (M+F) Media using ships and fishing vessels

MIN 389 (M) Abandonment of Seafarers


Good Watch.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


The Internet Blogs are about every subject one could imagine and as a result the Posts in them generate comments. Unfortunately those comments fall into several categories which results in many being quite appalling both in subject matter ignorance, personal intemperate behaviour and language. In NAUTICAL LOG we have a statement as to comments but in fact usually publish the anonymous ones if they are, in our opinion, useful comments with no foul language - hey its our Blog. Actually NAUTICAL LOG does not get a large number of comments, we thought it was because we did not have a large number of readers!! However the 'SiteMeter' shows nearly 19,000 so that may not be true.

Those of you who do read NAUTICAL LOG know that we usually have plenty to say on maritime issues. We consider ourselves a maritime activist blog with opinions - opinionated perhaps? - there are other excellent maritime blogs which take the approach of forwarding published maritime articles or articles of connected interest, with perhaps additional remarks of their own. All this in turn leads of course to comments on the posts and NAUTICAL LOG itself is often one of those commenter's.

Recently there was an incident at sea, which occurred off the Senkaku Islands, between the Japan Coast Guard and a Chinese fishing vessel. These are an extension of the Japanese island chain that runs from the south island of Kyushu down to Okinawa. The Senkaku Islands are claimed by The Peoples Republic of China thus also by the island government of Taiwan. Video of the incident was published on 'YouTube' then removed by Japan then republished in a full 45 minute version which can now be seen. Many of the subsequent comments in English were deplorable, abusive racial comments on both the Chinese and Japanese peoples using foul language. Why people would resort to this type of commenting on incidents is something NAUTICAL LOG does not really understand.

The Japanese Self Defence Forces are limited by what actions they can engage in by Japan's Constitution. It appears that the Japan Coast Guard (JCG), which is not limited in this manner, has been given the mission or has developed the mission itself of enforcing Japanese honour. From this and other video of incidents they are very clearly the aggressor and were harassing the Chinese fishing vessel instead of just going alongside it and making the arrest if it was fishing illegally in the first place. Maybe their methods triggered those highly intemperate comments mentioned above, certainly the JCG methods upset the Chinese fishing boat Captain.

If you are going to comment effectively on a Post in a Blog then you must first read the subject matter properly and comment in a constructive temperate style. If not your remarks are valueless becoming a worthless often abusive rant. If you comment on a previous comment to a Post your comment should keep to the subject matter of that previous comment, do not inject a remark which that previous comment did not make.

Recently NAUTICAL LOG commented on a Post in an excellent and well known maritime Blog and had that happen, we had deliberately kept the comment generic not to pick on any particular vessel. This was because the full facts were not yet published by a Nautical Board of Inquiry. In another case a comment to a NAUTICAL LOG comment on a Post the commenter stated that they got the "whiff of health and safety" which as a former cruise ship Safety Officer amused NAUTICAL LOG because it showed a lack of nautical knowledge, the "health and safety" equipment and training is what saved those lives in the first place, as to the "whiff" it came from that commenter's bull stables!

So you now have the NAUTICAL LOG opinion on comments their style and language to be effective - opinionated perhaps - but there it is.

Good Watch.

Monday, November 8, 2010


Ambassador Cecila Mackenna (centre) and her Irish cousins

Bernardo O'Higgins

Juan Mackenna

On September 18, 2010 Chile celebrated its bi-centennial, the 200 year anniversary of the Independence of Chile, An Neamhspleachas na Sile in the Irish language. The Irish and the Chileans have a history from its second holder of the title Supreme Director of Chile, Bernardo O'Higgins. He is considered the founding father because he held that title when Chile became fully independent of Spain. He was Irish and Basque, his father being Ambrosio O'Higgins, the 1st. Marquis of Osorno and his mother Isabel Riquelme, whose father Don Simon Riquelme y Goycolea, was a member of the Cabildo or Council of Chile. The flagship of the Armada de Chile is always named after Bernardo O'Higgins, currently it is a submarine SS 23 O'Higgins , which is rather unique.

The family of NAUTICAL LOG is Irish and Chilean, so it was a great pleasure to receive an article and the stamps issued, today from our family in Ireland. The "Irish Times" reported Friday, October 29, 2010 about the issuing of Irish stamps to commemorate two Irish officers involved with Chilean Independence. Bernardo O'Higgins 1778-1842, whose father was from County Sligo and John (Juan) Mackenna 1771-1814, who was born in County Monaghan.

From the "Irish Times" article we quote:

"The driving force behind the idea for the stamps was former Chilean Ambassador to Ireland and descendant of Juan Mackenna, Cecilia Mackenna. -----O'Higgins and Mackenna owed their presence in Chile to the tradition of young Irish men travelling to Spain for an education denied them at home."

Good Watch.

Sunday, November 7, 2010


Restoration British Royal Navy Ensign

Even for those of us born and raised in coastal towns and spending summers in fishing villages there is still much to learn to become a seaman. No less important than the nautical science are the traditions of the sea and its history.

In 1948 while staying with family friends at a wonderful house, "Bella Vista" Priest Road, Tramore, Co. Waterford, Ireland NAUTICAL LOG was introduced to sea stories. The family had an extensive library which included a nautical section of books from "Browns Flags and Funnels" 1934 3rd. edition to works on Samuel Pepys and his Diary. While Pepys is not easy reading for a 12 year old boy that "Browns Flags and Funnels" is in my study bookcase. Also there was a real seagoing long glass - telescope - which on taking up to a top floor window, some five stories above the town, one could examine a large section of Tramore Bay lying between "The Metal Man" with its three white towers and Brownstown Head with two black towers. So in this area of British Admiralty Chart 2049 -Ireland, South Coast, Kinsale to Wexford- both NAUTICAL LOG and Matthew Quinton started to learn to become sea captains.

Who is Matthew Quinton? Well he is the character of J. D. Davies an expert on Samuel Pepys, the 17th. Century British Royal Navy, Chairman of the Naval Dockyards Society and a vice-president of the Navy Records Society. He is a British historian and author who has written a novel called "Gentleman Captain".

Without spoiling the story for the reader it takes place in the latter part of the 17th. Century after the Restoration of the Monarchy. This followed England's flirt with Parliamentary Republics and the Puritans. It was during this time that Samuel Pepys was appointed the administer of naval affairs for the new monarch Charles the Second and his Lord High Admiral Prince Rupert of the Rhine. A young aristocrat is placed in command of a naval vessel in spite of not knowing his larboard from his starboard - he learns - and thus the story of his mission, in HMS Jupiter, from his King.

The story "Gentleman Captain" is a wonderful balanced mixture of a young mans development at sea, life in the class society of the 17th. Century and history. All told an outstanding sea story not to be missed. There is a Historical Note which puts the 'life and times' in perspective and for those of you not so familiar with that period of English history all is explained. Remember also that it was a group of these same Puritans that boarded the Mayflower and founded what has become our own United States of America - a Parliamentary Republic.

Good Watch.

Monday, November 1, 2010


The Polish ship STV Fryderyk Chopin commanded by CAPT. Ziemowit Baranski has arrived at Falmouth, Cornwall UK. under tow of a MCA (Maritime and Coastguard Agency) rescue tug.

There is a full report on the BBC (British Broadcasting Company), it makes interesting reading particularly the remarks on the incident and its cause by her Master. NAUTICAL LOG is somewhat concerned by the remarks as being an 'excuse' for the incident happening.

The vessel is owned and operated by a private Polish university founded in 1997 the European School of Law and Administration www.ewspa.edu.pl/ - not a very nautical sounding college.
In the interest of safety of STV's NAUTICAL LOG would like to suggest that Sail Training International which works closely with those operating STV's arrange a Seminar at the November 12 - 13, 2010 Conference in Stavanger, Norway. This should be done before there is serious loss of children's lives - 14 to 16 year olds are children. The STI Conference at Stavanger, Norway must set clear standards for Passage Planning and Passage-making with likely weather conditions being paramount and have a Review Board issue a 'Passage under Sail Clearance' only when these standards have been met.
NAUTICAL LOG feels that parents should be better informed prior to signing-off - they do sign-off don't they? - on their children going to sea with unknown persons in a high risk environment. That information should also be standardized for all Organizations operating STV's whatever their Flag State and wherever the Organization itself is based.

Good Watch.